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Creative Industries connecting the creative dots

Posted by Chad O'Connor  March 11, 2013 11:00 AM

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[This article is part of the We are the Creative Industries series: The Creative Industries - video game companies, design, marketing and architecture firms, and the talented people who write books, design houses, shoot movies, make art and record music, just to name a few examples - are an important part of the Massachusetts economy, with a $1 billion statewide impact and over 100,000 Massachusetts workers. Click here to learn more.]

A digital game designer in Cambridge is getting ready to launch a new addictive smartphone game, a furniture designer in Northampton is making showpieces for an upcoming convention, an artist in Haverhill is creating new product lines from his ancient art form, and an author is ready to start on his latest fantasy novel in Boylston.

While none of these people know each other and their personal and works paths likely never will cross, they do have one thing in common. They are all part of a sector I love to be a part of, the Massachusetts creative industries – a growing sector full of energy, creativity and ideas.

The creative industries sector includes more than 100,000 people pushing the limits of creativity in the marketplace, including our innovative video game companies, design, marketing and architecture firms, and also the people who write books, design houses, shoot movies, make art and record music.

Our variety of creative people is one of our strong suits in Massachusetts, but in the creative industries we need to find ways to get participants together to look at common issues and find best practices and solutions that will help everyone. We need to become the greater whole that is more than the sum of its parts. Today we become the creative industries.

In the Berkshires I ran the Berkshire Creative Economy Council, where I took for granted the integrated nature of our creative industries effort. Designers mixed with manufactures, mixed with artist, mixed with film makers, mixed with architects; all working towards business development under the banner of the creative industries. When I came to Boston, it was a different story.

Boston has enough density to have separate and specialized groups to support all facets of the creative industries and cater to their unique needs. But, I realized that all the great work I learned about was also happening in silos. Video games, film, artists, marketing professional, architects, and designers rarely had the chance to interact to share ideas or generate new opportunities. The creative industries were isolated from each other, and were even more isolated from other industries. It's not that there is lack of activity or opportunity; it's a lack of visibility and interconnectivity.

In my position as the Creative Economy Director for the Commonwealth, the first thing I did was set up meetings with all the organizations working to support and grow the creative industries. At the time I couldn't have imagined the number of award ceremonies, meet-ups, trainings, special interest groups, job boards, co-working spaces, and initiatives to support the various businesses and organizations within the creative industries in the Greater Boston area. I was truly blown away by the quality and the quantity of activities.

After this initial listening tour I immediately put a cheat sheet together - knowing if I didn't realize all that was going on to support the creative industries, maybe others weren't aware either. If you have ever met me in person, you know I hand these out like candy: Check it out here.

This week, Global Business Hub is publishing the first stories of the We are the Creative Industries series, and this is the first post. I hope these stories will shed light on the interconnectivity, value, quality, and opportunity that exists within the creative industries, and inspires those working in other industries to consider the creative industries in the course of their work.

If you work in the creative industries, I would love to hear where the new opportunities and trends are. How design might enhance the work you do. How interactive media changes your start up. I invite you to consider your part in this effort and how we might become a more integrated creative economy that works across silos.

Helena Fruscio is Creative Economy Director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

[We are thankful for Global Business Hub’s support of the Creative Industries. Please note: This article does not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development or its Creative Economy Industry Director for the Commonwealth, nor is it an endorsement of any views, products, or opinions contained therein. The author is solely responsible for the content.]

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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