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Applying Project Management to the Cultural and Creative Industries:  A tool for developing Countries
 

Applying Project Management to the Cultural and Creative Industries: A tool for developing Countries

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Breaking the cycle of underdevelopment has been the major preoccupation for governments and populations in the developing world over the last one hundred years. With developmental models currently ...

Breaking the cycle of underdevelopment has been the major preoccupation for governments and populations in the developing world over the last one hundred years. With developmental models currently under revision, developing countries have been advised to look for other possible alternatives of sustainable development.

The one area that is gaining significant attention is that of the Cultural and Creative Industries. In recent years, the UN and its specialized agencies have been spelling the good fortune of these industries. However, there is very scant literature to show how best to manage these industries. This paper therefore proposes to show how Project Management as a tool can be used to take these industries to a desirable level to produce tangible results for developing countries.

In addition to standard research based on the existing literature and debates, the Case Study methodology will be used to show at least how one country is making steps and strides with the application of Project Management. It must be noted however, that the paper will be heavily focused on project management methodologies and recommendations for action.

There are three approaches that come to mind for immediate application: the use of the Logical Framework Approach for Project and Program Planning; standardizing project management methodologies across the infrastructure of the cultural and creative industries; and a model for creating a centralized Cultural Project Management Office (CPMO).

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  • The genesis of this paper/presentation is rooted in two separate but very special encounters I had over the past few weeks. In the first instance I was sitting at the same table of my former secondary schoolmates, the founding members of the band Square One, as we paid tribute to our former games master, Mr. Mac Fingall. It was during this bittersweet night of reminiscing that I actually remembered how the band got started; for it was during the school concerts put together by Mac Fingall that we saw the humble origins of this now most popular Caribbean Band. <br /> The second encounter took place in a TV studio in Trinidad as I was waiting to be interviewed for the promotion of the Third Caribbean and Latin American Conference in Project Management, which comes off this May at the Trinidad Hilton. In the waiting bay, I had the honor of meeting and chatting with the son of the late Ras Shorty-I, Sheldon, who is following the footsteps of his father almost in tandem. The long and short of our conversation was about why we were both at TV6 that morning and it turned out that, his was to be an interview on the cultural industries in Trinidad and the current activism surrounding that, and mine, like I said was to promote our company’s upcoming conference. But then I noticed that Sheldon eyes started to glow as I spoke about project management and what it entails. <br /> At this point, the epiphany occurred and I recognized in an instant that many of our artists require support of this type and that project management is the bridge of the great divide. I do not wish to suggest here that project management is the wherewithal to answer all the major challenges facing the development of our cultural industries here in Barbados, but I more than intimate that from a very practical and action-oriented standpoint, there is no better way to start. This presentation therefore will not be heavily theoretical but seeks to mend that proverbial fence between the theory and the policy and offer some sound recommendations for action. <br /> I am quite sure that there are more knowledgeable individuals here on the cultural and creative industries than myself, but as a practitioner of the theater arts for the better part of my life, I believe that the strong gut one develops for the stage can never put us wrong. As such, I am absolutely sure the recommendations put forward today will not fall on deaf ears and the current winds of change in our country will bring with them not only a breath of fresh air, but will also leave in their path a platform that is amenable to ideas, positive action and change. <br /> Ladies and Gentlemen it has been more than ten years since the UNESCO and other UN agencies have begun preaching to us, especially here in the developing world, on the importance of the cultural and creative industries as a viable option in our quest for socio-economic and cultural development. Without becoming too technical, I will define the cultural and creative industries simply as “enterprises (artists or businesses) who generate their primary economic value from their cultural and/or creative knowledge.” Still for definitional purposes, these industries normally refer to the following areas of human endeavor: <br />
  • Before moving forward, it is interesting to note that the above definition fits us squarely into the realm of sheer human endeavor, ideas and ultimately the industries are therefore driven by knowledge, intellect and creativity. Hence, it seems logical to me that any solutions to take this subset of industry forward should not deviate too far from the creativity that is so much a part of its very core and raison d’etre. In other words, like in no other field, the cultural and creative industries in Barbados must not shy away from creativity and must not be afraid to take a leading role and demonstrate that behavior fitting of the true pioneer. We must not wait on reports coming out of the UN or models coming from the East or the West, for this is the one area where we can give a model to the rest of the world, as we are currently doing with Edutech and as we have done with our ability to reduce the incidence of smoking to below 10%. (At this point I want to make an aside and recommend that cigarette advertising be banned from all forms of the cultural and creative industries here in Barbados.) <br />
