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[email protected] Project Creative Digital Network Cork Summary of Local Implementation Plan December 2013

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Creative Digital Network Cork - Summary of Local Implementation Plan


  • [email protected] Project

    Creative Digital Network CorkSummary of Local Implementation Plan December 2013

  • 2 [email protected] Project Creative Digital Network Cork

    CIT Crawford College of Art and Design has provided education in visual arts practices for over two hundred years. More recent years have seen the introduction of new technologies, the growth of digital media and the embracing of the digital world by artists, designers and creators. The [email protected] project offers the opportunity to take a focused look as to how this sector can progress into the future.

    CIT is anxious to see that an inclusive and collaborative approach is taken, incorporating the views of all stakeholders, agencies and interested parties. There are already existing relevant networking bodies which deal with aspects of the sector such as [email protected] and the Cork Screen Partnership; what is now required is a comprehensive approach to building an effective cluster which encompasses all the various strands. Ultimately, any plan to bring the sector forward should be enterprise-led, and we are pleased to be in a position under the [email protected] project to provide facilitation for the process over the next twelve months.

    Orla Flynn

    Head of CIT Crawford College of Art & Design

    December 2013


  • Summary of Local Implementation Plan 3

    The [email protected] project1 is co-financed under the Interreg IVC Programme2, which covers all European regions and focuses in particular on improving the effectiveness of regional policies and instruments. Interreg IVC projects build on the exchange of experiences among partners who are ideally involved in the formation and development of their local and regional policies.

    The areas of support within the programme are:

    Priority 1 Innovation and the Knowledge Economy

    Priority 2 Environment and Risk Prevention

    The programme aims to contribute to the economic modernisation and competitiveness of Europe, closely linked to the objectives of the Lisbon and Gothenburg Agendas.

    [email protected], which addresses programme priority 1, commenced in April 2012 and will run for a period of 3 years.

    [email protected] is led by Seville City Council. The partner consortium extends across 10 European Regions and addresses the identification and transfer of best practices focused on the further development of the Creative Digital Industries, within partner regions.

    Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) is leading component 3 of the project which encompasses many of the main deliverables, covering exchanges of best practices and the development of a European Multimedia Observatory.

    In October 2013, all partners in the project completed a Regional SWOT of the creative digital sector in their respective regions-the SWOT analysis and documentation on the background research undertaken for Cork and the South West Region of Ireland is available within the [email protected] Observatory.3

    1. Introduction

    [email protected] Project

    Creative Digital Network CorkSummary of Local Implementation Plan December 2013


  • 4 [email protected] Project Creative Digital Network Cork

    The evolution of the digital and knowledge based economy has significantly altered the nature of multimedia, its production and marketing. Modern technologies and the digital revolution have led to immediate and widespread accessibility to an extensive range of content. This enhanced accessibility has generated extremely high levels of demand for content and marks a fundamental change in the sector. It also carries with it a wide range of both market opportunities and threats for creative enterprises.

    This exponential growth in demand for digital media and its role in multiple other sectors ranging from entertainment to medical applications, has led to a considerable blurring of what the digital or multimedia sector exactly encompasses. The terms Creative Industries or Digital Content Industries are widely used and interchanged to denote a sector of wide economic impact covering a large number of combined new and traditional skillsets within converging sectors. Within a fast expanding global digital marketplace, these trends also present significant new opportunities for growth and employment in small and micro enterprises.

    In 2006, the Forfs Expert Group on Future Skill Needs in Ireland, published a report titled International Digital Media Industry Implications for Ireland4 which noted that the burgeoning of the Digital Media phenomenon over the previous decade had transformed Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the Entertainment and Media (E&M) sectors. It had driven the convergence of these sectors, resulting in the creation of new products and services (such as mobile music and interactive television), which are delivered over new distribution channels.

    The 2006 report predicted that the Digital Media industry offered exceptional potential for contributing to enterprise development and creating high value employment. It commented on the opportunities to attract high value foreign direct investment (FDI) in Digital Media and to further develop Irelands enterprises capabilities within these sectors.

    It is very clear that the predictions for the sector were absolutely accurate and Ireland has benefited very significantly from FDI investment in the overall sector. Similarly, the global appetite for digital content in 2013 continues to grow at ever increasing rates.

