The creative industry portrays ideas, creates innovations, and offers solutions to societal issues. That is why the Minister of Education, Culture, and Science (OCW) and the Minister of Economic Affairs (EZ) support the creative industry. We do this through various measures, including from the cultural policy, the top sector policy, and the generic company policy. We do this together with, among others, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the other authorities.
Therefore, the scope of this letter is beyond that of the advice of the councils.
We ask the councils to keep their fingers on the pulse in the future and advise us about this sector, each based on their own knowledge, responsibilities, and objectives. It is the convergence of expertise in these councils that is particularly important because of the different cultural and economic values that represent the creative industry.
Characteristics of the sector
As a collection of several market-oriented cultural sectors The creative industry is the sum of a number of sectors that all have the ability to create innovation, to imagine, generate meaning, and then exploit it. There are various definitions of the creative industry. In this letter, we will focus on the area where OCW and EZ collaborate on policy. This is an area which particularly, but not exclusively, includes the design disciplines, such as fashion and design, gaming and digital design, and architecture and urbanism. – ranging from fashion to architecture and from gaming to dance – the creative industry is a source of applied creativity. That creativity is deployed in the sector in the design of its products and services, from dress to TV format and from app to building.
This enables the creative industry to penetrate complex issues and come up with unexpected solutions, often using the latest technologies. The creative industry is not only characterised by innovative products and services with an artistic or economic value, but also distinguishes itself in terms of its working methods. A creative entrepreneur focuses on the needs of the user and uses imagination and prototyping to make the results tangible from the start. This enables the creative industry to penetrate complex issues and come up with unexpected solutions, often using the latest technologies. We also see that this sector uses creativity to tackle societal issues. Such as the Dutch clothing brand G-STAR, which, together with Pharrell Williams, makes clothing out of plastic waste from the sea. Other examples can be found in: Crossover Works ( part 1, part 2, part 3 ).
The creative industry is also characterised by its dynamic nature: the creative industry is a prime example of the fast-growing network economy of SMBs, sole proprietorships, and start-ups, in addition to a smaller number of large companies.
This dynamic has its advantages. By working in flexible, international networks, the sector is able to quickly respond to new developments. Due to the large number of start-ups, there is a strong innovative power and numerous innovative ideas. Knowledge or skills that are missing can be found in a network with other creative companies, and there is close cooperation in interdisciplinary, international teams.
A sector with such dynamics is not without risks. The number of companies has increased more strongly than the number of persons employed in recent years. This downscaling comes with a loss of productivity and added value. It also means that creative entrepreneurs often have insufficient time, capacity, and financial means for a future-proof development of their product, company, or employees. Traditional funding instruments are often inaccessible due to the size or nature of creative businesses. However, the creative industry is the forerunner in terms of developing and utilising alternative forms of funding such as crowdfunding (e.g. Kickstarter or Voordekunst) and microcredits (e.g. Qredits).
