Austria has been among the first movers to recognise the importance of CI with regard to innovation policy and has incorporated them into the national strategy.
Globalisation and digitisation bring radical changes in society and the economy troughout Europe. As a highly export-oriented economy with mostly small businesses, Austria thus all the more needs high innovation dynamics to cope with those challenges. In this context, the creative industries (CI) play a crucial role as a driving force for the economy as a whole in terms of growth and innovation.
Austria has been among the first movers to recognise the importance of CI with regard to innovation policy and has incorporated them into the national strategy for research, technology and innovation.
The strategy was devised in a co-creative process of several months in spring 2016, led by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs ((bmdw) in cooperation with Kreativwirtschaft Austria, aws and the Austrian Economic Chamber. About 100 creatives and experts from many disciplines participated altogether and contributed substantial input during a stakeholder workshop.
The strategy consists of 22 measures which are based on 3 complementary pillars:
- Empowerment: strengthen the competitiveness of Austria’s CI
- Transformation: exploit the transformative effect the CI have on other sectors
- Innovation: strengthen the innovation system by innovation taking place in the CI
In order to make sure the strategy will be implemented, a CI sounding board has been established to conduct an annual monitoring of the implementation of the measures and to provide recommendations.
Each year bmdw provides EUR 8 Mio. for measures to promote innovation originating from the CI. It is planned to invest EUR 40 Mio.in the effect of the CI as a driving force for innovation and transformation (2016-2020).
Evidence of success
Several new initiatives/funding programs have been set up/are currently being developed based on measures from the CI strategy (such as the Creat(iv)e Growth pilot; budget: EUR 4,5 Mio.). Additionally, the continuation of other already successfully running programmes could be ensured (such as Impulse, yearly budget EUR 5,5 Mio.).
Also, the fact that other countries/regions start to use the Austrian CI strategy as model is a clear evidence of success.
Its one thing to finalize a strategy, it’s another one to make sure it will be implemented; for this the commitment from the policy-side is crucial.
Another challenge was the short time-limit to finalize the strategy; this was solved as the involved organizations are already used to cooperate.
Potential for learning or transfer
Establishing a Creative Industries Strategy for your region/country is a clear statement to show the importance you dedicate to fostering innovation and can be a great boost to support companies from the CI sector.
As a framework document, a strategy is also an instrument that can easily be transferred to other regions/countries even though the details and measures can of course differ depending on the specific interest and peculiarities of the region/country.
It is however important to mention that it is not just about creating a strategy. The crucial part is to make sure it will be implemented and that measures will be evaluated constantly. Otherwise it would be just a piece of paper.
Within the RCIA consortium several other regions have already started initiating a creative industries strategy in their region (such as the city of Lublin (Poland) and South-Tyrol (Italy)), using the Austrian example as a blueprint.
Outside of RCIA Austria has also been visited by a CZ delegation.
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