    A more recent 2010 European Commission Green Paper titled Unlocking the Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries5 noted that by 2015 there would be 25 billion wirelessly connected devices globally and that over the next decade ICT can contribute to a paradigm shift in society and in productions systems.

    The most recent policy initiative by the European Commission has been the 2013 Green Paper titled Preparing for a Fully Converged Audio-Visual World: Growth, Creation and Values6.

    The Green Paper refers to the convergence of technologies fuelling the growth in digital media content demand and stressing the need for private economic actors to further innovate and for policy makers to ensure that the right framework conditions are in place to sustain and service this fast growing market.

    In summary, the creative digital industry sector is one of phenomenal global growth with excellent prospects for the future including significant opportunities for local micro enterprises and SMEs to gain significant market share. The growth potential in terms of this value in output and job creation within the South West Region of Ireland and the Greater Cork Area will be maximised if there are clear strategies in place for the region to achieve its potential, within the fast expanding digital global marketplace.

    2. Creative Digital - contextualising this rapidly growing sector


  • Summary of Local Implementation Plan 5

    A detailed examination of the local industry sector in the South West Region of Ireland has been undertaken by CIT. This involved an in-depth engagement with Industry representatives over a nine month period culminating with a workshop facilitated by CIT on the 11th October, 2013. Desk research coupled with experiences gained in the [email protected] partner regions has now been completed with the production of a comprehensive SWOT analysis. The full extent and contextualisation of the SWOT research is described and available within the [email protected] observatory.

    The summary conclusions of the SWOT analysis were presented as follows:

    3. Regional SWOT analysis





    Strong entrepreneurial and enterprise development supports

    Talented labour force and good employment levels in the sector

    Cork enterprises generally good at networking perhaps too much online

    Strong educational and training Infrastructures

    Good broadband connectivity in selected areas

    Cork enjoys good national and international connectivity Rail, Air and Road network

    Strengthen clustering and networking

    Heighten sectoral visibility with potential for Cork to be a National Centre of Excellence - Irelands Creative City

    Develop a co-located facility for multimedia enterprises

    Provide specialised educational and training courses in consultation with industry

    Low levels of entrepreneurial skills

    Poor visibility of the sector

    Low networking levels and lack of trust

    Education and training deficits

    Local workforce graduate experience levels

    Poor broadband in many areas

    While many creative industries are located in Cork, the area is not necessarily identified as a Creative City

    Lack of dedicated Incubation facilities for multimedia enterprises

    Foreign outsourcing of work

    Loss of talent to Dublin and other creative hubs

    Competition from outside of Cork

    Broadband services in the Greater Cork Area

    Banking finance for enterprises

  • 6 [email protected] Project Creative Digital Network Cork

    The first significant opportunity for the sector is to strengthen networking and clustering.

    While there are some online multimedia networks operating in Cork, particular on a graduate or alumni basis, they do not support any significant movement towards strong clustering type activities in the sector, which are widely recognised as the foundation stone of preparing the sector to compete internationally.

    A first step in the cluster building process will be to strengthen the concept of a local creative digital cluster.

    In this early clustering activity, actions will be supported by CIT, with [email protected] project support, to develop recognition and acceptance by local enterprises that:

    all participants are in the same field of commercial activity;

    the cluster is the sum of all its parts;

    the stronger the cluster the stronger its component parts;

    enterprises can collaborate within a competitive environment;

    competitive advantage can be secured through working with competitors;

    the cluster can secure gains which individual enterprises could never hope to address;

    5. Opportunity 1 - Strengthen Networking & Clustering

    The SWOT analysis of the local sector has shown that while it possesses considerable strengths, it also has some weaknesses and both of these factors suggest a range of opportunities which can be immediately pursued to position local enterprises to be stronger actors in the local, national, European and global digital media marketplace. In line with similar findings in our partner regions, Cork needs to develop a more strategic approach to promoting the growth of the digital media sector.

    European policy formation recognises that the industry needs the supports of regional authorities and educational and research providers to build effective triple helix based clusters, which will provide strategic supports and on which the future growth of this important sector can be anchored and promoted.

