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Explaining the change : Creative industries policy from the perspective of social innovation. Case of Tallinn

Expliquer le changement : les politiques en faveur des industries crétives vues sous l’angle de l’innovation sociale. Le cas de Talinn
Külliki Tafel-Viia et Silja Lassur
p. 118-130


Ces dernières décennies, le concept d’industries créatives (IC) a retenu l’attention tant des institutions politiques que des chercheurs. Nombre de débats portant sur cette question ont en filigrane un mot-clé : le changement. Car il s’agit de (re)définir les relations entre économie, culture, créativité, lieux, etc. La place et le rôle des villes dans ces changements ont été particulièrement soulignés. La volonté de prendre sérieusement en compte le poids économique des industries créatives a fait émerger des politiques qui ont influencé les approches en termes de politique culturelle, de politique économique, de politique d’innovation et de politique d’éducation. Les mutations économiques appellent donc des explications sur les changements opérés au niveau politique. Dans cet article, les auteurs cherchent à expliquer et à conceptualiser les changements liés aux industries créatives. Elles posent la question de la nature du changement attendu par les politiques portant sur les IC. Cela passe par l’exploration de l’élaboration et de la portée des politiques, par celle des agents à qui ces politiques s’adressent, par celle, enfin, de la structure organisationnelle des supports politiques et des mesures mis en place. Cet article explore la politique de Tallinn vis-à-vis des industries créatives au regard des politiques développées dans dix autres métropoles européennes. Tallinn constitue un cas d’étude intéressant dans la mesure où cette ville de l’est de l’Europe est un « nouvel arrivant » en matière de développement des industries créatives, peu étudié jusqu’à présent. L’implémentation de ces politiques à Tallinn a aussi la particularité d’être une initiative de type « top-down », ce qui pose la question de l’acceptabilité de ces politiques. Comme cadre théorique, les auteurs s’appuient sur le concept d’innovation sociale, qui tente d’expliquer la nature complexe du changement social ainsi que les processus et mécanismes qui facilitent le processus d’adoption du changement. Concernant les données empiriques, les auteurs s’appuient sur les résultats d’une étude internationale intitulée Creative Metropoles (2010), dans laquelle les politiques publiques portant sur les industries créatives dans onze métropoles européennes, incluant Tallinn, ont été analysées.

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1Contemporary societies are characterised through various socio-economical changes. One among these significant shifts is the recognition of creative industries (CI) as a significant economic resource : as a creator of value, jobs and place image (Hesmondhalgh, 2002 ; Throsby, 2008). The numerous discussions on CI are overwhelmingly underlined by the keyword ‘change’ : (re)defining the relations between economy and culture and creativity and the place, etc. In this context the shifting role and position of the cities has been especially emphasized. The efforts of trying to get CI to be taken seriously in economic terms led to policy responses that were about consistent industrial treatment (Cunningham et al., 2008) and thus influenced the approach to cultural policy. Besides cultural policy CI has also influenced economic and innovation policies (O’Connor, 2009). CI discourse seeks to engage a wider range of knowledge and service industries, professions and practices, and the focus has shifted toward whether CI are loci of innovation and employment growth in increasingly knowledge-based economies (Flew and Cunningham, 2010). All these shifts push to rethink the public policies and call for explanation of the changes happening on the policy level. In this article the authors aim at explaining and conceptualising the changes related to CI policies. We raise the question about the nature of the change which is intended to achieve via CI policies. This means exploring the policy focus and scope, agents to whom the policy is addressed, the organisational structure of support and the measures developed.

2The special focus is made on Tallinn CI policy in comparison with the CI policies of 1O other European metropoles. Tallinn serves a good case for a study as it is a Central and Eastern-European (CEE) city and a ‘newcomer’ in term of CI development and thus has got much less attention. The concept of CI was introduced to majority of post-socialist countries via the British Council initiative (Jürisson, 2007 ; Primorac, 2006 ; Suciu, 2009) and reached into these countries’ policy programmes via policy transfer mechanism. The CI policies in these countries can be considered as (mainly) top-down innovation or reform (Lassur et al., 2010) which raises the question of acceptance of CI policy.

3Regarding the theoretical framework the authors follow the concept of social innovation (Heiskala and Hämäläinen, 2007b ; Moulaert et al., 2005 ; Mumford, 2002 ; Pol and Simon, 2009) – which is relatively new in innovation research and is especially concerned with explaining the nature of a complex social change, but also the processes and mechanisms which facilitate the process of adoption of a change and substantiate the relationship between interaction and perception of changes. Regarding the empirical data the authors relay on the results of the international study Creative Metropoles (2010) where the public policies of CI in eleven European metropoles, including Tallinn, were analysed. The study, carried out in 2009, used semi-structured questionnaires targeted to municipality officials and interactive workshops.

