I just returned from Dublin, doing a wonderful Inspiration boot camp with Mary Carty as my guide, exploring why Dublin is one of the hottest European scenes for start-ups right now.
I wanted to see what lessons I can take from this start-up scene back into my own work in nurturing cross-industry creativity.
The NDRCs estimate of 250 billion euro available for start-up investments in Ireland (whereof 50% are goverment match funds) is certainly an inspiration for all industries, not least the Swedish film industry, reportedly short of 100 mill SEK, according to a report being presented next week (Article in Swedish).
An inquisitive culture
On the more informal side, one thing that struck me was the very denominational attitude towards people’s background when creating networking opportunities and teams.
Dublin creatives might be envious at Scandinavias great cultural support schemes but I’m certain that being supported from the business side creates another kind of dynamics that strengthens development and innovation across borders. The question then is, how can we get the best from both worlds?
One thing we can do is to deconstruct old identities built on industries and media products and stop only meeting as “game developers”, “ad execs” or “filmmakers”. As MITs Janet Murray says in Inventing the medium, on my reading list for this summer: All media are now digital media.
Lots of great things are happening in the Malmö/Copenhagen region of Öresund, not least this month with the opening of Media Evolution City, the meeting place for digital producers in Malmö. But I think this is a challenge of psychology as well as of architecture. You need to understand the value of a certain amount of teeth grinding in your own team – as well as meeting interesting people. And this can be hard to get in a consensus culture as the Scandinavian – and especially the Swedish.
Dangers of the “best practice” approach
Last week I listened to a Swedish entrepreneur in Malmö talk about his secret to success, highlighting the importance of a pluralistic approach to teambuilding, while “wacky” images of his employees: almost all white men between 25-35 flashed by on the big screen behind him. The real lessons to be learned from his talk was not in his ideals, but rather in his admittance of multiple failures due to both rapid market change and personal shortcomings.
This is why I was so delighted to read that MINC is doing FailCon October 3rd (Article in Swedish). This is a great example of an entrepreneurial mindset that the creative sector can learn from. Let’s hope that “employing only likeminded people” will be one of the lessons learned from it.
Hope to see you at MINC on October 3rd. And let’s do more conferences and meeting places based on credos, methods or challenges, instead of old labels of identity.
PS: During my Dublin stay, I also learned not to say UK but England, as UK refers to “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. Nice to know if you’re visiting, though they are very overbearing with STRANGER’s gaffes