    The [email protected] project has provided policy actors, in Cork with a valuable opportunity to reflect on where the industry currently is, where it hopes to go, and how it is going to chart that route. Digital Enterprises have been closely involved in analysing the present state of their industry and in identifying strategic opportunities and actions to better position the local sector in a fast expanding and more competitive global market place.

    Through recognising and acting on these opportunities many of the threats identified as facing local enterprises can be removed or at least significantly mitigated.

    The strategic opportunities for the sector have been identified as follows:

    Strengthen networking and clustering;

    Heighten sectoral visibility with potential for Cork to be a National Centre of Excellence - Irelands Creative City;

    Develop a co-located facility for multimedia enterprises;

    Provide specialised educational and training courses in consultation with industry.

    All of the foregoing opportunities are well within the capacity of local enterprises to address, with inputs from developmental and educational bodies, without the need for any significant financial investment.

    4. SWOT Findings

  • Summary of Local Implementation Plan 7

    ACTIONS Set 1The first action under this plan is to facilitate more networking events for the sector, providing opportunities for enterprises and other relevant actors to meet and to begin a communication process on how local digital enterprises can advance towards being more cluster-like.

    Short Term: January - December 2014

    Facilitate a workshop/seminar in Cork during February 2014 to strengthen networking and to plan a series of future industry-led events. Investigate the incorporation of the Network Organisation as a legal entity to enable it to pursue additional funding opportunities.

    Mid Term: 2015

    Continue industry-led clustering and networking activities.

    Long Term: June 2015 - June 2017

    Cluster Organisation targets the employment of a Cluster Manager and establishes an office in Cork.

    the cluster can attract talent to the region when individual enterprises may not succeed;

    the cluster can negotiate public goods such as educational and training;

    it can increase the professionalism of its constituent enterprises;

    It can build sectoral marketing and increase sub supply opportunities;

    It facilitates business development opportunities and increased earning.

    The workshop facilitated by the [email protected] project on the 11th October, 2013 could be recognised as an initial step towards early clustering positioning - as virtually all of the industry participants recognised that there was a need to take some collaborative actions and migrate from a position where there were very few meaningful exchanges of information and business intelligence between the many local players.

    CIT, with the support of the [email protected] project, will over the coming months facilitate different networking events for the sector, with a clear view to industry representatives driving this agenda from the start and in due course working independently. In October 2013, CIT established the Creative Digital Network Cork as a LinkedIn Community. Preliminary branding for the Community has been commissioned and it is planned to dovetail this brand with the work and identity of the network.

    An important aspect of CIT support will include expert advice and assistance in building the cluster and in seeking additional supporting funding with a view to the eventual establishment of an independent cluster organisation which would have a legal existence and which would oversee and support all of the operations of the cluster and its members in the region.

  • 8 [email protected] Project Creative Digital Network Cork

    ACTIONS Set 2The second set of actions under this plan is to quickly move to heighten the visibility of the sector in the local region. This can be done through branding, industry engagements and canvassing business opportunities.

    Short Term: March - August 2014

    Further develop the branding for Creative Digital Industries (Creative Digital Network Cork, CDNC).

    Position Cork in branding as a National Centre of Excellence - Irelands Creative City.

    Develop marketing materials.

    Develop a sector website.

    Invite potential large clients in public and private sectors to the networking events.

    Mid Term: 2014 - 2015

    Plan a Creative Digital Enterprises Cork Showcase.

    Cork is a very dynamic and commercial metropolitan area with a significant level of demand for various digital media inputs - be that in advertising, publishing, web development or other areas of multimedia demand such as in film and TV, and software development.

    There is a defined absence of sectoral visibility relating to local digital enterprises. Frequently local enterprises are not even considered for work, as they lack any visibility to larger commissioning companies. This is a situation which needs to be urgently reversed.

    Similarly, many small enterprises within the regional digital community have no means of identifying upcoming business opportunities, in terms of valuable local commissions. Much of these are structural failures due to the absence of a recognised and coherent creative digital sector in the region.