The introduction of the term creatieve industrie has created quite a stir in the sector. The designation of the creative industry as Topsector in 2011 has led to the creation of the Topteam Creative Industry A Topteam has been established for each sector. This team advises the Cabinet. This team consists of representatives from the government, research institutions, and the business world, the ‘golden triangle’. The Topteam Creative Industry focuses on the agendas of internationalisation, human capital, and knowledge & innovation. From all these agendas, there is a special focus on crossovers between sectors. . The Topteam functions as an advocate of collaboration between businesses, research institutions, and the government. Moreover, the sector has started better organising itself. Examples of this include the founding of the Dutch Creative Council The Dutch Creative Council is the independent strategic advisory council. The members of the Council work in the creative business world of research institutions and participate in their own right. The council serves as a contact and interlocutor for the other economic (top) sectors and the government. , the collective of industry associations Dutch Creative Industries Federation The Dutch Creative Industries Federation currently represents eight industry and profession organisations with a total of nearly 6,000 individual members and approximately 2,500 creative companies. and of the Top Consortium for Knowledge and Innovation CLICKNL CLICKNL is the Topconsortium for Knowledge and Innovation (TKIs) or the Topsector Creative Industry. CLICKNL is a network organisation which, together with the Topteam Creative Industry and its network, compiles a broadly supported innovatie agenda. Cooperation between the research world, business world, and government is key here. . Around the same time, a merger of various public cultural funds formed the Creative Industries Fund NL The Creative Industries Fund NL is a government-financed culture fund. The fund supports cultural projects and institutions in the field of e-culture and gaming, product design, graphic design and fashion, architecture, urbanism, and landscape architecture, and all possible collaborations between these disciplines. Spearheads of the fund include talent development, research and experiments, and internationalisation. and a merger of three cultural sector institutes formed The New Institute The New Institute is the cultural sector institute for the creative industry and focuses on the disciplines of fashion and design, architecture and urban planning, e-culture, and gaming. It supports networking and knowledge sharing within the sector, offers a platform, supports internationalisation, and has museal and archival tasks in the field of architecture. . These developments have put the creative industry on the map as a sector.
Learning and developing:
from creative skills to permanent learning
Society is changing at a rapid pace and requires flexible, responsive professionals with skills that fit the 21ste century. Due to the dynamic nature of the creative industry, the need for professionals with these skills is even greater.
Being able to work in an interdisciplinary environment requires people who are open to collaborating beyond the borders of their fields. People who have an entrepreneurial attitude, understand technology, and above all, have great creative ability. The nine top sectors have joined together and compiled a joint human capital agenda which includes skills for the future and permanent learning as important themes. These are themes we also support.
Education for creativity and entrepreneurship
The demand for responsive professionals is especially significant for education. Education needs to prepare people for a world we do not yet know. It is not just about the knowledge you bring, but about your ability to develop new knowledge and respond to changes in your environment as well. The Platform Onderwijs2032 is focused on the question of what this means for primary and secondary education with input from the involved parties, and will soon advise the State Secretary on this matter. It points out that education should stimulate the creativity and curiosity of pupils and should help future citizens think and work outside existing frameworks. We see good developments in this field in different areas, such as in technical education and cultural education, where working together, expression, and working with your hands are important ingredients.
We also see more and more innovative types of education in secondary and tertiary education, where creativity and curiosity are important themes. An example is the higher vocational education domain creative technologies that was founded last year, which combines design and technical disciplines. And in academic education, the TUdelft works on design issues in the healthcare sector with students in the Design innovation for healthcare A great example is KonneKt, for the Princess Maxima Centre for paediatric oncology, which stimulates social interaction between children in the hospital. project. The government is investing in Centres for Innovative Craftsmanship (CIV) in vocational education An example is CIV Denim City, where new applications for denim fabric are found and recycling methods are experimented with. This CIV is funded with the help of the Regional Investment Fund MBO. and the Centres of Expertise (CoE) Another example is CoE UCreate, where students, designers, and behavioural scientists together research how behaviour can be influenced through design. in higher vocational education, which focus on issues in the business world and combines research and education. Such teaching methods stimulate creative thinking, encourage an entrepreneurial attitude, and enable the future creative entrepreneur to understand more than just their own terminology.
With all that creative ability, it is not surprising that many creatives have an idea for a product or service and want to start a company to shape that idea during or after their education. The Netherlands has an impressive infrastructure of growth programmes (such as incubators and accelerators), creative breeding grounds A growth programme, such as an incubator or accelerator, is a programme in which young, talented entrepreneurs and/or students are supported in building their business and often receive a platform directly. A creative breeding ground is generally a physical place where different (creative) disciplines can work inexpensively because they share facilities, such as a building and utilities, but also legal advice, marketing knowledge, etc. Due to lots of (organised) exchange between the companies, net networks, ideas, and solutions arise. There are also many hybrid forms and ecosystems, where a breeding ground, for example, also has an incubator programme. The creative breeding grounds are united in, among other things, the Dutch Creative Residencies Network. and the StartupDelta, network, to support the further development of start-ups. An example of a growth programme which supports innovative businesses from the creative industry is Open House
In a sector where creativity is so central, innovation is essential. Personal development and continuing to learn is of great importance for this. Therefore, this is a spearpoint of this Cabinet, for which various means and instruments are deployed.
