We have seen how cultural industries now encompass a great variety of businesses, from the more traditional film and music, to the newcomers such as crafts and design.

Any industry, including cultural ones, needs fresh ideas to move forward, and this is where innovation is key.

Think for a moment about silent movies: it was not too long ago that they were all the rage; yet, we now go to see movies that introduce us to a whole new world on screen, which does not even exist in reality because it was cleverly created on a PC somewhere.

Photographers started taking digital pictures only around the 1990s; before then many a film had to be thrown away due to lack of good results both at the time of the shoot and in the dark room.

Most innovation is the result of research, experimenting with old ideas and looking for new solutions: sometimes it happens to save on costs, sometimes to get ahead of the market and other times because the innovator has spotted a gap in the market.

Virtually all employers around the world encourage new ideas from anyone in their work-force and it can be a further way for the employee to show commitment, critical thinking and adaptability.

The University of Plymouth has a very interesting initiative regarding innovation for the creative and cultural industries called ‘ICCI’: visit their website at www.plymouth.ac.uk.


Probably everyone remembers the BBC series ‘The Office’. In all fairness, it possibly looked like one of the most boring companies and places to work for: dull walls and un-happy faces did not make the best of first impressions, and David Brent could possibly have done with going to see the dentist. Yet, you set foot in a good, suc-cessful advertising agency and it is all glass partitions and funky office furniture: appar-ently, it is not all to show off either, as it seems it is more conducive to creativity.

The truth is that, if creative people end up being referred to as ‘eccentrics’ by their peers in the everyday office, those same creative people are worshipped in cultural industries, which makes perfect sense if we consider what some of those new cultural industries are. Take fashion, for example: Vivienne Westwood did not get to be one of the best known names in fashion by being plain and dull.

The tricky thing about creativity is that it is not something you can learn: you either have it or you do not. What you can do is learn how to channel it so it becomes something you can use in your job every day. The great thing about creativity is that it takes many forms: you might not be the next JK Rowling but you might turn out to be a natural at drawing. All creativity is good and all you have to do is find your role within cultural industries.

Read www.ycnonline.com/features/view/30/not-my-job.-im-creative for a useful, tongue-in-cheek insight on creativity.