About the Centre for Creative Collaboration
The Centre for Creative Collaboration "C4CC" brings together leading researchers from London’s universities, creative industry practitioners and freelancers, SMEs and students, and delivers a proven neutral environment based on the principles of open innovation. New collaborative projects are conceived, developed, delivered and disseminated.
C4CC was conceived in the first instance as an experiment to provide a basis for new approaches to collaborative research interactions in the creative sector and to test the propositions that:
- A number of the mechanisms and methodologies used effectively to support knowledge transfer within science and technology disciplines might also effectively be used within the creative and digital disciplines
- The provision of ‘neutral’ space would encourage and develop research, teaching and third stream collaborations between constituent Colleges of the University and the wider economy.
The experiment has been a resounding success and has produced results of both practical and policy relevance. C4CC has exceeded the target metrics that it was set by a large margin. Initial targets proposed 200 people participating in 20 projects within the first 2 years, but since opening its doors in February 2010, around 4,500 people have taken part in over 150 C4CC projects and events. One of our resident projects told us that the role of C4CC was “to inspire and disturb”; enabling them to do their best work.
New thinking on research and employability
C4CC has produced new thinking on research and employability and has led to significant rates of enterprise formation, self-employment and employment for students/graduates. This success has been born out of a willingness to learn as the project has developed and review and revise the approach as C4CC blossomed. Residents and users have have developed research, contacts and careers.
C4CC has recently been referred to as "the most productive place to work in London" by one workspace design consultant and a recent corporate guest wrote in his blog after visiting:
"Unlike almost everywhere these days, it is simply a space I want to work in. Knackered armchairs, peeling paint, trailing cables – whatever, can I just have a corner, please?"
Projects developed at C4CC range broadly in scope and share the common perspective of believing real innovation happens at the edge and in the gaps between disciplines. From emerging creative industries, new digital businesses to artistic led practices the goal lies in collaborative approaches that embrace the challenge that new technologies impose on to today’s cultural landscape. The environment is one of permission rather than protocol and works on the proven premise that creatives thrive in a high risk, high freedom environment. This intangible environment marries with light leadership and a high degree of trust and to date has responded to the world of the much vaunted "volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity."
Outcomes and the Future
The range, depth and diversity of substantive collaborative projects at the Centre for Creative Collaboration continues to grow and to exceed all expectations. Of particular interest is the way so many projects lead on to commercial and employment opportunities for students and graduates. To date, C4CC has produced 16 start-ups and 45 internships. The i-Teams methodology and process, used at Cambridge and MIT, was successfully trialled for the creative industries at C4CC in 2011.
In this context, C4CC has brought to notice the more nuanced nature of commercialisation and exploitation of IP within the creative economy which goes far beyond the usual taxonomy used by government and policy makers, and this is being widely recognised. The number of women involved in such projects is of particular note. These findings are proving of interest to potential corporate partners and to diverse government agencies.
Social media and blogging platforms such as Twitter and Posterous have played an integral part in both the 'internal' communications for collaborators using C4CC and extensive outreach to a wider audience. Social analytics tools such as Tweetreach are routinely used to monitor activity on the Twitter hastag #c4cc. Activities are also documented using video available on the C4CC website.
The success of C4CC in providing a new way of bringing together researchers in HEIs, businesses and micro-businesses, and other organisations in the creative economy, is striking and it is quietly delivering quantifiable success and has attracted a great deal of interest. Success is rooted in the distinctive and interactive ways in which knowledge is shaped and communicated in the creative industries, and the way that that relates to business development. Based on the success of the “prototype” to date and the renewed commitment of the University Partners, C4CC is seeking to move to larger premises in London.
The pathway to sustainability will be achieved through a vibrant mix of activities combining commercial, non-commercial and developing commercial ‘strands’, academic activity, events, incubation and micro-business growth services combined with innovation support. This mix of activities is close to that currently supported at C4CC which has enabled us to test these elements of the business plan.