  • From my front row seat in the theatre arts and the network we have with all the other players in the cultural industries, it is easy to gauge what are some of our major challenges facing us here in Barbados. After itemizing these obstacles, I will want to concentrate more on how I think we should go about further developing the infrastructure and finally, what I believe will be the main vehicle to make the framework produce tangible results – a concerted and deliberate use of project management. <br /> Our main challenges from my vantage point as an artist are as follows: <br /> For us to go forward using the cultural and creative industries as a strategy for development, we must first develop a proper framework and put a workable and scalable infrastructure in place. <br /> Any attempt to manage the entire subset of industries as a complete whole is doomed to failure for the simple reason that you are dealing with artists most whom share some inkling of the diva complex. The challenge therefore is in determining the best segmented approach and creating a model that maximizes and or interfaces, centralization and decentralization. In other words, whereas we can have a centralized body responsible for policy, we must decentralize the management of the subsets. <br /> Getting the private sector and the public sector to trust each other and better coordinate their efforts, to my mind, is one of our greatest challenges; and the operative word here remains TRUST. <br /> Much too often, the artist is his or her own manager, and though the artist may not be totally unskilled in management, a lot of the time that can be better spent on the creative process, now has to be diverted to daily routine general management and administrative tasks. <br /> We have been late in Barbados at developing policy or policies for the cultural industries. Though I know that this is now in order, time is of the essence. <br /> Then the way our cultural products are managed would suggest the need for an almost surgical intervention, certainly within the performing arts sector. This is where I think we have a lot to learn from the project management approach as we are well aware that every new product is indeed a project. <br />
  • FINANCING THE INDUSTRIES <br /> I can almost hear ringing through the silence the obvious question: who is going to foot this bill? But before I turn to some possible solutions, it is important to take a reality cheque (CHEQUE), literally. In the first instance, we have to admit that this country is broke, we are in recession and no one is willing to give any artsy fancy group or business thousands of dollars to put into a project that is based on some vague artistic idea. Remember there is no such thing as a free lunch and if we take the aid from the developed West and Japan, then with it we will take their ideas and their consultants. SIMPLE. <br /> To compound this, we must note that the donor countries themselves are busily exploring and exploiting their own cultural and creative industries. And unfortunately, these industries do not escape the cycle of dependency as with our other industries and this has to do with the fact that we are not producing technology. Therefore the high costs we are paying for our technological inputs in the industries will continue to grip us in that vice of dependency. Let us seriously ask ourselves where does all the technology come from to stage a simple show or to produce a CD, or make a painting or print a book of poetry. In other words, we need to make enough money from our cultural products to pay the high prices of the technological inputs, and as we are forced to sell our cultural products cheaper and cheaper, the price of the latest technology gets higher and higher, contributing to our cycle of dependency. <br />
  • SOLUTIONS <br /> So the next question wrestling through the silence will be: what are the solutions Mr. Walcott? <br /> I believe the solutions lie before us and they must be guided by one simple principle: DO NOT REINVENT THE WHEEL. There are five points that must be given some serious thought to if we are to develop these industries. <br /> As I said earlier, we need to put enablers in place that will allow the creative process a space to organically develop. <br /> We must look at more schemes of cooperation between all the sectors. And the ultimate goal here should be to reduce cost and duplication of effort. <br /> It is clear that we cannot afford to build a new cultural infrastructure considering the economic hardships we are facing. Therefore it becomes imperative that we work with what we already have and I’ll speak more to this later in the presentation. <br /> There is abounding evidence that those societies that better manage their time and their information better manage their projects and ultimately are better poised to take the spoils of the dominant capitalist model. We too need to become a lot more serious about time and treat it as a resource and start to build a society that respects information and converts that into knowledge. If we are seriously talking about developing the cultural and creative industries then these are two of the most demanding qualities that must be built into our psyche: the management of time and the management of information. <br /> The other dimension to the solution seems pretty straightforward, from my vantage point, and that is we must work on the variables we are capable of controlling first. We cannot control foreign markets, nor can we control the future events of the world so we should not become too bogged down in those elements. Though I am not advocating a total detachment from these realities or that we even adopt an insensitivity to the external forces, it is important that we channel or collective energies on what we can control internally; and this is where I present a simple model to help build on the existing infrastructure. <br />
  • When we examine the model above, we see that the two main drivers are community development and participation as well as the role our education system as a whole must play in sensitizing our young people to the viable option of careers in the cultural and creative industries. Once this is in place, we can then use the existing small business development infrastructure to support business in these industries in order to generate employment and exports. <br /> However, the model must be guided by political will, leadership and vision out of which the collective pool of technocrats and artists will create strategies and plans to take us forward. This must then be supported at the base by sound policy and/or legislation, partnerships in the private and public sectors and properly managed projects from the national to the communitarian right down to the level of the sole proprietor and artist. <br /> Drawing a model in Visio or PowerPoint is always the easy part, when we attempt to lift if from the paper and get human involvement marks the beginning of our most challenging endeavor. However, it is against the backdrop of my underlying thesis of not reinventing the wheel that I make the following suggestions to further enhance our existing infrastructure. <br />
