As a region, South Tyrol is focusing on the Creative Industries because it foresees seeing a benefit from highly skilled people as well as from a transfer of knowledge into the more traditional sectors, as they work together with creative SMEs. In order to incrementally increase job opportunities and boost competitiveness, the ERDF has earmarked the Creative Industries as a sector for growth.

During the last two years IDM Creative Industries was able to exchange information and practices with the RCIA project partners. Thanks to staff exchanges, project meetings and policy roundtables, the knowledge and strengths of the different regions contributed to many changes and to identify the actions necessary for the territory to develop the theme of innovation and creative industries.

During this process we worked with several stakeholders in the area (Eurac research, Free University of Bolzano Bozen) to report on the current situation of the creative industries in the South Tyrol region. IDM Creative Industries defined the following eleven sectors for Creative Industries in South Tyrol, in a lively exchange with our partners from Austria: Architecture, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Design, Advertising, Music, Film, Radio and TV, Software and Videogames, Craftsmanship, Publishing. Different Roundtables with representatives from all eleven sectors of the Creative Industries where organized, in order to get a general overview. Just like the partners had done, IDM invited not only company representatives to the CI roundtables, but also policy partners who might be important for implementing the measures identified during the qualitative analysis. As a result, IDM integrated companies and relevant CI players from the very beginning of the process, in the hopes of stimulating a bottom-up approach.

One key moment was the Policy Roundtable of RCIA in December 2018. The experts from Austria, Wallonia and Denmark advised IDM to start from the challenges of the region where one was: the low investment of companies in R&D activities and the intermediate stage between a traditional economy and a more innovative and competitive one. Creative Industries can be a transformative power in order to boost economy and society and innovation processes. Thanks to these important discussions, IDM Creative Industries decided to explore and develop the power of CCI as innovation driver in South Tyrol and developed one of its most important projects – MATCH! that became one of the action for our Local Action Plan. The aim of this program is to increase innovation processes and create new ideas, products and services through collaboration between the creative sector and other areas of the economy. This means introducing the themes of cross-innovation and matchmaking into South Tyrol, and then further developing them.

This semester with the insights gathered so far and after various skype exchanges with our lead-partner in Austria, and some important changes we finalised our Local Action Plan. In total, our Action Plan includes now two different Actions. The first Action is “Supporting the transformative power of Creative Industries on economy and society through a program called MATCH!” This project means to tackle cross – innovation and is designed to improve competitiveness, strengthen R&D, boost innovative activities and prevent Brain Drain. IDM started from the challenges that South Tyrol faces today, taking into consideration that the Creative Industries hold transformative power and can play a key role as economic innovator. It was from this idea that MATCH! was born, a project that brings students and local companies together. IDM considered it important to involve the Free University of Bolzano (Unibz) with its Faculty of Design and Arts in the process, as it is a key player for training local talent in the creative sector – especially in design. The first two editions of the programme have already taken place, the next edition (MATCH! #3) will take place in the winter semester 2020/21 together with the University of Bolzano – Faculty of Design and Arts.

The second Action “Implement and positively influence Innovation Centers and Creative Hubs in order to boost competitiveness of local SMEs within the Creative Industries sector” is about the support of our regional creative hubs. In South Tyrol two Innovation Centers and Creative Hubs are under construction right now: BASIS Business and Service Incubator Silandro and MIND Meran.o Innovation District, helped by the EFRE funds 2014-2020. IDM followed their intention and collaborated to create a common network called STARTBASE. IDM also supported the construction and implementation of the Creative Hubs with further inputs and good practices from the RCIA project and will monitor the development of further activities and measurements.