Creative ecosystems: Dynamics of building, mapping and sustaining

Around the world formal and informal communities of engaged, creative, entrepreneurial people are emerging. They gather to test new ideas, join into ventures and kickstart the global economy. Gathered in urban “tribes”, they are creating new jobs and opportunities, developing and improving products and services. Besides that they’re enriching and revitalizing existing socio-economic activities in their environment.

During Internetweek Denmark, we are cohosting a workshop together with the University of Aarhus and the Creative Ring on the dynamics of building and sustaining creative ecosystems.

Creative ecosystems

The European Union is more and more looking towards creative ecosystems as one of the keys to unlock new innovations and sustainable growth in regional initiatives. Compared to the more known innovation clusters, the focus and strength of (creative) ecosystems, will lay in (a culture of) co-creation and coopetition among stakeholder groups. Innovation clusters will be more isolated despite (or maybe due to) a high focus on concentration.

Leveraging creativity and collaboration for open innovation and experimentation, creative ecosystems represent not only a more sustainable form of local and regional development but are expected to make Europe more competitive in the world. The ecosystem concept has also been widely adopted in business development, marketing and structural development.

Mapping exercises

Mapping a creative ecosystem is a multi-disciplinary exercise looking at people’s engagement with arts, culture and creativity as enabler for innovation, transformation or more generally making shift happen. A creative ecosystem consists of complex interactions, networks and connections, embracing a common project, a joint ambition, a shared purpose.

Mapping a creative ecosystem is in the first place drafting the common projects, people and organizations involved. Listing the creative hubs, events, spaces, projects and initiatives helps to gain tangible insights in the infrastructure. Which can show how it is embedded in the local (smart) city and regional network.

  • Creating a real-time directory, an interactive map serves as a source of inspiration. This is the basis for a continuous conversation to spark new ways of thinking, discussing and meeting, living and working together.
  • A network view of the ecosystem allows to uncover (hidden) patterns, trends and relationships.
  • Listening to the buzz on social media and digital channels reveals the heartbeat of the ecosystem.

Overall, building a data-driven layer helps to monitor the evolution of the creative ecosystem. It indicates elements to measure the impact on socio economic growth and development in a region.

At DataScouts we had the pleasure to help with the mapping and developing a few creative ecosystems. We are especially proud of our role in mapping the emerging ecosystem of e-pioneers in sustainable wearables, smart and e-textiles within WEAR Sustain.

Mapping a (creative) ecosystem: WEAR case

The workshop

The workshop seeks to comprehend, visualise and describe the dynamics and practices of ecosystems as local and regional alliances of actors, who’s goal is to mobilise synergies from co-creation, joint resources and collaboration. Central to this workshop will be an analysis and presentation of  cultural and creative industries (CCIs) in European cities.

This workshop is dedicated to the understanding and building up of creative ecosystems as drivers of urban and regional development.

The European network Creative Ring, Aarhus University, and DataScouts hosts this workshop. If you are in Aarhus this week, attending the  Internetweek Denmark, you are warmly invited to join our workshop at the Institute for X, a culture, business and education platform founded in 2009.

Interested in the workshop? Contact us to subscribe!

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