The cultural and creative sector is a dynamic but a fragmented and heterogenous economic sector with typically small or micro-companies. According to Eurostat, there were 1.1 million cultural enterprises in the EU-27 in 2017. Those cultural SMEs are particularly predominant in architecture, design and photography activities (source). Although the creative industries contribute both to the economy and our society as a whole, they are often isolated both socially and commercially.
Cultural and creative open spaces have the potential to engage the community and to act as a catalyst for individual and collective creativity. However, their absence or the lack of access to such spaces is often cited as a barrier to collaboration which stresses the importance of networking and physical contact for business development and growth.
How do we connect, engage, teach, learn and network as creatives?
Within this context, the project partners from the Erasmus+ project DeuS decided to launch a Creative Platform Challenge in cooperation with INVIO, the Danish innovation network for experience economy. The aim was to look for innovative ways of connecting the creative ecosystem online, meaning innovative technological solutions that may change how creative professionals work and collaborate, more specifically co-create, upskill and network.
The challenge ran from 27 July until 2 October, and a total of 15 applications were submitted via the online platform. Participating startups were encouraged to explore the latest forms of experience technology and dig into the potential of new and unknown types of experience as a means of engaging the creative community. The top 4 startups were invited to pitch online on 29 October.
The 4 finalists were:
- Linda van Andel, CEO, Connecting Talents
- Jonathan Stranders, CEO, Gearbooker
- Ken Mawbey, CEO, Whizwall
- Robert Hopkins, CEO, Axis Workshops.
In their deliberations, the jury evaluation panel paid special attention to the use of new types of technology or new ways to use existing technology, the active involvement of the users through the use of technology, the creation of a new type of networking experience or the strengthening of existing networking experiences, the cross-sectoral nature and the scalability of the solution, and its user-friendliness.
The jury was made of 7 creative industries and business experts:
- Rita Orlando, Senior Project Manager at Matera Basilicata 2019 Foundation, lead partner of the DeuS project
- Søren Graakjær Smed, Associate Professor at Alborg University and Network Coordinator at INVIO
- Paolo Montemurro, Director and Project Manager at Materabub
- Michal Hladky, Director at Creative Industry Košice
- Verena Traunmüller, Project Manager at CREATIVE REGION Linz & Upper Austria
- Lauri Eurén, General Manager at Columbia Road (a Nordic Digital Sales Consultancy)
- Benoît Dalbert, Project Manager at Creative Business Network.
Each startup had 5 minutes to present their business idea and each presentation was followed by a 15-minute Q&A session. While the jury was deliberating, our 2 VIP guest speakers Becky Riches, Project Manager at Matera Basilicata 2019 Foundation and Marco Laterza, Architect at Bernard Quirot architecte & Associés provided a more in-depth overview of both DeuS and Open Design School and also facilitated a short Q&A session with some of the participating startups.
And the winner is…
The jury unanimously decided to award the winning spot to Linda van Andel from Connecting Talents for their unique talent platform which helps people look for new professions and join collaborative opportunities through AI matchmaking. The jury found that their solution best fits the scope of the challenge and the challenges creative professionals face with reskilling and the future of work, as well as the need for cross-sectoral collaboration. Axis Workshops and Whizwall were ranked second and third respectively. Both of them offer interesting tools that will be considered by the DeuS project partners.
The winner will receive free access to Open Design School infrastructures and co-working space in Matera (facilities), online mentoring on project development and management (expertise) and an online talk on Open Design School Facebook page to present their team and their business idea (visibility). The second and third best finalists will be granted access to online mentoring on project development and management and an online talk on Open Design School Facebook page. All finalists will benefit from visibility and promotion activities on the INVIO website.