We note that the creative industry as a whole has no strong tradition in linking thinking about business development to a conscious development or learning plan for the employees of a company; this also applies to the many freelancers in the sector. This is partly connected to the size of most creative businesses. Moreover, the priority of many entrepreneurs is to acquire and execute commissions. In return, the creative industry is able to exchange knowledge and distribute workloads in networks and cooperatives. That very collaboration advantage can be drawn from its network in the field of talent development and permanent learning. There are already good examples of this. For instance, in creative breeding grounds, both organised and informal, there is a lot of knowledge exchange between entrepreneurs. And there are creative entrepreneurs who come together with a mentor or in intervision groups, to work together and learn from one another.
Even so, this is not happening sufficiently yet. It still needs to be professionalised. We see it as an important role for the trade associations, cooperatives, and networks to make its members aware of the importance of permanent learning and having a vision of a future-oriented HRM policy. This includes mapping or organising relevant networks, platforms, and instruments, and informing their supporters of these.
One part of the creative industry where learning and development deserve additional attention is the field of creative craftsmanship. Next to every good designer is a craftsman who can execute his ideas, from carpenter to programmer. While this expertise is often present abroad at lower costs, we see a growing need for high quality craftsman in the Netherlands. Professionals who can be part of the entire design process, from idea to product. Together, designer and craftsman take the materials and shape to the limit.
However, some specialisms are in danger of disappearing. In the letter to the parliament on the conservation of small, specialist vocational education, a number of safeguards were introduced to preserve small, unique education. But we also see efforts outside education; for example, in the Zuiderzeemuseum, where seven old crafts are transferred in a master-apprentice fashion, which keeps the intangible heritage alive. Furthermore, expertise is mostly found in hobbyists and there is a need among entrepreneurs and vocational education to know where to find that expertise. A great private initiative that connects specialised knowledge to specific needs in business and vocational education is the Crafts Council Nederland.
In the near future, we will talk to various parties to explore what is necessary for making the existing craftsmanship visible and link it to the needs of education and business.
from artistic exchange to trade promotion
Many creative entrepreneurs, businesses, and institutions operate abroad. They are engaged in trade, carrying out assignments for foreign clients, research collaboration, or artistic exchange.
The Dutch Approach has also become more and more of an export product. This is a multidisciplinary method used by the Dutch creative industry for design. An example of this is Rebuild by Design.The Netherlands is known abroad for its Dutch Design, DJs, and TV formats.
The government stimulates further international orientation from an economic, cultural, and social perspective. Cultural goals include talent development through artistic exchange and expanding the work field. Economic goals include increasing the trading volume of businesses in the creative industry and bringing foreign investments to the Netherlands. There are also goals which transcend the individual creative entrepreneur, such as the promotion of the Netherlands as an innovative country. Sustainable Urban Delta, the slogan used by Holland Branding to promote the Netherlands, is an example of this. Cultural, economic, and promotional goals are different, but complement each other well. Therefore, the ministries of Economic Affairs (EZ), Education, Culture and Science (OCW), and Foreign Affairs (BZ) are working together to support the creative industry in internationalisation.
Because the goals for internationalisation are different, the instruments and programmes are diverse. It is necessary to have a good correlation between the instruments, so that they are appropriate for the needs of creative entrepreneurs. The Creative Industries Fund NL supports designers, creative entrepreneurs, and cultural institutions with subsidies and programmes with a cultural or social goal as a starting point. The New Institute is also financed from the culture budget and functions as a platform and expertise centre in the area of internationalisation. The RVO works for the ministries of Foreign Affairs (BZ) and Economic Affairs (EZ) and knows instruments that focus on trade promotion and strengthening the business climate.