  • If we are to start to break the dependency cycle mentioned above, it is important that our policies do not overlook the role that technology has to play. Let us look at what has happened to West Indies cricket over the last twenty years. Whereby we relied heavily on talent in the 70s, the Australians have added technology to their game and we are losing. Let us create a model (without reinventing the wheel) that incorporates e-commerce, the Internet and technology at every step of the process. <br /> Let us create multidisciplinary programs at the college level to empower artists and give aspiring ones the hope for the future and a chance at receiving a quality education. There is a definite need for more degree programs in the cultural and creative industries and if we are talking about a self-sufficient and revenue- generating university, where else should we start but in the Arts. It is also time to amend the curricula across the island to extend the existing Arts programs, destigmatize involvement in the Arts in schools and reward students with grades and certification if this is the path they have chosen in life. <br /> I do not believe there is a need to build new facilities. With just over twenty secondary schools, government should lobby the private sector to transform existing school halls into multi-purpose facilities to promote art and culture within the system. Imagine what a state-of-the-art school hall would do for any secondary school in Barbados. Imagine the technical aspects being run by students who are that way inclined, the management left to students studying those subjects and then the artistic expressions coming from the performers, the graphics designers, the web developers and the list goes on. <br /> We also have a lot of open space around Barbados that can be easily modified to allow cultural expression. And this is already happening. <br />
  • If we were to transform our existing festivals into international competitions and add a few more international festivals as tributes to our local icons we would see some immediate benefits. International competition would lead to the following: <br /> Increased exposure for our local artists at a globally competitive level. <br /> Improved standards and quality <br /> Increased tourism <br /> More international visibility for local artists <br /> An enhanced reputation for Barbados as a cultural center <br /> Improved project management skills. <br />
  • However, there are some gaps in the model that must be filled since oft times the bridge between the artist’s demands and responses to such demands, is one built on sandy turf. At this stage in our development, there is a need for a bridge between the grant seeker and the donor; the business artist and the market; support needed and service rendered; and ultimately there is a need for more dialogue and coordination between the private and public sectors. I therefore wish to suggest here that the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) is best poised to act as enabler and intermediary between the demand and the supply. <br /> The role of the NCF therefore should be that of coordination, central planning for the industries, lending and selling project management services to the artists, policy development and locating project financing by acting as a conduit between the funding agencies and the business. <br /> In addition to the NCF’s role as enabler, it’s not difficult to imagine an NCF that is profitable and becoming the region’s leading intellectual think tank in the cultural and creative industries. One can easily an NCF that provides consultancy services, advisories and ultimately have its officers posted abroad at foreign missions with the aim of attracting foreign direct investment into Barbados for the development of these industries. This the role the NCF should aim for in the early 21st century. <br />
  • However, as the model in figure one suggests, for such an undertaking to occur, government’s role must be critical. Here are some recommendations I believe can be built into existing infrastructures: <br /> Tax write offs should be given to businesses who make a five year commitment to support the cultural and creative industries <br /> Duty free imports for inputs into the cultural industries to help reduce the high cost of technological in puts <br /> VAT exemption for all cultural events <br /> A special bond issue to support the music industry <br /> Invite international studios to set up in Barbados with the same tax incentives given to manufacturers <br /> Create incentives for international companies who provide scholarship funds towards the development of the arts <br /> A separate and distinct Ministry of Culture with a separate minister, preferably a Minister of State (technocrat) not driven by political motives and discourse. <br /> N.B. The ministry should be goal-oriented with five year targets <br />
  • However, as the model in figure one suggests, for such an undertaking to occur, government’s role must be critical. Here are some recommendations I believe can be built into existing infrastructures: <br /> Tax write offs should be given to businesses who make a five year commitment to support the cultural and creative industries <br /> Duty free imports for inputs into the cultural industries to help reduce the high cost of technological in puts <br /> VAT exemption for all cultural events <br /> A special bond issue to support the music industry <br /> Invite international studios to set up in Barbados with the same tax incentives given to manufacturers <br /> Create incentives for international companies who provide scholarship funds towards the development of the arts <br /> A separate and distinct Ministry of Culture with a separate minister, preferably a Minister of State (technocrat) not driven by political motives and discourse. <br /> N.B. The ministry should be goal-oriented with five year targets <br />
  • THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOLUTION <br /> In closing I wish to leave with you the tool that has worked and continues to work around the world: Project Management. <br /> Any national strategy and/or program should follow the guidelines of project management using the Logical Framework Approach. Again, we have developed considerable expertise on the island with the ongoing Edutech experience and we should call on those technocrats who put that program together, to help develop a similar all-embracing program for the advancement of the Cultural and Creative Industries in Barbados. <br /> We need to standardize our methodologies and approach for grants and financing in all the donor agencies and financiers in Barbados. This is already done at the international level and we should follow suit. <br /> Project Management should be applied to all the sectors in these industries and the example should be set by the NCF as they manage major national events. I am aware that this is already happening but once the methodology is fine tuned it needs to be placed in the public domain so as to improve the quality of all cultural projects and events in Barbados. <br /> Coming out of this therefore, I am suggesting that the NCF becomes a hub and create a Cultural Project Management Office that will eventually provide these services to the entire gamut of the cultural and creative industries in Barbados. <br /> All in all, I have been trying to say this morning that the answers lie within each and every single one of us and our ability to be creative. We should not spend too much time trying to reinvent tested and reworked solutions, but we should build on the existing infrastructure in place and make it better, make sure that it is culturally in tune with our needs, desires and expressions. And though project management may not be the panacea for all our current challenges, it is a tool that has been proven to work and we should try it. <br /> Thank you. <br />