1. Theoretical framework : creative industries policy from the perspective of social innovation

  • 1 The article has been prepared and accomplished within the research project funded by the Estonian R (...)

4The concept of social innovation (SI) enables to explain the change processes from two fundamentally different perspectives (Loogma et al., 2011)1. One approach originates from sociological theories and explains SI as distinct or specific kind of innovation which has aims of social character and which develops from the grassroots level initiatives (Moulaert et al., 2005 ; Mulgan, 2006 ; Moulaert and Nussbaumer, 2008). The other stream proceeds from economic and organisational theories. This approach is emphasizing that SI is in one or another way co-developing or embedded into different kind of innovations, especially economic-technological and organisational innovations (Gopalakrishnan, Damanpour, 1997 ; Pol and Simon, 2009 ; Moulaert et al., 2005). This means that SI is understood as “enabler” of these innovations.

5As this article focuses on Tallinn CI policy which has emerged as top-down initiative, we follow the second approach to SI. In this approach SI is treated either as a complementary, accompanying or collateral process, induced by technological-economic, business and organizational innovations or being an “enabler” of those innovations. According to Heiskala (2007), SI can be defined as change in multilevel institutions of the society which enhance its collective power resources and improve its economic and social performance. He sees that SI encompasses regulative, normative and cultural elements for institutional change :

6« Regulative innovations transform explicit regulations and/or the ways they are sanctioned. Normative innovations challenge established value commitments and/or the way the values are specified into legitimate social norms. Finally, cultural innovations challenge the established ways to interpret reality by transforming mental paradigms, cognitive frames and habits of interpretation. Taken together these three classes form the sphere of social innovations » (Heiskala, 2007 : 59).

7Due to the multi-level approach to changes the concept of SI enables to highlight several key components by means of different social change processes can be analyzed. Generalising the literature and being inspired by W. R. Scott’s (2001) approach of the three institutional pillars, the authors bring out five components and explain them from the co-evolution perspective of SI.

  • Trigger, the logic of emergence. SI may occur in response to current social needs or due to the reason that certain needs are not satisfied (Mumford, 2002 ; Moulaert et al., 2005) ; SI may also emerge as a consequence of (an external) threat or crisis (Tynjälä and Nikkanen, 2007) or due to the techno-economical changes. In the context of innovation as co-evolution, the structural changes in external environment and top-down reform processes can become triggers of SI process.

  • Initiating actors and change agents. Several approaches to SI emphasize the role of the key individual(s) as main drivers for overcoming barriers to change (Moulaert et al.,2005). Besides the importance of initiating actors, the role of further carriers of the change are also emphasized. In the context of SI as co-evolution process, public authorities or other external actors can be treated as initiating actors who impose top-down reforms or different kinds of structural changes. The key question is whether the policies are able to « speak to » those to whom the policies are addressed.

  • Embedded social mechanism. The universal mechanisms of social change, embedded in one or another way into the process of SI are the processes of interaction, meaning attribution and interactive learning (Marcey and Mumford 2007 ; Heiskala and Hämäläinen, 2007a). Those mechanisms explain how SI happens – i.e. what kind of processes are “carriers” of SI. In case of top-down initiated SI processes the adaptation to change and meaning attribution become central processes. The emphasis is on those kinds of mechanisms that can facilitate the implementation, adoption and adaption of the innovation.

  • Diffusion of knowledge and knowledge spill-over. The dialogical relationships between people with different kinds of expertise stimulate collective learning and innovation activities (Fritsch, 2001 ; Tynjälä and Nikkanen, 2007). In the context of co-evolution perspective of SI it is important to highlight the mechanisms which : (a) support the spread and diffusion of new knowledge and practices into other policies, and (b) bring together the policy-makers and the target groups to whom the top-down reforms are addressed.

  • Implications. Implications of SI can mean emergence of new social patterns of human interaction (Holt, 1971) or new kind of social structures and institutions (Heiskala, 2007 ; Moulaert et al., 2005). The changes for being considered SI can also be defined as changes in prevailing social practices (Heiskala and Hämäläinen, 2007b) and accepted role behaviors or changes in the social structure of existing social organizations (Hazel and Onaga, 2003). Top-down initiated SI processes entail new meaning and new practices. From the co-evolution perspective it is not sufficient when practices on regulative level change ; changes have to occur also at least on normative or even cultural-cognitive level – in behavioral practices and changed meanings.

