Creative Businesses

Creative industries adopting cross-innovation approaches

9 March 2023
SERIES (5) on Industries in Hamburg: Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft's schemes turning ideas into business models

Culture is back, yet the relaunch is not without difficulties, according to Egbert Rühl, Managing Director of Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft. "No sooner had we largely put the pandemic behind us than the energy crisis and inflation struck and are now threatening the cultural scene." At the moment, the risk to Hamburg's diverse cultural landscape is not acute. "Yet, we must remain vigilant and become active, if necessary." Then, everyone can become a multiplier by telling their friends and acquaintances about their own cultural experiences. Campaigns such as "Give a Gift of Culture" are also reviving culture. “The city is highlighting the importance of the sector for Hamburg and stressing not simply its monetary factor,” Rühl noted. Around 134,000 people work in the cultural and creative industries across the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Thus, almost 5 five per cent of the urban workforce generate an annual turnover of EUR 4.37 billion (2016). Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft represents eleven submarkets, but theatre, dance and music are not among the “top revenue generators”, said Rühl. "The press, advertising, design and software, games submarkets account for the biggest share." 

Cultural stimulus

“Cultural industries are economically important and produce added value by generating impulses and conveying content for debates," Rühl stressed. The extension of the "Free Space: Space for Creative Interim Use" scheme until December 31, 2023 is proving him right. The Hamburg Parliament agreed in November to prolong the scheme, initiated by Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft, and has made EUR 4.3 million available.  Dr Carsten Brosda, Senator for Culture and Media, noted: "The scheme benefits the city in many ways. It prevents vacancies, gives creative people the space for their ideas and promotes the change towards a diverse and lively city.”

Egbert Rühl at Cross Innovation Day 2022

Jupiter paying off

Germany's largest (around 8,000 square metres) space for co-working, exhibitions and pop-up stores has emerged in the so-called “Jupiter” in the former Karstadt building. The Hamburg Parliament had agreed to prolong the scheme until December 31, 2023 and is making EUR 4.3 million available. Owners of the property are reimbursed for the operating and ancillary costs as well as insurance while creatives rent the space for EUR 1.50 per square metre. "This property is definitely challenging," said Rühl. Transforming a commercial property into a cultural centre is no mean feat. "We're talking about a department store with six huge floors that are connected by escalators. That creates acoustic problems and makes setting up smaller, self-contained units difficult." The past six months have proven a steep learning curve for Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft. "But the concept is paying off. Jupiter has become a place where society meets to discuss urban development and architecture."

Jupiter in der Mönckebergstraße

Successful cross-innovation approach

Cross-industry interaction is central to Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft's many schemes. New products or service ideas are created by bringing together as many perspectives as possible in the Cross-Innovation Lab or class. The Creative Business Academy caters to the needs of creative professionals and offers expertise and EUR 12,000 maximum to help participants grow profitably. The Creative Future Academy for creative solo self-employed and freelancers helps them transfer their business ideas to the digital economy. "We will launch the new Cross-Innovation Hub phase in 2023. The focus hitherto has been on tapping the innovation potential of creative industries for other sectors of the economy as early as possible. Now, we are offering support at every stage and aiming for market maturity as swiftly as possible."

Prospects for 2023

This year holds many cultural highlights including the 20th anniversary of Gamecity Hamburg. Launched by the city in 2003, Gamecity Hamburg networks entrepreneurs and its 20-year balance is impressive. More than 190 companies in the games value chain from studios and publishers to games-related service providers and educational institutions now make Hamburg one of Europe's most vibrant games centres. 

Read the other parts in our series:

Hamburg becoming even more resilient economic centre

1) Where is the media centre Hamburg heading?

2) Energy crisis driving switch to renewables

3) Port of Hamburg proving logistics hub and real innovation lab

4) Tourism in Hamburg on robust recovery course


Hamburg Games Conference 2022

Sources and further information

Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft

Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft is the main point of contact for budding entrepreneurs, employees and solo self-employed people in e.g., architecture, visual arts, design, film, literature, music, press, broadcasting, software/games, theatre/dance and advertising. The services offered include workshops, lectures and networking events, individual consultations, coaching and funding schemes as well as assistance accessing financing. Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft also operates 16 properties with around 600 workspaces and also helps find suitable spaces. It also initiates innovations through incubators, accelerators, labs and other schemes. 

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