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The creative industries in Eindhoven, Ghent, Brussels, Aarhus and Barcelona are building a European, technology-supported experimental ecosystem for creative talents, professionals and stakeholders. During the annual Smart City Expo, last week in Barcelona, the five European cities launched the Creative Ring.

Launch of Creative Ring in Barcelona
Launch of Creative Ring in Barcelona

“The Creative Ring is a new initiative targeted to developing vibrant creative eco-systems in order to generate societal and economical impact”, says Ingrid Willems, project coordinator of CreatiFI, and co-founder of the Creative Ring. “The Creative Ring will build eco-system intelligence and accelerate the development and uptake of innovative solutions created by cross-overs with Cultural and Creative Industries.”

For Eindhoven, Guus Sluijter (DITSS) was present at the launch in Barcelona. In his speech he stressed the importance of building smart societies instead of just smart cities. The Eindhoven Hub of the Creative Ring is currently being shaped by

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Ingrid Willems spoke about “a new generation of entrepreneurs and creative individuals” that is emerging in European cities. “Gathered in a diverse set of urban “tribes”, wikipedians, digital artists, local media producers, arduinos and designers are creating new jobs and opportunities.”

The Creative Ring is organised as a network of networks, at the intersection of the local and European level. By igniting relations between local creative actors, open creative ecosystems are encouraged to emerge, which then again are assembled within a European network of creative ecosystems.

The Creative Ring has four main ambitions:

  • Boost the competitiveness and the digital transformation of the Creative Industries in Europe;
  • Leverage urban innovation as a transformation engine towards a more inclusive and smarter society;
  • Generate a mentality shift encouraging (social) entrepreneurship and transmit the start-up mentality into society;
  • Establish a constant dialogue with politically, economically and socially relevant institutions across Europe.

Willems: “Increasingly, our cities offer an innovation platform to enable new forms of co-creating, making, learning and trading that take advantage of new technologies while still recognising the value of expertise and craft skills. At the same time, cities are facing problems of funding, and urban creative communities are isolated from their counterparts in other cities. As a consequence, the immense potential of the European Creative Industries, in size as well as in diversity, is currently not fulfilled.
The Creative Ring facilitates those engagements, by enabling a European-wide, technology-supported experimental eco-system for creative talents, professionals and stakeholders working in and with the Creative Industries.”

At present, five cities signed the Letter of Intent to move this ambitious initiative to the next level. Two more cities, Helsinki and Rovereto, are connected as well. The Creative Ring already built its first results in bringing together web entrepreneurs and creative professionals for creating smart-city apps targeting the Creative and Cultural Industries. From 795 participants, 18 winners presented their project at Smart City Expo.

For 2017 another challenge is being prepared, targeting innovative Wearables projects.

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