Creative Clusters

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Research report: November 2010

Creative clusters and innovation
Putting creativity on the map
Caroline Chapain, Phil Cooke, Lisa De Propris, Stewart MacNeill and Juan Mateos-Garcia

Disclaimer
This work contains statistical data from ONS which is Crown copyright and reproduced with the permission of the controller of HMSO and Queen’s Printer for Scotland. The use of the ONS statistical data in this work does not imply the endorsement of the ONS in relation to the interpretation or analysis of the statistical data. This work uses research datasets which may not exactly reproduce National Statistics aggregates. Copyright of the statistical results may not be assigned, and publishers of these data must have or obtain a licence from HMSO. The ONS data in these results are covered by the terms of the standard HMSO ‘click-use’ licence.

Creative clusters and innovation
Putting creativity on the map

Foreword
No one doubts the economic importance of the creative industries to the UK. At 6.2 per cent of the economy, and growing at twice the rate of other sectors, they are proportionately the largest of any in the world. But there is some evidence that the UK’s creative industries support innovation and growth in other parts of the economy too. The significance of these spillovers has only recently begun to be examined rigorously. And we know next to nothing about their geographical dimensions. This gap in our understanding is what NESTA set out to address in Creative Clusters and Innovation, the outcome of a two-year collaboration with Birmingham and Cardiff Universities. The study adopts the concept of creative clusters as a starting point to examine the role that creative industries play in local and regional innovation systems. Its publication accompanies an online platform we have developed for users to examine creative industry concentrations at a fine level of detail in their localities. As ever, I look forward to hearing your views. Hasan Bakhshi Director, Creative Industries, NESTA November, 2010

NESTA is the UK’s foremost independent expert on how innovation can solve some of the country’s major economic and social challenges. Its work is enabled by an endowment, funded by the National Lottery, and it operates at no cost to the government or taxpayer. NESTA is a world leader in its field and carries out its work through a blend of experimental programmes, analytical research and investment in earlystage companies. www.nesta.org.uk

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Executive summary
It has long been recognised that industrial clustering benefits businesses by giving them access to skilled staff and shared services, and the opportunity to capture valuable knowledge spillovers. This is equally true of creative businesses, as exemplified by Hollywood, or closer to home by a host of thriving UK clusters, from post-production in Soho to video games in Dundee. This report is the most ambitious attempt yet to map the UK’s creative clusters, showing where they are, which sectors form them, and what their role is in the systems of innovation where they are embedded. It makes a case for a new approach to local economic policy as it relates to the creative industries: one that goes beyond ‘urban branding’ rationales, and acknowledges their great potential as active players in local innovation systems.

The research has shown that London is the heart of the creative industries in Britain, dominating in almost all creative sectors, and particularly in the most intrinsically creative layers of the value chain for each sector. The high level of geographical detail used in the mapping has allowed us to pin-point nine other creative hotspots across Britain. They are Bath, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Guildford, Edinburgh, Manchester, Oxford and WycombeSlough. NESTA is making this unique dataset available on an online platform that can be accessed at http://www.nesta.org.uk/areas_of_work/ creative_economy/geography_of_innovation. This platform...
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