Four Solutions for the Creative Industries

Following on from last week’s blog this article looks at some possible solutions to the issues identified in ‘Four Key issues for the Creative Industries’. Several people have commented on the fact that some of the issues I raised in the previous article existed before the Brexit vote. Clearly this is the case. However, certain moments require us to recognise radically changed circumstances. The coming years of uncertainty over funding, global partnerships, and trade relationships, is the one certainty we can count on, and presents us with one of these moments.


The future will be more competitive for UK based creative talent and companies. The ending of existing relationships within the EU, potential talent exchange issues, higher costs for distribution and well financed global predators will all impact on the  UK creative industries. In order to deal with this scenario we need to adapt to the digital creative environment and the expectations of contemporary global audiences.

Our Creative Culture revamped

Key to future developments is our ability to be agile in our creative structures, collaborative in our creative teams, and focused on producing high quality creative activity. Central to this endeavour is the need to place collaborative working at the heart of our educational process. Individual skills remain a high priority but without an effective team the best ideas often die.

“If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.”

Ed Catmull  :  Pixar/Disney

Moving away from our ’cherry-picking’ approach to talent development, will also strengthen teams and enhance diversity.

Embracing the potential and impact of everything digital is another critical factor in C.I. growth. The use of online courses, digital hubs, and recognising the potential of YouTube exposure and self-publishing/distribution, are essential to developing effective teams as well as individual talents.[1]

Identifying best practice in development across all the creative industries, and then implementing this in both schools and HE, is the platform for long-term success.

Our creative structures rebuilt

We also need to be more collaborative in our overall approach to the Creative Industries. This will involve re-thinking our national support structures and peer review systems within the creative environment, developing effective outreach strategies to create greater diversity, and taking risks on new platforms/global audiences. Pursuing such practices in existing companies and funding schemes, will shorten development time, and raise our overall success rate.

In this context, there is a need to recognise the importance of micro-companies, and small team structures, not only in promoting creativity, but also improving our chances of success. Therefore, greater support for creative freelance training and a wider access to funded mentoring is key to growing the C.I. sector.

Public seed funding of start up projects linked to larger investment initiatives can provide an open access landscape and the possibility of many, rather than occasional, successes. [2]


Our Creative Investment re-imagined

The ‘risky’ aspect of investing in creative activity has to be addressed head on. The majority of creative investment is now in a very conservative mode, from sequels, and spin-offs, to re-vamps and cross-platform exploitation.

Audiences will seek different visions in the post-Brexit world, not only in the UK, but globally. If we can establish an investment strategy that embraces and supports the new, we open up the possibility of becoming leading players in the global C.I. future.

In order to do this we need to educate investors as to the real risks of investing in the creative industries, and how to mitigate them. This will require a well-informed team of investor educators. It will also involve a portfolio approach to investments. This means backing teams rather than individuals, spreading risk across several projects, and possibly several platforms.

‘Sweat’ equity needs to be at the heart of incentivising talent, as it is in the R&D worlds of tech and science developments.

The levels of initial investment need not be high but it must be aligned with a marketing strategy with realistic budgets and time frames. No-one can eliminate risk but we can improve the odds.

Our Creative Marketing re-born

The effective use of small social media teams with an awareness of how to use the global potential of audience building beyond simple brand awareness is the key to investment working. This takes time and forward planning, which initially will be slow to succeed, but within three years could be the basis for an explosion of creative success.

The involvement of the major UK advertising players in this endeavour could prove vital. However, even without their involvement creative marketing teams are essential to our C.I. future. This is a real opportunity for millennials to shine.

The Big Idea

Our Creative Choices

We could, of course, ignore all of these issues or merely tackle one part of he value chain. After all, as has been pointed out, some of these issues have been with us for a long time. There is also the attraction of focusing on obvious Brexit issues. After all this is the big news focus.

However, the solutions proposed above, though not easy to delver, will provide the creative industries with the opportunities to not wither on the decaying vine of public support, and limited private monies, or become easy prey for global players happy to exploit local weaknesses.

To be ‘great’ we cannot act ‘small’, the choice is ours.

To add your voice to this debate please comment below.

Phil Parker, Co-Founder, BCre8ive


[1] Understanding the future of productivity in the creative industries: SQW, Sept 2016

[2] Examples of this can be found in the work of some C.I. organisations e.g. Arts Council England

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3 Responses to Four Solutions for the Creative Industries

  1. Agree with all, but it’s going to be difficult. The ethos of the current government – and perhaps the mood of the country – is more inclined towards utilitarianism: if it don’t make money (preferably now) it’s not worth bothering with. But as you mention, “online courses, digital hubs… YouTube exposure and self-publishing/distribution, are essential…” and at least these are areas where creative people can try to shape their own destinies. YouTubers, bedroom hit record makers, podcasters et al. are showing the way.

  2. Jenny Duffy says:

    A thought provoking article. Great observations to be explored.
    I remember a wonderful charity, IdeasTaps – they helped thousands of creative people to fulfil their potential and then provided funding, training and jobs. It closed down due to lack of funding over a year ago. Something like that is desperately needed today and feel it will be tougher now post Brexit.

    • Phil says:

      HI Jenny, I agree, and Ideas Tap was supported by a single major private funder, with major brands involved. I sense it failed because not one of the bigger players/sponsors wants to support early stage development/talent,and the smaller players cannot afford to. One of the major reasons I am calling for a fundamental review of the value chain i.e. how we get new works to audiences globally.
      Really appreciate your contribution and look forward to ongoing dialogue.
      PS The Ideas Tap data base was incorporated into Hiive

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