Applying Project Management to the Cultural and Creative Industries:  A tool for developing Countries Applying Project Management to the Cultural and Creative Industries: A tool for developing Countries Presentation Transcript

  • Applying Project Management to the Cultural and Creative Industries: A tool for developing Countries Ian W. Walcott VP for Education, Bridgetown Chapter of the Project Management Institute
  • What are Cultural & Creative Industries? • Artists or businesses that generate their primary source of income and or economic value from their cultural and/or creative knowledge
  • The Cultural & Creative Industries • Who are they really? – – – – – – – – TV & Media Fine Arts Visual Arts Performing Arts Film Music The Festival Industry Some definitions include fashion and design Kadooment in Barbados
  • Management Challenges of the Cultural and Creative Industries 1. Developmental thrust: Building infrastructure 2. Industry segmentation & issues of centralization vs. decentralization 3. Private and public sector coordination 4. Artist as manager 5. Policy development 6. Managing projects Le Groove – Barbadian Alternative Rock Band
  • Who will foot the bill? • The donor countries also exploiting their own cultural industry – limited financing • There is still a dependency relationship • Who pays for the technology?
  • What are the solutions? • Do not reinvent the wheel – Enable creativity – Enhance Cooperation – Build on existing infrastructure – Managing Time & Information – Work on the elements we can control first
  • The developmental thrust: Building the infrastructure Overarching framework requirements: Vision, Strategy, Planning Co mm u nity Enterprise Dev. du E c Employment Export n tio a Support base: Policy, Private & public sector partnerships & projects
  • The developmental thrust: Building the infrastructure • The existing infrastructure – Applying technology at every level: – enabling ebusiness and Internet technologies • e.g. Add a technology dimension to ART – Examine the Australian Model http://www.anat.org.au/ – Degree programs needed urgently Modernizing existing venues – no need for new facilities • School facilities sponsored by companies • Open air theatres and other open spaces
  • What will international competitions bring to the local cultural industry? INCREASED INCREASED EXPOSURE EXPOSURE INCREASED INCREASED TOURISM TOURISM BETTER BETTER STANDARDS STANDARDS INT’L INT’L COMPETITION COMPETITION ENHANCED ENHANCED REPUTATION REPUTATION + VISIBILITY + VISIBILITY FOR FOR IMPROVED IMPROVED PROJECT PROJECT LOCALS LOCALS MGMT MGMT
  • Bridging the gaps - Building the infrastructure model Demand Grant seekers Business Artists Support needs Private sector Enabler NCF as Intermediary Coordination Central Planning Project Mgmt Policy Dev. Locating Grants Facilitator National Host Intellect Supply Donors Markets Services offered Public sector
  • Government’s Leadership Role • • • • • • • Tax write offs Duty free imports for inputs VAT exemption for all cultural events Special bond issues to support the industries Invite international creative enterprises studios to set up with added incentives Incentives for MNCs who provide scholarship funds Goal-oriented programmes with five year targets
  • Government’s Leadership Role • • Planning for cultural economy of new city centres Urban planning must integrate the cultural economy
  • How will the model work? • Project Management is the answer – Suggested Project Approaches • Logical Framework Approach for Program Planning • Project Approach and Standardized Methods for Project Financing and Grants • Application of Project Management to all sectors of the cultural industries (National Events) • A centralized Cultural Project Management Office (CPMO)
  • Contact Information Contact Information:Ian W. Walcott Email: ian.walcott@gmail.com