    There is therefore a significant need to:

    build greater connectivity and knowledge sharing between the small digital industries in the sector and the multinational/large industry/public sector organisations in the region;

    ensure higher interactivity between large and small industries and the educational sector;

    undertake joint marketing by the Creative Digital Network Cork;

    Achieve a position whereby, within the parameters of quality and price, digital commissions should only go outside of the local region as a last resort.

    6. Opportunity 2 - Heightening Sectoral Visibility

  • Summary of Local Implementation Plan 9

    ACTIONS Set 3Short Term: January - March 2014

    Initiate a dialogue with Cork City Council on the need to develop a creative industry workplace in Cork City similar to the San Sebastian model, with supporting incubation type facilities.

    Mid Term: June - December 2014

    In consultation with property owners, industry players and local and regional development agencies develop the concept and specification for the facility.

    Long Term: 2015 - 2017

    Realise the Creative Digital Network Cork Workspace.

    A shared workplace is seen by many as a critical ingredient in terms of strengthening networking and collaboration between enterprises and in also heightening the overall visibility of creative digital industries in the Cork region. This facility would be ideally located in or close to the city centre and would have a range of units for rental, together with training rooms and a possibility of complementing studios or other specialised facilities.

    A [email protected] partner in San Sebastian, Spain has successfully developed such a facility which is now the focal point for the industry in their region. Similar initiatives are now being taken or pursued in Galway and in several locations around Northern Ireland.

    If such a facility was to be developed, CIT will examine the provision of business support and training services to enable the centre to act as a business incubator for the sector.

    The approach would be for the workspace to be provided ultimately on a fully commercial basis by either the private sector or by a public/private partnership.

    7. Opportunity 3 - Develop a co-located facility for multimedia enterprises

  • 10 [email protected] Project Creative Digital Network Cork

    ACTIONS Set 4Short Term: January - September 2014

    CIT will internally review the composition of its multimedia courses with a view to developing more placement opportunities for students, perhaps with the assistance of some of the European educational exchange and placement programmes.

    Mid Term: August - December 2014

    CIT will commence an engagement with the local industry on the future composition of multimedia courses, including an enhancement of the business training given to students.

    CIT, in conjunction with UCC, Coliste Stiofin Naofa, and St. Johns Central College, will commence a consideration of how local pathways from further to higher education can be improved, particularly with a view to developing more opportunities in different areas of film and digital media production.

    Long Term: 2015 - 2017

    Realisation of a closer relationship and set of interactions between providers of training and education and the Creative Digital Industry Sector in the local region.

    The local SWOT analysis provided a detailed overview of education and training in the region, with CIT and UCC both providing relevant higher education programmes. The further education sector is represented by programmes in St. Johns Central College and Coliste Stiofin Naofa.

    The SWOT exercise, while highlighting the quality of education provided, also identified some weaknesses, particularly in the area of the preparedness of graduates for work or in establishing their own businesses.

    There was a general view that new graduates did not have sufficient hands-on practical experience, which an employer would require. Graduates were also described as being too linear in their skillsets, whereas employers, particularly in SMEs and micro enterprises, expected employees to have multiple skillsets.

    On graduates establishing their own business ventures, there was a strong view expressed that many did not have sufficient business, accounting, marketing or communication skills to successfully set up and run a small business.

    In general, the opportunities to overcome these weaknesses were suggested as

    (a) an increase in internships or work placements for students during their time at College;

    (b) more involvement of industry representatives in the design and delivery of courses;

    (c) an enhanced business syllabus to be delivered to all multimedia students;

    (d) clearer pathways for students from certificate and degree levels to post graduate studies and qualifications.

    8. Opportunity 4 - Provide specialised educational and training courses in consultation with industry

  • This summary of the [email protected] Project SWOT analysis and implementation plan is now being issued to all stakeholders in the local region for observations, comments and additional inputs.

    The consultation period on the document will end on the 7th February 2014 and will be followed shortly thereafter with a meeting of all stakeholders to discuss and agree a final strategy.

    These activities will we hope coincide with the initiatives under Action set 1 above on building and strengthening the network.

    Cork Institute of Technology looks forward to working closely with the sector in the realisation of actions to enhance all creative digital in the region.

    9. Next steps

    CIT Bishopstown Campus

    Submissions on this draft should be submitted in writing by email to [email protected] no later than 5pm, 7th February 2014.