Grow Creative Summary and Case Study by asafwewe


Grow Creative Summary and Case Study

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									                           SUMMARY PAGE: GROW CREATIVE

Organisation          Grow Creative                                Project Profile
                      Charlotte Stuart
                      Innovation & Enterprise Unit
                      School of Independent Studies
                      Bowland North
                      Lancaster University
                      Lancaster LA1 4YN
                      Tel: 01524 594581

Summary               Building on a previous project ‘Be Creative’, this project supports SMEs in the creative
                      industries to develop, especially in terms of commercialisation. It is supported by a
                      combination of HEIF and ERDF funding.

Project Start     &   Nov 2006
End Dates             May 2008

Evaluation Date       April 2007

Primary Motivators     Perceived need for engagement with the creative sector

Objectives             To offer business support, training and action learning

Enablers                Strong project team. Links and connections fro the previous project

Challenges             Delay in getting appointments into post due to internal university systems

Outputs                Planned development programme

Lessons Learnt         Director stepping back and giving more operational management to project manager

Next Steps             Phase two of the project

Classification        Business Support, Creative Industries/Arts

Author                Dr Sarah Robinson

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                           CASE STUDY: GROW CREATIVE

1.     SUMMARY

The project started in Nov. 2006 and is for 18 months it is supported by a combination of HEIF and
ERDF funding. They plan a repertoire of interventions to help support the development of SMEs in
the creative sector. These include commercial development workshops, one to one mentoring and
action learning. In addition HEIF3 funding is being used to use current undergraduate projects in
this sector and ERDF funding supports well established Post Graduate consultancies.


This project took some elements of an earlier project ‘Be Creative’ and collaborative work with
Salford University on Action Learning project. The more successful elements such as Action
Learning and the use of student projects have been taken into the new project but less successful
parts such as travel schemes will not be continued. Bids were written in February last year (2006)
and it consists of two funding streams ERDF and HEIF which enables both ERDF eligible and non
eligible businesses to be supported.

It grew out of other work which although specifically designed for the sector it had included
participants from the creative sector for example one action learning set on the Salford project was
made up of people from this sector and there was recognition of how appropriate and helpful such
an approach was for this sector.

Frank Dawes, the director of the Unit came to Lancaster four years ago with a specific remit to
provide support of the creative industries and to draw on resources from the university. In that time
he has learned a lot about the sector and realised that specific support is needed and also that
there needs to be an emphasis in building up collaboration across the sector not just in their
specific parts and also between HEIs involved in this work. He put together the bid for this project
drawing on experiences on Be Creative and previous work taking the successful parts and adding
new parts to meet perceived needs e.g. – young Artists and NESTA

2.1.   Primary Motivators: Need and Demand

Arts and Humanities needed an comprehensive outreach programme as this work this was not as
developed as in other parts of the university for example in the management school. They needed
to focus on creative industries which was a priority sector and in line with university strategy for

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engagement with outreach and the region.

There was a lot of data from agencies about the needs of the sector however it was felt that the
research rigor wasn’t really there. Frank also drew on his own experiences and the experience of
others in his networks and contacts in identifying what the needs were. A need was identified that
to build up this understanding more qualitative data on the needs of the sector was required and
this has been built into the objectives of this project

2.2.   Objectives

The objectives of this project are to provide specific support for the creative industries particularly in
terms of developing commercial awareness which is the key to the whole thing, written through the
whole project. This is done through the delivery complementary support rather than a joined up

3.     PROCESS

3.1.   Foresight Enabling Skill

Early Research and Development
The challenge at the outset was tying in with policy issues aiming to build in such activities to the
key function of the university i.e. developing courses mainstream courses which serve the needs of
these clients –e.g. PGT and PGR activities while at the same time recognising the importance of
collaborative activities with NESTA.

It was already acknowledged that there was a need for CPD within the creative sector. A particular
need was identified in terms of understanding financial value systems recognising that work has an
economic value and need to ‘get hands dirty’ and learn commercial awareness. There was also a
need for market research e.g. on audience research for festivals.

The importance for peer to peer networks was being recognised as a spin off of other activities e.g.
the Women Performers Project which was about barriers to women getting their work performed
but the participants subsequently set up a strong peer network amongst themselves. Such
networks give people the opportunity to explore issues and fears which otherwise they tend to keep
these to themselves.

There is a tension defining what creative industries and whom they can best work with as

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effectively it is lots of sectors put under one umbrella and some are more commercial than others.
They recognised that it includes some professions that they will not be able to work with e.g.
architects, digital industries and (possibly) PR but these are already more likely to have more
commercial awareness. Another recognised challenge is to get people working across the sector
to make people more aware of others and how they can work with them e.g. people working in the
supply steam.

3.2.     Individual Performance

Frank spend a lot of time with the delivery team Charlotte and Becky over the first 2 months being
‘quite controlling’ but this was appreciated in terms of putting structures in place and in a sort of a
mentoring role sharing and building on his experiences. He has ‘backed off’ more now and they are
building up their project management skills.

