Do you understand your creative business?

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Written By Jim Butcher

It’s easy to think that business and creativity sit at either end of the fiscal tennis court, whacking that money ball back and forth. And depending on what game’s being played will determine the winner.

If it’s a business game, creativity won’t stand a chance. If it’s a creative game, the functional business side will struggle to keep up.

It sounds all very left-brain right-brain stuff, doesn’t it?

But is it true? Are these two skill sets on such different teams? Can the divide between the creative and practical be closed? Is there ever a chance of a doubles match?

The University of Technology Sydney’s new book, Creative Business in Australia, is an impressive collaboration by 17 of the country’s top creative and business minds.

As Monique Potts, Deputy Director of Innovation and Creative Intelligence for UTS explains:

Creative Business in Australia looks at the pressing issues that small to medium-sized creative industries and companies face.

It suggests a way forward both at the individual company strategy level and for the role of government policy and sector-led leadership to back growth.”

And the growth of this already surprisingly large sector, employing well over 600,000 people in Australia, means big business – whether the creatives involved like it or not.

Creative workforce infographic

Creative Business in Australia is – in a way – a creative product in its own right. Not only is the content of this book a huge collaborative effort, but the inspiration behind it is also one of collaboration.

Potts describes the book’s inspiration as “the work of the Creative Industries Innovation Centre (CIIC), a collaboration between the University of Technology Sydney, the Commonwealth Government Department of Industry and key players in the creative industries from 2009-2015.

The CIIC provided direct support to more than 1500 creative businesses during its six years of operation.”

That support was a huge benefit to creative businesses, offering one-on-one counselling and facilitating essential reports like Valuing Australia’s Creative Industries 2013.

With all the good that the CIIC did for creative industries, this book looks to carry on that work and guide businesses away from typical errors and common misconceptions.

As David Schloeffel, co-author of Creative Business in Australia explains: “People start small creative businesses because of their passion for the creative product and not because they are passionate about business.”

Just because creatives don’t like business, it doesn’t mean that the two are totally incompatible.

In fact, in his chapter Business Basics 101, Schloeffel describes this as, “a furphy, and a dangerous one at that.”

Creatives don’t like doing business and sales things, but it doesn’t mean there’s a capability gap.

In spite of the CIIC closure, there is still support for creative businesses. This book is a good example of that, and as Monique Potts says:

“UTS is continuing its commitment to innovation, and to developing skills and opportunities for creative industries and wider innovation activities through research, consulting and teaching initiatives.

The university is partnering with some of Australia’s largest organisations using design-led thinking for innovative business disruption and change.”

So perhaps that game of doubles tennis isn’t so far out of the question. It certainly sounds like UTS is ready to do some good work up at the net.

Download your free copy of Creative Business in Australia from the UTS bookstore here.