According to an industry review presented by the Federal Ministry of the Economy in 2015, more than 12,000 people work in the arts and creative industry in the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. The industry generates sales on a par with mechanical engineering and the metal processing industry, although the creative sector has a higher number of registered full-time employees. “The arts and the creative industry are not just a growing sector in the large cities, there’s also growth in large rural areas like Mecklenburg-West Pomerania,” says Katja Wolter, director of the Institute for Resource Development, the Steinbeis Research Center based in Greifswald. “But there’s still plenty of potential for the industry in Mecklenburg- West Pomerania.” Steinbeis is helping to establish a network of creative companies and do lobbying for the industry.
As part of the project, a panel discussion was organized in July with industry experts from a variety of other states and political parties represented in the regional state parliament of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. The results of the exciting evening showed that the creative industry is even a driver of innovation in this state on the Baltic Sea – in times of digital transformation it is creating new types of jobs, products, and services and it has every ability to transfer these to other industries.
Most firms in the sector are small or employ freelancers. To support them, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania needs different ports of call and networks to bolster industry skills and foster collaboration. Especially in rural areas, there is still so much hidden potential and this needs to be tapped into in order to stimulate cooperation between the creative industry and other sectors of industry such as tourism, real estate, and health care.
“Sharing innovative ideas and discussing these in the network” – this is the idea behind an innovation forum that has been set up in the rural district of Göppingen by WIF, an economic development and innovation funding enterprise belonging to the district of Göppingen. The project is part of a collaboration with the Stuttgart regional chamber of commerce in Göppingen. The forum plans to meet up regularly in the future to hear speeches, tour local companies, and promote information exchange in general between different firms in the area.
Reiner Lohse, managing director of WIF, which is also run by Steinbeis, explains more: “For us it’s about meeting up with people from all sorts of companies and sectors of industry in a friendly work atmosphere and letting loose with ideas, or sharing views on business concepts. People only open up to others if there’s a mutual sense of trust but when they do, they start to share know-how and experiences.”
The Innovation Circle is being run as a series of workshops in which the participants lay down an annual program of different topics, each revolving around the concept of innovation. These include aspects such as digital solutions and changes in products, processes, and business models. Given changes that haven’t been thought about until now, how will people buy services or products in the future? “Another thing we’re planning is to revisit topics a second time in a subsequent workshop, since people often only start to exchange views when they’ve experienced something themselves,” continues Lohse.
The businesspeople have some fascinating topics to look forward to, all with a bearing on the future. The idea was first mooted in June and a number of companies in the Göppingen area are now being invited to the next events.