Ten rules for success in the creative industries

About a year ago I was at a discussion in Ofcom in Belfast where we were talking about Creative Industries and Digital Media.  One session was led by Professor Paul Moore from University of Ulster Magee.   He passed round a few pages from the book The Creative Economy by John Howkins.

In the chapter Managing Creativity the author sets out Ten Rules for Success.  Recently I found the pages at the bottom of a pile of papers as I was clearing up my desk and though that with due reference to the book I’d post a shortened version of the rules:

1 – Invent Yourself Create a unique cluster of personal talents. Own you image. Manage it. Build momentum. Dance as if no o ne is looking. Be clear about your assets and talents.

2 – Put the priority on ideas, not on data Create and grow your own creative imagination. Build a personal balance sheet of intellectual capital. Unerstand patents, copyright, trademarks and other intellectual property … Entrepreneurs in the creative economy are more worried if they lise their ability to think than if their company loses money.

3 – Be nomadic Nomads are at home in every country. You can choose your own path and means of travel, and choose how long you stay … most nomads travel in groups , especially at night.  Charles Handy says leaders must “combine a love of people” and a “capacity for aloofness” … creatives need both solitude and the crows, thinking alone and working together.

4  Define yourself by your own (thinking) activities, not by the (job) title somebody else has given you.  If you are working for company X on project Y, say you are working on project Y for company X.  People who are brave call themselves ‘thinkers’. Computer companies concoct and sell ‘business solutions’ to their clients solutions; in the creative economy, we can think and exchange creative solutions with each other.

5 – Learn endlessly.  Borrow. Innovative … Creative artists scavenge for new ideas … Use networks, if you can’t find the right one, start it.  Take risks and do unnecessary things.

6 – Exploit fame and celebrity.  The production costs are small and relatively fixed.  fame is what economists call a ‘sumk cost’, which cannot be recovered but which can be freely exploited at no further expense, and both fame and celebrity bring virtually unlimited rewards in terms of the ability to charge more for one’s services and to revitalize a life or career that is momentarily stuck.  Being well known …. is as important in the creative economy of the twenty-first century as good typing speeds were in the clerical economy of the twentieth.  The essence of being a star, as shrewdly revealed by David Bowie is ‘the ability to make yourself as fascinating to others as you are to yourself’ This is … about being famous … for being creative …

7 – Treat the virtual as real and vice-versa.  Cyberspace id merely another dimension to everyday life … Bandwidth is useless without a message, without communication.  At all times use RIDER; review, incubation, dreams, excitement and reality checks.

8 – Be kind.  Kindness is a mark of success.  Data never say ‘please’ Humans can and should say ‘please’, and mean it.

9 – Admire success openly. Equalluy don’t be fixated on success; be curious about failure … You will never win if you cannot lose.

10 – Be very ambitious. Boldly go.

11 – Have Fun.

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