The project was organised into six connected themes, the findings for which are summarised below.
Theme 1 - Identifying, mapping, and measuring the creative industries: Our work here found that while significant foundations have been laid, there is a need for a harmonised understanding of what the creative (and cultural) industries are. The ‘creative intensities’ approach, which is based on the share of creative workers in an industry, offers a pragmatic first step to identifying these. There is also a need to develop measures of innovation more suitable to creative and symbolic activities; a need to understand innovation inputs other than R&D, such as design, and a need to be better understand the inter-connections between the creative industries and the wider economy.
Theme 2 – Modes, and models of creativity, design, and innovation: Our studies in this area emphasise aspects of innovation that are often severely underplayed, including symbolic (rather than functional) innovations; the significance of time and the sequencing of events in generating innovations; the role of individual and collective agency, and the significance of combining efforts such as through social movements or ‘radical circles’. While these characteristics are not unique to the creative industries, they are particularly prominent in these settings.
Theme 3 – Entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial firms and industrial dynamics in the creative industries: Our studies in this theme found high rates of innovation, combined with a common reluctance to pursue growth, especially in terms of employment, among creative industry firms. Also particularly notable is the importance of the social contexts within which businesses operate, and the heavy use of freelancers and networks, suggesting that very often creative industry firms are in effect substantially larger than they appear. Such practices may become more widespread in the future.
Theme 4 – Digital platforms and ecosystems and the blurring of production and consumption: Notable from the research conducted by the project in this area is that digital technologies are being incorporated by firms in a variety of ways and that digital platform technologies are breaking down the distinction between producers and consumers. Some firms are devising sophisticated strategies to enrol unpaid contributions from the public. However, while users increasingly have the potential to be active, only a small minority are, which may potentially lead to disproportionate or biased responses by firms.
Theme 5 – Intellectual property rights (IP) and IP protection: In this theme we examined intellectual property rights and innovation behaviour, with a particular emphasis on trademarks and registered designs. We found that both trademarks and registered designs can protect and signal innovations, but there are generally weak connections between the use of these rights and innovation performance, such that considerable care needs to be taken when using these rights as indicators of innovation, and using them to understand innovation behaviours.
Theme 6 – Policy issues and recommendations: Here we reviewed the policy issues arising from the research findings and developed policy recommendations. Overall, we urge governments to separate innovation policies from science and research policies. Innovation policies should address issues of inclusion and impact, as well as output.
The findings of the research have been communicated to a wide range of academic, policy, and practitioner audiences.