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Creativity and cultural diversity are key assets for Europe in the international competition, but also a meaningful stop signal to the demagogic “Europebashing”. I am delighted that AAD participates to the empowerment of Culture. I am deeply convinced that European civilization is a precious spiritual, social and economic strength for its nations but also for the rest of the world. Its History and its future are the two sides of the same coin. Europe can build on its cultural diversity driven by its cultural and creative sectors and heritage.

Year after year, even if an avalanche of numbers on the creative economy confirms its positive impact on the global economy, I do feel that creative industries are still underestimated ascatalysts for innovation. Beside their contribution, in terms of exports (624 billion dollars worldwide in 2011, weight in GDP (between 3.5 and 13% depending on the country or region including China), and finally in real jobs – and potential ones. Politicians should put more emphasis on their contribution to the tourism and the development of the ICT sector. I strongly believe that culture competitiveness has the capacity to create emotional ties with consumers that go far beyond the price or the functionality of products. Aesthetic, meaning, social significance are key aspects of the experience economy (the proof by Apple, Samsung but also Lorenzetti, Caravaggio, Richter, Bach, Gary, Picasso, Louise Bourgeois, Dusapin, Legrand, Mircea Cantor and all the ones you love…).

Culture, creative industries and intellectual property are key drivers of this intangible economy. From my experience, innovation is increasingly driven by non-technological factors such as creativity, design and new organizational processes or business models. It heavily relies on creative eco-systems in which the quality and diversity of partnerships across different sectors and types of actors is decisive. The most obvious example is the wider use of design in manufacturing industries, adding value to products, services, processes and market structures. A survey shows that firms spending twice the average amount on creative inputs are 25% more likely to introduce product innovations. Culture/economy, a creative couplewith three added values.

1. Cultural integration: accelerating the awareness of the economy contribution of creative thinking. For example, “Better by design” is the New Zealand government initiative that offers, across the country, the best businesses support and awareness programs on the benefits of design thinking.

2. Mixing of profiles: an effort remains to be done in mixing profiles and create the ability to develop multidisciplinary teams. I have a – small – dream: a call for a training which combines scientific, technological, managerial and artistic skills. In France for example, the “Creating an innovative product” program enables students from ESSEC, Centrale and Strate College (design academy) to work on specific multi-disciplinary company projects. But it is urgent to call for (un)disciplinary co-operation for new economic models or a minima, to generate new markets. A good example is the CLUE (Upper-Rhine Creative Industries Cluster) which has set itself the goal to build a cross-border cluster for creative industries in the perspective of developing the sector and the relationships with traditional economic sectors.

Economically, investing in culture is an effective means of achieving development objectives or economic recovery. For a city, investing in culture is not only a way to improve the well-being of its inhabitants – which remains central-, or to develop social life: it is also a way to boost its economy. Culture also generates hugeleverage on public cultural spending for the cities (an average of 0.7% of GDP per capita). Yet these costs alone are statistically correlated with approximately 9% of GDP per capita, not meaning that this correlation is a strict causal link, many other factors need to be included to explain the performance of cultural investment. Still, the econometric analysis reveals undoubtedly a leverage of cultural investment on GDP growth.

A true catalysts of creativity which affects the whole of society, in all sectors, as theBilbao effect proves it : 132 million€ invested in the project were fully depreciated in the first year, since the direct expenditures made ??by visitors helped increase the city’s GDP of 144 million€. 10 years later, the leverage is increasing. It is now 210 million€ as the Guggenheim Museum every year brings to the city. This case is not isolated, I could have mentioned the city of Metz with Centre Pompidou-Metz or the Essen example: using culture as a lever for transformation, “converting” and boosting social cohesion, life and image of their territories, ie. the growing importance of the cultural and creative industries within the overall economy of the region. The cultural and creative industries are a growth industry that supports structural change, triggers income and employment effects in the whole Ruhr metropolis and contributes to create a positive image.

What’s next? The development of a creative economy needs the adoption of appropriate support policies for creative and cultural SMEs and emphasizes their significant contribution to the economy. The ability to develop trade in creative and cultural industries will, to a large extent, determine the success in promoting the intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding. The best content at the best time for the consumer with multiple content, formats, devices and sources, creative content consumption has defined another value for the consumer. The creative industries must thus understand that consumers live a dual relationship with cultural products: while they continue to seek the best time to consume attractive, compelling content,they now also seek for the best content to occupy their time. To create well-being at specific times of the day or the week. Hence the need to create signs identified by consumers (brands, genres, authors) covering specific temporalities and stable benefits.

To provide products and services rapidly accessible, easy to interrupt … and resume, scalable, non-intrusive and generating no frustration. To represent a real activity included in a real schedule. Business models, formats and value chains, which define today’s TV programs and movies, music, press, publishing and video games must consider these new consumers’ expectations. By asserting “No politics without culture”, the sixth edition of the Forum d’Avignon, that we have just run at the end of November 2013, establishes several pragmatic proposals to reaffirm that culture must be at the heart of politics, among many perspectives we choose to call to encourage the territories rebuilding through culture, and to facilitate the emergence of a generation of cultural creators and entrepreneurs aiming at changing the way we invest in culture.

We have to help them. Now.

About the Author

Laure Kaltenbach

Laure Kaltenbach

Director General of the Forum d'Avignon, space for international dialogue between the actors of culture, economy and media (in 2010).   Former head of the office of economic evaluations and inf...