Vilhjálmur Þorsteinsson, chairman of CCP tells about the project that I initiated between the Reykjavik Business School and the Iceland Academy of Art.

KreaNord is the name of an initiative in the Nordic region, aimed at improving the framework conditions of the region’s cultural and creative industries. Since it has been my job for the last decade to run design schools and my interests are very much for inclusion of creatives in industry and society in general, I attended a conference the network set up in Copenhagen during this last weekend of October.

KreaNord was established in 2008 under the auspicers of the Nordic Council of Ministers and functions as a Nordic platform for exchange and policy development. The Nordic Council of Ministers is also the funding body of the Cirrus Network that I am the leader of, the network of schools in higher education in art and design in the Nordic and Baltic region.

Few photos from the event

The conference was well organized and surprisingly informative. Present were a mix of policy makers, people from finance and culture and art. I think there were not that many from the classical academia and I really think more people from the design schools should get involved. There was a spectrum of speakers, even a Danish Princess dropped in to lift the event. We have to be thankful for her interest in the creative and cultural economy, something where the Nordic countries are quite strong, but at the same time lagging somewhat behind in terms of fast response and venture capital for startups.

We were presented with successful examples of startups, given good presentations of policy in the EU and in the Nordic Zone. The policy recommendations were three:

  1. Promote strategic collaboration and exchanges within the Nordic cultural and creative industries and with other sectors for value creation, innovation and growth.
  2. Promote new opportunities for access to global markets, financing, and attraction of foreign investments for the Nordic cultural and creative industries.
  3. Promote culture and creativity in Nordic education at all levels and entrepreneurialism and business skills in cultural and artistic education.

The third recommendation is of course the one that I and my friends should take seriously (or ignore if people are that way inclined) and I hope we can develop some kind of a platform for the design schools to enhance entrepreneuralism.

It warmed my heart that Vilhjálmur Þorsteinsson, chariman of the Icelandic games company CCP told about my initiative in linking together the students of Reykjavik University and the Iceland Academy of Art. This course and competition has been run from the first days of the faculty of design in Iceland and always stimulates energy from the students. The speaker after him was Jan R. Stavik, the managing director of the Norwegian Design Council talking about how little link there is in his country between business education and the art schools. But he did also tell about my initiative in Oslo of running a common course for students in my faculty and BI, the Norwegian Business School.

There were many different discussions and performances, but the issue that I listened with most intensity to was about the difficulties that the two fields of business and art have in talking togheter. The creative people stereotype the business people (venture funds) as ignorant and non romantic people and the business people maintain often that the creative people are not organized or to be trusted. Through conversation about the education in art schools there was an agreement that more entrepreneurial teaching is needed, while people were generally of the agreement that artists and designers should be allowed to be artistic and not become completely business men.

My optimism lies in the incubators that are being set up in many countries and why? They do not have the rigid constraints of academia with intake restrictions, demanding university degrees or mentors that have master degrees or PhD. The companies in the incubators just have to have strong potential and work hard . . .  and get venture capital in the end.

October 26, 2010  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: DESIGN