Charlotte is well placed as project manager as she has knowledge of the sector and also project
management skills, communication skills through doing the MA so she is developing a bridging /go-
between role being able to communicate both with people within the industry and the university

She is currently working on evaluation and a literature review and has a mentor Anne who is
helping her who was her MA tutor.

Both Charlotte and Becky have recently been just been on ERDF management training at Bradford
and have learned a lot from that. Charlotte is currently changing her into becoming an events
The team has used psychometric profiling to identify gaps in the team but also in appreciating each
others’ capabilities.

The bid for this project was written February 2006 drawing on his experience since Frank has been
at Lancaster in 3 years and he realises how much understanding of the sector he has developed
during this time.

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3.3.     Social Networking Intelligence

Team Working
The team consists of Frank Dawes, Charlotte Stuart and Becky Gordon.
Frank put the bids together for this project and directed the previous Be Creative project. Charlotte
was working on the end of the BE Creative project. Becky has been brought in with the ERDF
knowledge also knowledge of outreach in different parts of the university e.g. the Management

Charlotte brought in because of her experience of the sector – there needed to be someone who
understood how this sector works and also how this part of the university works.
She did her first degree here in theatre studies and the MA. The need to be able to work across
sectors and be a middle person was brought home to her on the MA project when she realised how
important managing relations was. There is a need to understand how the how the sector works
and also how the academics work and how difficult it can be to get engagement.

There is feedback from external clients and contacts that they are impressed by Frank’s team.

Social Networking
Over the past four years Frank has built up important contacts within the sector and with the
regional development agencies and Business Link

The Affinities group is an important link as is the Brewery Arts centre in Kendal and Folly.

There is an on going challenge in working with the development agencies and they need to plan
how to take this forward and develop it.

3.4.     Academic Business Acumen

The business plan is being developed but is still in Frank’s head. They do have the plans written
into the funding bids but these are quite flexible. They are currently in the process of drawing up
GANT charts.

They wish to keep the process as to be flexible as possible and will continually evaluate and make
changes accordingly.

In terms of marketing they have set up a web site which is generating some interest but they need

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to draw on and exploit the successes of the previous projects more e.g. to put up some case
studies from Be Creative and action learning and to including quotes on how useful and relevant it
has been for capacity building and so on.

They have also identified a need to play up the Lancaster connection more and to build up some
Lancaster associates scheme. Many of the people they are involved with are Lancaster graduates
including the manager of the Brewery Arts Centre so this carries weight. They need to develop
these links for example as an associate scheme that exists in LUMS thus picking up associates
and nurturing them and building this scheme into the project.

They are drawing up research methodology at the moment which is a varied multi method both
qualitative and quantitative. Also following the funders’ requirements they have built in evaluation
data and are currently looking at the LEAD model which is both qualitative and quantitative. They
realise that they need to include people’s development which needs to be formalised by having a
mechanism for capturing it. They have started keeping a field diary through management meetings
and so have an ongoing document of the development of the project.

In the planning stage (phase 1) they spent a lot of time having conversations with people, getting to
know people, looking for referrals and developing internal networks both outreach (e.g. the tourism
centre) and academic. They are now in phase 2 (they have planned out 4 phases) which is starting
to get into the operational stage. They have a clear idea where we are going and have structures in
place and from their combined experience know how to develop a project. They need to keep
thinking creatively as ‘there are lots of boxes to be thinking outside of’.


The HEIF and ERDF funding has enabled them to develop student project and consultancy


The start of the project was delayed due to hold ups in internal personnel systems.

6.     OUTPUTS

Planned development programme

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Co-ordination will be the key to smooth delivery of this project. They need to talk to other managers
in similar positions and get lessons learned.


They have built up a good skills compliment for project delivery but in terms of capacity they may
need more help and have the idea of having a Leonardo placement student. They need to look at
priorities and the funds available for bringing in others.

Charlotte wants to deliver some of the workshops herself and the others will go out to tender.

Charlotte has become better at networking and making those networks across the university e.g. in
LUMs however they need to work on building up external networks. Cumbria is a specific
challenge, which needs concentrating on. They will go through their contacts in the Brewery and
Affinity in the first instance. The new Cumbria vision leaves out creative industries so they have to
work hard at plugging the gap there.

As regards delivery they will start with the PG consultancies as they are tried and tested and they
are also at the point of developing UG structured placements and will pilot 7 or 8. Action Learning
sets have been tested are more or less ready to roll out.

For the workshops they have an idea of the general topics which come up again and again and
which are in high demand.

They are also going to throw in some new variables such as mentoring and would also like to
include some coaching too. They are staggering the activities so they can learn from each.

They also need to think ahead to HEIF money 2008 and extending the project. The Story Institute
in Lancaster is being refurbished so there may be incubation opportunities there. There also may
be the possibility of developing a Cultural Leadership programme with LUMS or another HEI.

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