Problems and solution
The Council for Culture and the AWTI are making a number of recommendations for improvements of the internationalisation policy for the creative industry. The councils first point out a diversity of instruments in their advice, and argue that there is room for improvement if the policy instruments of the Ministries of OCW, EZ, and BZ are better aligned. Discussions with the sector show that it is not so much connecting the instruments of the different ministries that is experienced as a problem, but that these instruments do not always appear to reach their target audience.
The government believes that better alignment and cooperation in the service provision to creative entrepreneurs is necessary. If the different organisations which support internationalisation are aware of each other and can refer to each other, this creates added value. When a designer, for example, shows his work at the design fair in Milan and gains their first contacts there through a programme of the Creative Industries Fund NL, it is good if they are then referred to the appropriate department at the RVO to take the next step. We therefore take the initiative to have the RVO, the Creative Industries Fund NL, The New Institute, and Dutch Culture better align their work and activities to each other.
Creative Holland offers information on financing instruments, support options, best practices, and do’s and don’ts. The Dutch Creative Industries Federation and the ministries of OCW, BZ, and EZ have worked together this past year and produced a website called Creative Holland. This is a website for creative entrepreneurs and businesses who want to internationalise, as well as for foreign missions and other parties who want information about the Dutch creative industry.
Secondly, the councils point out that in order to improve the opportunities for the creative industry abroad, policies should be better geared to practice. However, we see that the creative industry has not always been able to direct a well-formulated and well-coordinated question at the government. Partly due to the efforts of the Topteam and the Dutch Creative Council, several steps forward have been made in this field in recent years. This has led to, among other things, a supported internationalisation agenda of the Dutch Creative Industries Federation, the Creative Industries Fund NL, the New Institute, and the Dutch Creative Council. For instance, before 2015 and 2016, the choice was made to focus on Germany The Duitslandprogramma 2015 and 2016 was started for this, which together with strategic fairs, economic missions, and joint branding, brings the value of the creative industry into the limelight in Germany. and agreements were made about joint promotion at a number of ‘strategic fairs’. The government sees a role for the Dutch Creative Industries Federation in further coordinating the formulation of sharp and supported questions.
For activities aimed at cultural goals, the New Institute and the Creative Industries Fund NL are the designated organisations for playing a coordinating role. The New Institute is starting a coordination point for this from the end of 2015. From 2017, the New Institute will receive an additional 300,000 Euro from the culture budget for the benefit of internationalisation and design disciplines. This will allow the New Institute to implement a better information provision to foreign missions. We ask the Stimulation Fund and the New Institute to properly align their activities and work to each other and to the more economically oriented Dutch Creative Industries Federation, so that gaps are removed and overlap is avoided.
Thirdly, the Council for Culture and the AWTI recommend that cultural, economic, and innovation departments within the foreign missions cooperate better. Via the programme Modernisering diplomatie (Diplomacy Modernisation), we are currently working on strengthening this cooperation.
It is necessary to regularly consult with the top sectors about the content of incoming and outgoing missions. We believe that there is an opportunity for platforms such as the Dutch Design Week, Amsterdam Dance Event, What Design Can Do and trade organisations and governments to join forces and jointly organise incoming missions for the creative industry. This way, the power of the creative industry can also be shown to other countries within the Netherlands.
Fourthly, the councils argue that there is a need for a flexible deployment of means, including for cross-sectoral cooperation with other top sectors. In the strategic fairs programme, a support facility for collective promotion of the top sectors abroad from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a pilot was started in 2015-2016 that focuses on, among other things, facilitating cross-overs with other (top) sectors. The objective of the pilot is, as the councils also note, that it is also useful to connect to festivals and exhibitions. The results of this pilot will be included in the evaluation of the strategic fairs programme.
