New Zealand’s focus is on integrating creative tourism with its world-class cinema technology. Look at their world-leading technology in cinema and the number of visitors from overseas who are lining up for the opportunity to see the landscape which starred in Tolkien’s film adaptations.
Many European cities and countries trade heavily in cultural heritage on one end of the spectrum and contemporary art scenes on the other. Berlin is a good example, where you can spend a morning at the Deutsche Historiches Museum before spending the afternoon in an artist-run gallery located in a former warehouse.
China, South Korea, and Singapore are all showing serious interest in the concept.
I’ve described the Australian creative economy in earlier articles published by The Conversation. Innovative services, such as business-to-business activities like design, architecture, and digital content, as well as software development, marketing, and advertising, are high-growth, innovative economic activities.
The most recent evidence from the 2011 Census tells an impressive story about the role that creative services are playing in the mainstream Australian Economy.
Some examples include designers of digital interfaces who have revolutionized the finance sector. These technical writers specialize in online education, or experts in simulations and games who create training environments for mining or defense operations.
It is easy to understand why creative occupations and services embedded in other industries have such high growth rates.
Demand for online visual communication and website design, database development, automation, and online advertising has risen rapidly due to the progressive integration of digital applications and the Internet into the economy.
The creative industries have seen a rise in employment thanks to technology. Fernando de Sousa
Anyone with a smartphone or internet access can create, consume, and share audio and video content online. This is fueling the demand for more creative content from consumers. In the viral marketing age, a lot of content is produced and distributed by consumers themselves.
The role of Government
A new government brings new priorities. In examining the future of the creative sector as a policy focus, I suggest three options.
The Abbott government’s ambitious early engagement with Asia surprised some, but it is heartening because there is still so much work to be done. The Australian, among others, urged senior journalist Paul Kelly to “Australia’s approach towards China cannot be frozen in a resource-trade mentality.”
Asia is the only region where digital culture has a greater impact on economies. Australia’s ability to compete in the area is dependent on its ability to engage digital capital from Asia, particularly China.
Pan-Asian distribution platforms are consolidating and professionalizing. In November, China’s online giants, including the e-commerce company Alibaba and Internet company Tencent, will be presenting in Australia for the first time.
Are Australian digital entrepreneurs creative enough to be able to exploit the vast export potential of the Asian digital market? This is an important challenge for the future.
The second option that Australia’s new Government could choose is the Federal Arts Minister George Brandis. He made significant progress in the brief time he spent in his former role as Arts minister in the Howard government of 2007.
The Coalition model of supporting the screen industry was introduced successfully. It is the generous Producer Offset. This is a tax offset refundable for Australian film producers up to 40%. The policy was updated in 2011 and has had a positive stabilizing effect.
Senator George Brandis. AAP Image/Alan Porritt
In an important speech delivered during the election campaign by Senator Brandis, he articulated “six key principles” that will guide Coalition Arts Policy: excellence, integrity and artistic freedom, self-confidence, sustainability, and accessibility. He stressed that “funding should be structured to encourage commercial success.”
Richard Alston was the Howard-era minister who developed some of the most innovative policy ideas in the country relating to the creative industries and digital economies. His portfolio combined communications, IT, and the arts into a powerful synergy.
Much work remains to be done in policy thinking from this fertile period. The Creative Industries Innovation Centre offers business reviews, other services, and advice to creative industry workers and is part of the advisory agency Enterprise Connect.
Several aspects of the cultural policy of the previous governor and the government’s cultural policy are questioned.
Currently, the question is whether or not the new Government will keep the Industry Innovation Precincts (or some version thereof) program.
The Creative Digital Innovation Partnership is one of 11 “partnerships” announced in the past by Industry Minister Kim Carr. This partnership aims to create economic growth and jobs through partnerships between educators and employers working in the creative and digital industries. This partnership is essential if we want to move beyond a resource-focused mindset.
Design and “design-thinking” are the third area of current opportunity. This buzzword refers to how design is mainstreamed in many industries, workplaces and policy thinking.
Sir George Cox’s influential review of creativity in business for the UK Government in 2005 positioned design as a bridge, when it was thought of as an independent sector, between the arts, and engineering sciences.
The design was seen as a bridge between research and business in the innovation chain when it is viewed as a method or mindset that links research to new ideas and the development of practical applications.