In the UK, creative industries generated £101.5bn in 2017, equivalent to approximately £11.5m every hour. That is more than automotive, spacecraft and pharmaceutical sectors together and almost as much as financial services sector! But creative sector generates not only wealth but also, and perhaps most importantly, well-being, positive behaviour patterns and personal development opportunities. Creative class, as defined by Richard Florida, is a new driver of regional growth. 

Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning, founder of Creative Business Cup, has reminded us of those transforming powers of cultural and creative industries (CCI) in his opening speech of the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform event that took place in Riga on 4th June. We were also welcomed by Uldis Zariņš from the Latvian Ministry of Culture who outlined Creative Industries Policy in Latvia and its special focus on design. Mr Zariņš mentioned how PDR's research and engagement by Dr Anna Whicher has helped to shape 'Design of Latvia 2020' Strategy. Our project now helps to put those strategic aims and ambitions into practice.

The event was a great opportunity to share progress and lesson learnt between projects focusing on creative sectors. We had a chance to hear from RCIA and CRE:HUB about their approach to interregional knowledge exchange and what they have achieved so far. 

In the first discussion session, we looked at challenges faced by cultural and creative industries such as working across whole ecosystem, increasing competitiveness of CCI businesses and fostering cross-sectoral fertilisation. The second interactive group work was dedicated to sharing good examples of support instruments for CCI, such as funding mechanisms, advisory services and co-creation spaces.

The study visit at the Creative Industries Incubator, managed by our project partner LIAA - Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, was very inspirational and provided us with lots of ideas on how to support growth of creative ideas through incubation and pre-incubation services.

I also had a chance to give update on Design for Innovation activities and how our project has already managed to achieve policy change thanks to our dedicated partners and the good practices that we share.

The day was extremely insightful and packed with learning. We would like to thank the Policy Learning Platform, the Secretariat and all the projects involved for putting this event together. 
Let's further cooperate to strengthen our regions by fostering creativity!