Further internationalisation of the creative industry is being worked on from different organisations and different objectives. Good coordination, cooperation, and communication are essential here. In the coming period, we will commit ourselves to improving this, including by removing any obstacles from the government.
from experiment to innovation
A mature creative sector should have a solid knowledge base. This requires research and experimentation. This strengthens the innovation capacity of the sector, which enables the creative industry to contribute to solutions for societal challenges and increase its competitiveness.
Research, experimentation, and innovation within the creative industry comes in many forms: from an artist who experiments with materials to a scientist who conducts fundamental scientific research and from a purely curiosity-driven study to a consortium of designers, institutions, and scientists who together tackle a complex practical question.. All of these forms contribute to new insights and innovations. In addition, the scientific validation of, for example, design principles, business models, or methods make it possible to justify creative solutions towards clients.
Experimentation and research through prototyping are inherent to the creative sector. The creative industry is also a key initiator of innovation in other sectors, and thus makes an important contribution to solving social issues. An example of this is care robot Alice.
With our policy, we stimulate the various forms of research. Since 2006, NWO has been programming national and international research for the creative industry. With the arrival of the Topteam Creative Industry, the Topconsortium for Knowledge, and Innovation CLICKNL, the Creative Industries Fund NL, and programmes such as CRISP, further steps have been made toward creating a knowledge infrastructure for the creative industry. Public-private cooperation in the golden triangle of business, research institutions, and government is the starting point. Recently, the third innovation contract which determines the research budget for the creative industry, was signed for his purpose.
In a public-private collaboration, creative entrepreneurs, organisations outside the creative sector, authorities, and education and research institutions jointly think of research questions and methods, aimed at results that are relevant to all parties and meet all forms of accountability. A great example is the CRISP, dprogramme, which resulted in over 150 scientific publications, as well as concrete products, such as Tovertafel for dementia patients, of which over 100 have already been sold.
Clients outside the creative sector are also becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of participating in research with and in the creative sector. Companies such as KLM and Phillips are at the forefront in this respect. There are many examples in health care as well. For instance, the Temstem-app was developed for the Parnassia Group, a specialist in mental health. The app helps against hearing voices and won the Rotterdam Design Award for this. Another example is the Art & Science of Dementia Care project, where care provider Cordaan works together on location with designers, scientists, health care professionals, and producers to achieve better care for dementia patients.
Problems and solutions
Cooperation between researchers and entrepreneurs within and outside of the creative industry is far from self-evident, both in terms of finances and content. Their worlds and working practices are too far apart for this. For this reason, relevant insights from research often insufficiently find their way into the creative sector. In the coming years, a lot of work needs to be done to increase the awareness of research within the creative industry. We see an important role for CLICKNL and the Creative Industries Federation here. The Wetenschapsvisie and the resulting Wetenschapsagenda also contribute to this.
The Council for Culture and the AWTI point out in their advice that instruments of the various ministries do not sufficiently align with each other and therefore, opportunities remain unused in the field of research. As with the policy for internationalisation, the councils recognise that there are different economic and cultural goals behind the policy instruments that are not readily interchangeable. In response to this advice, we have spoken to various parties from the sector who play a part in this area, such as NWO, RVO, CLICKNL, and the Creative Industries Fund NL. We believe it to be important that these organisations learn to speak each other’s languages and know each other’s instruments. We will ensure that the above institutions will enter into a dialogue for aligning instruments where possible.
