Forum for the Future has been working with the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network (CITKN) team on one of their ‘Beacon’s for Innovation’ projects. The project, which focused on sustainability, examined how British creative businesses can innovate on issues such as energy, climate change and social equity, as well as become more sustainable themselves.
The UK’s creative industries are great inventors and harnessers of technology, with an impressive track record of interpreting innovation, as the all-encompassing conversion to the digital world proves. Sustainability presents both challenges and opportunities for creative businesses to forge partnerships with other organisations, or take the lead to employ their design skills, innovative thinking and technical knowledge to tackle some of the biggest challenges of modern life.
Collaboratively, Forum and the CIKTN worked with leading experts, businesses and organisations to identify what actions, funding and activities need to be put in place to turn ideas into reality. By mapping out a range of possible futures we helped creative businesses ensure they play a fundamental role in delivering sustainability, while continuing to generate revenue and jobs globally.
We interviewed creatives from across the industries and launched the project via a public event on June 16th 2010, which was also broadcast on the web, a video of the event can be found here. We were delighted to have Lord David Puttnam, Sebastian Conran, Jonathon Porritt, Franny Armstrong, Tim Brown and friends speaking and debating at the event.
In September 2010 we published a review of the CIs, which gives a brief overview of who’s doing what on sustainability across the 13 industries. We then ‘filtered’ the CIs through our Climate Futures scenarios to understand what the risks and opportunities are for them over the next 20 years.
Using some of the key implications derived from this work we ran two workshops with creatives, one in Bristol and one in Manchester, to think about action planning and the opportunities for collaboration and innovation around sustainability. We also ran a couple of sessions during the BFI London Film Festival, looking at how film can work with other creative sectors to drive sustainability.
To round up the Beacon project, in February 2011 we published a final toolkit, in which we suggest the industries make the most of opportunities like ‘profiting from pioneering on sustainability’ and ‘shifting from high-carbon to low-carbon technologies’. These opportunties will help them save money and move their businesses into the new era of clean, lean, efficient business practice. This is something many clients buying services from the industries are now demanding and viewing as a major criterion for success.
In the toolkit we also provoke creative businesses, policy makers and big business buying creative services to consider their role in enabling the shift to sustainability thinking. We make suggestions for what they can all be doing immediately and in the longer term:
If you’re a creative business:
If you’re a policy maker:
If you’re a business outside of the creative industries:
We’ve also included a section which signposts the many ways to keep up-to-date on sustainability online:
The lists are by no means exhaustive, but a starting point for those who wish to understand more about the issues and opportunities. It’s also a great way to learn from those who are already doing inspiring work in this space.
We hope the toolkit will help grow the groundswell of current activity and inspire many more creatives to proactively take part in shaping our future. We want businesses and policy to work together on sustainability and ultimately encourage an all-encompassing creative movement. Our aim is to enable creatives to take on, once and for all, the biggest challenges we have ever faced.
Please get in touch to tell us what you or others are doing across the creative industries to help shift the UK to a sustainable future. We’re also keen to hear your ideas about how we can build on the excellent work already happening – we don’t have all the answers. We just know we won’t get to where we need without creatives playing a major part.
To contact the Forum project team email Fiona.
All illustrations in the Beacon Project, Final Report by Ian Dera http://www.iandera.com
Calling all creatives: design the future we need Fiona Bennie
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