ECIA Closing Conference: this is just the start


On 27-28 November 2014, the European Creative Industries Alliance (ECIA) presented ten policy recommendations following their three years of work. The recommendations are described and supported with concrete cases in the final report. During the Closing Conference in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) the recommendations were discussed in panel discussions and small sessions. Read the recap here.

The first day of the ECIA Closing Conference  took place in venue ‘Pakhuis de Zwijger’. Kajsa Ollongren, Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam, kicked off the programme for the day. In her speech, she linked the work of ECIA to the Creative Industries climate in Amsterdam, mentioning different initiatives such as the Jean School, an unique education programme for denim professionals. “Creativity is an important European value” she stated. “It’s clear where we need to invest in. Creative Industries are the sectors that grow”

Presentation of the final report
The plenary kick-off by ECIA chairman Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning is an introduction into three years of work what finally is summarized briefly in the Final Report. He underlines that the potential of creative industries lies in economic growth and more jobs. In the report, ten policy recommendations are presented in three different categories:

  1. Stimulate innovation and growth by enabling crosssectoral collaboration,
  2. Build better business support and access to finance in effective regional ecosystems and
  3. Measure and raise awareness of the value of the cultural and creative industries as a key driver of innovation and growth.
    Learn more: the full report is available here.

The first copy of the final report was handed to Jet Bussemaker, Dutch Minister of Culture, Education and Science. In her statement she stressed that the Dutch government strives to encourage crossovers and innovation. She mentions start-ups such as Blendle and Dutch entrepreneurs such as Daan Roosegaarde and Marina Toeters who represent a generation that is innovative, creative and progressive which is on its way to conquer the world. While the sector is growing, it is also vulnerable; Ms Bussemaker mentions that there is still work to do, and she even advocates a “Made in Europe”-brand – a trademark for excellence.

Panel 1: educate and demand stuff
The recommendations were discussed during two panel discussions. The first panel consisted of policy makers: Karine Daniel (Fr), Gian Paolo Manzella (It), Kajsa Ollongren (Nl), Olli-Poika Parviainen (Fi), Carsten Schierenbeck (Be), Barbera Wolfensberger (Nl) and Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning (Da). The main issues that arised during the session were among others:

  • Educating policy makers
  • Public sector needs to be more competitive, on the edge and creative
  • Vouchers and financing schemes should cross different sectors and break silo thinking
  • Make visible what creative industries do

“We should convince the  banking sector that the Creative Industries is worth the investment”
– Gian Paolo Manzella

“We should not only support, but also demand stuff from the Creative Industry”
– Barbera Wolfensberger

Keynote: a city in transition
After the lunch break, the Pakhuis de Zwijger-venue director Egbert Franssen gave some background on the location and on initiatives in the city that are linked to Pakhuis de Zwijger. They are the initiator of New Amsterdam – City in Transition, where changes are made bottom-up and social innovation and City Makers are key. More information on New Amsterdam:

Panel 2:
The plenary session continued with the second panel of practitioners, like cluster organisations and other intermediaries: Mattia Corbetta (It), Michael Hofegger (Au), Kari Kankaala (Fi), Caroline Norbury (UK), Jordi Sellas (Sp) and Doortje van Unen (Nl). The main points that arose during the second session were among others:

  • Innovation voucher schemes should be available and would help to get creatives and other sectors to work together
  • There’s a great need for navigation through the financial landscape
  • How can money institutions such as banks become risk-taking, non-interest financial resources?
  • New financial resources where responsibility is shared: such as repayable loans, with shared risks; parties involved who look after their part of the investment.
  • Long-term investment should be a more realistic option and we should be getting comfortable with the idea of increasing intangible assets

“Talent is everywhere, but it needs 3 things: money, markets and networks”
– Caroline Norbury

“Sharing risks in funding is sharing responsibility”
– Isolde Hallensleben summarizing the intervention of Jordi Sellas

Parallel Sessions
After the plenary sessions, the conference broke up in three groups for sessions on three different topics: Cross-Sectoral Innovation & the use of Voucher Schemes; Access to Finance; Cluster Excellence and Internationalisation. The project partners who worked on the different themes presented their findings in a short overview, and  views were exchanged between the audience and panel.

The first day was concluded by an evening programme in cooperation with CLICKNL, the Dutch knowledge and innovation network of the Topsector Creative Industries, in City Archives De Bazel.

Day 2: EU Policy and future activities
The second conference day on Friday kicked off in the Public Library of Amsterdam (OBA) with a wrap-up of the day before, by Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning.

Mr Albert Boswijk (Nl) treated the audience with an inspirational talk about the experience economy. The founder of the European Centre for Experience Economy argued that society is overregulated and that there is a need to create value through meaningful experiences. For example, people are being creative and discovering their creative talents through using digital platforms such as social media. Boswijk stated that everything that can be digitalised can be personalised. Thus, the economy is shifting towards a more ethical form that is dematerialized and more sustainable. The role of the creative industries is clear: bring together changing personal values and business values. Important values here are co-creativity and meaningful products.

The keynote by Boswijk was followed by Carsten Schierenbeck (DG Enterprise), who spoke about future EU policy for creative industries as an emerging industry. What actions are necessary? How can other EU SME programmes benefit from the recommendations? Mr Schierenbeck emphasized the potential of the creative industries for other industries. He explained the Horizon 2020 INNOSUP call for new value chains in emerging industries, in which the applicant shoudl use at least 75% of the funds for the innovation of SMEs.

EU focuses on recommendation #3
Ms Catherine Magnant (DG EAC) was the next to respond to the ECIA recommendations, from the European Commission’s point of view. Now that there’s more insight in for example the creative industries’ contribution to jobs and revenue, the importance for the EU to invest in innovation and entrepreneurship within this sector is obvious. These subjects are the main focus on the EU agenda for the coming 4 years. In the Creative Europe Programme, about 31% of the funding will go to culture, 56% to media and 13% to the cross-sectoral strand, all managed by the European Investment Fund. Recommendation #3 will be actively picked up by the European Commission: the value of the cultural and creative industries will be measured, and the raise of awareness will be actively pursued.

The final presentation was given by Ms Mikolt Csap, representative (DG CNECT). She underlined the importance of interlinked sectors, and more specifically the creative industries with technology providers and commerce/distribution. A good example of actions from the EU is NEM ideas, an  initiative that is supported by Horizon2020. They have developed a smart content vision that can be fully read on

Touring Amsterdam by boat
For those interested, the conference was concluded by a boat tour that led past creative centres throughout the city. A special tour was given around NDSM Werf, a former shipyard which is now an exciting creative hotspot.

We look back at two days full of inspiring speeches and presentations that will motivate us to innovate with and within the Creative Industries and policy making. We would like to thank all panelists, speakers and attendees for joining us these two days. Innovation in Creative Industries policy just starts here – will you help us spread the word?

More information

  • Find all the presentations on our Slideshare. Albert Boswijk made his presentation available through his Slideshare.
  • More info on the programme and speakers can be found here.
  • Problems to view the photo album? Try the Flickr album.