According to the councils, many opportunities also remain unused because instruments do not relate to the practice of the creative industry. There is a need for research that connects to the shorter innovation cycles of creative entrepreneurs. However, we see that instruments such KIEM-callKIEM aims to stimulate setting up partnerships between research institutions and private parties, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs). by NWO or the MITThe SME innovation stimulation Regio en Topsectoren (MIT) aims to stimulate innovation in small and medium enterprises. The MIT has various instruments available for this. or a subsidy from the Creative Industries Fund NL are accessible, small-scale, and short-term, and therefore fit well with the characteristics of the creative industry. Therefore, these instruments are particularly suitable for bringing creative entrepreneurs into contact with research for the first time.
The councils mention SIA-RaakNationaal Regieorgaan Praktijkgericht Onderzoek SIA finances and stimulates applied research in higher vocational schools. The Raak-programme makes it possible for companies or institutions to research concrete innovation questions together with higher vocational schools. An example of a Raak-project for the creative industry is Virtuele verwachtingen, fysieke beleving. and the NWO-call Research Through DesignThe Research Through Design programme focuses on scientific and technical research, in which design is used as a research method. as good examples that deserved follow-ups and more money, because they fit in well with the creative industry due to their practicality. In the recently concluded innovation contract, for the first time, SIA-Raak–funding, intended for applied research in higher vocational education, was partially labelled for the creative industry and a stronger connection was made between the top sectors and SIA-Raak. Consultations have shown that many requests from the creative higher vocational education lectureships could be of better quality compared to other sectors. Once the quality of the requests improved, more money will go towards research for the creative industry. In order to continue the research through design-call, the innovation contract offers sufficient connection points. The decision to continue this method, however, will not be taken by the NWO until the recently completed call has been evaluated.
We see that the main bottleneck for the creative entrepreneur is providing the often required private contribution. Due to the small size of many creative businesses and the lack of a tradition of working with researchers, there is little opportunity and willingness to invest in (long-term) studies. The often long lead time of scientific research does not connect well with the short-term-oriented creative sector. However, in the CRISP programme, there have been good experiences with involving SMEs in (fundamental) research. There is a need for a number of similar large, long-term public-private programmes, with space for projects with shorter lead times, tailored to SMEs. This offers both scientific talent a long-term perspective and makes it attractive and relevant to the business world. That is why we will talk to the sector about how to set up such public-private programmes, whereby we will explicitly include the larger companies in the creative industry.
Good information for companies and institutions in the creative sector and outside of it about the possibilities for research is necessary. An overview of what financing instruments are available, with an objective, target group, and conditions for each instrument, is desirable. It is also of great importance that research results are shared and that knowledge is exchanged. We call upon the NOW (including SIA-Raak), the Creative Industries Fund NL, and CLICKNL to work together for this purpose and to jointly strengthen their service provision to the sector.
Given the initial absence of a knowledge infrastructure in the creative industry, a lot has been gained in recent years. However, a lot of effort is still required to achieve a future-proof R&D system. Due to the nature of the sector, the research themes and projects are fragmented. To obtain more support and durability, there is a great need for the formation of a number of large public-private programmes. These will generate awareness of he added value of research, accessible collaboration inside and outside the creative industry, joint question articulation, and knowledge sharing. In 2016, we jointly reserve 1 million Euro for the creation of such a large public-private programme, under the condition that the Topteam, in consultation with TKI CLICKNL, submits a well-grounded plan with sufficient private commitment and involvement of higher vocational education and universities.
The creative industry is a forerunner in many respects, such as in its innovative ability and in its working methods and operations. To optimally utilise the creative ability of this sector, it is important that it professionalises further. This applies both to the individual creative entrepreneur and to the sector as a whole. Achieving this without losing the sector’s dynamic characteristics remains challenging.
A professional creative industry focuses on permanent learning, seizes opportunities abroad, and invests in public-private collaborations in the field of research. The government supports this, whereby a good balance between the different instruments is essential. Cooperation between different executive bodies is also essential to optimally support the creative industry.
This letter is the government response to the advice The value of creativity (Council for Culture and the Advisory council for science, technology, and innovation) – Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science and Ministry of Economic Affairs - November 2015