by Michael Risch
Since 2010, the ministry of finance and economics in the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg organizes a yearly conference, the ‘Landeskonferenz für Kreativwirtschaft’ for such a heterogeneous audiences as representatives from music, literature and art market, film and broadcasting industry, performing arts, architecture and design, press, advertising industry as well as software and games industry.
This year, the keynotes focused on spaces for creativity – and creativity in spaces.
The mayor of Ulm opened the conference with a reflection of creativity in public spaces. In terms of creative industries he stressed unsurprisingly the history of the HfG – Hochschule für Gestaltung that shaped a whole generation of designers between 1953 and 1968. Designers that later created design milestones such as the Apple logo.
Johannes Milla, CEO and Creative Director of Milla & Partner in Stuttgart started his presentation with some brief reflections on the availability of garages – the “incubators” of HP, Microsoft or Apple – in Stuttgart today. Using a photo documentation he showed that the “work atmosphere” of a garage is becoming more and more important nowadays – also for his own business. Exploring his motto that “a room cannot not communicate”, he described that his clients feel more comfortable, i.e. productive in meetings when they can “work, test and challenge ideas”
Productivity was also the argument brought forward by Daniel Markwig, of SAP’s AppHouse located in a former tobacco factory in Heidelberg. In a brief introductory video he presented both the layout of the location as well as its guiding principles. “Environment affects culture” and “it’s about experience – we can’t tell“ Andreas Hauser his colleague at SAP stated. Daniel Markwig reported from his experience in real-life projects that the free and open space they created had two major effects on workshop participants: inspiration and permission. Inspiration from artifacts of an industrial culture: e.g. wooden floors, brick and mortar walls, loft character, roof-deck, etc. – Permission as a result of a certain “crudity”: Rooms not perfectly furnished, tables that can be moved if the situation requires, walls that seem to invite you to write on them … an encouraging environment to work together.
All examples provided during the event point to a clear conclusion: Many of the key themes that define the future of organizations and leadership depend on cross-disciplinary and cross-company cooperation, constant innovation and the balancing of multiple forces. Spaces for creativity that respond to the demands of today’s dynamic, volatile, complex business environment with actionable, pragmatic and lasting strengths are key in all all sectores, not only in the creative industries – a key aspect of our work at Age of Artists.