Kevin Stolarick, Research Director at the Martin Prosperity Institute helped me understand the power of networking when it comes to the creative class. In one of our project meetings he indicated that three networks were required in order to successfully connect creatives and help cultivate a creative economy. Digital networks, social networks and business networks.
In my work, I was finding it difficult to communicate the Creative Rural Economy concept to the community in an easy to understand, tangible way. Our department decided that the best way to do this was to bring our creatives together in a business and social networking environment, in a creative space and have them tell their stories.
Peter Kagayema, of Creative Cities Productions had introduced me to the concept of Pecha Kucha at a Detroit Creative Economy conference half a year earlier and this laid the basis for our meeting format. We decided that we would have 4 presentations or case studies of our Creative Economy businesses and entrepreneurs under the banner of Creative Minds. They would have 5 minutes to share their story and then we would honour 4 more notable examples of creative occupations, creative class and creative industries, they would also spend 5 minutes telling their story about who they are and what they do.
The second half of the meeting would be free style open networking. The great thing about the networking is everybody in that meeting now had at least 8 people to talk to because of the 5 minute story telling. Plus there is usually such a positive buzz because of the good news stories, people are excited to talk and many people already know each other. The first meeting which took place in a former brewery turned indie music recording studio was a smash, standing room only affair and people loved it, they understood and the connected with each other.
I think the most important things for me was that the 5 minute story telling started to help people understand what creative economy was and that the open networking actually started to cultivate business within the community and between the creatives that attended the meeting. One of the most flattering success bench marks is that our neighbouring community is imitating us and starting to do the same and we are honoured that they have done so.