8Applying the concept of SI in the analysis of public policies – CI policies in this article – means that we focus on identifying those aforementioned key components within the treatment of CI and its policies.

9The emergence of the CI policies and the preceding rise in the importance of CI can be explained by referring to several objective needs behind economical restructuring (e.g. crisis in Fordist mass production based economic model, changes in technologies, etc.), and the changes in lifestyle and usage of leisure time as well as change in the role of culture (Bramham and Spink, 2009) and increase in postmodern values (Beck, 1986). However, it has been also argued that the reason behind the rapid diffusion of the concept of CI is largely because it developed as a policy concept (Prince, 2010). Several changes in different policies (culture, economics, innovation, etc) have been explained as a result of the emergence of the concept of CI (Throsby, 2008 ; Wyszomirski, 2008 ; Potts and Cunningham, 2008). Following R. Prince (2010), the concept of CI which was first defined and written into policy documents by the UK Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) in their 1998 Creative Industries Mapping Document, that has been spread into many countries worldwide. Thus, the top-down approach in case of CI policies can be clarely recognized.

10Secondly, the existence of various kinds of approaches to CI gives plenty of possibilities for explaining the main change agents of CI. Generalizing the diverse literature four general approaches to CI can be distinguished. Firstly, sector-based approach which can be first and foremost associated with the concepts of creative economy (Howkins, 2002) and cultural economy (Scott A.J., 2001). According to those, CI can be broadly described as group or spectrum of sectors. Second, social class based approach which is reflected in the concept of ‘creative class’ (Florida, 2002) differentiates CI sub-fields based on occupations or fields of activity (R. Florida, 2002 : 68), but the emphasis is laid on the change in social structure. Thirdly, holistic approach to urban development can be associated with the concept of « creative city » (Landry, 2000). Referring to Ch. Landry et al. (2005) the concept of creative city is described as all-embracing by capturing all kinds of fields related to urban development. Fourth, CI as stage in economic development can be associated with the concept of experience economy (Lorentzen, 2009 ; Pine and Gilmore, 1999). This concept stresses the customer point of view—not only on developing CI, but on the economy in general.

11Having regard to the four approaches, we may argue that the central agents are determined by the representatives of the sectors or fields of activity or occupation that are defined by each approach. We may claim that the amount of central agents in the sector-based concepts is most clear-cut (and in some sense also most limited). The holistic approach to urban development and the approach which defines CI as economic stage of development presume that representatives of various (cultural, social, economical, etc.) spheres of life have to attribute meaning to these concepts and can be considered as change agents.

12In terms of providing frame for CI policy focuses, we may argue that the concept of creative city by approaching cities as ecosystems (Landry, 2000) and the concept of experience economy by emphasizing the paradigm change (Lorentzen, 2009) provide broader scope for policy compared to other approaches. The concept of creative class also contains multiple focuses : a place has to attract creative people, generate innovation and stimulate economic growth (Florida, 2002). Regarding sector-based approaches economic dimension tends to prevail, as the concepts of creative economy and cultural economy overwhelmingly speak in terms of « products » and « producing goods and services » (Howkins, 2002 ; Scott, 2004).

13Thirdly, regarding the interaction mechanisms we may argue that these are embedded into the concept of CI. Encompassing various cultural and creative spheres, CI bring together contact points or border zones of different activity systems (Engeström, 1987 ; Tuomi-Gröhn et al., 2003). It is also often stressed that creative activities take place in clusters (De Propris et al., 2009 ; Porter and Stern, 2001) and that the value flow of CI works through networks (Hearn et al., 2007). Accordingly, we may presume that if CI policy takes account the peculiarities of CI it will contain mechanisms such as different forms of formal and informal networks, possibilities and spaces for knowledge exchange, involvement, arenas for collective learning, etc.

14Fourthly, regarding the capacity of CI policy spillover effects, then CI as a whole is seen to have an augmenting effect, direct and indirect spillover to other sectors. Besides increasing the economic value of other sectors the new ideas of the CI actors will be widely (re)used in other spheres. Via network relations and the high mobility of the CI actors the organisational models and operating practices common to CI will spread to other sectors (Potts and Cunningham, 2008 ; Chapain et al., 2010). From the policy point of view we may argue that the changes in cultural policy (induced by the emergence of the concept of CI) have also influenced the economic and innovation policies. Growing interest in culture as a source of economic value-adding is « […] catapulted to the forefront of the modern forward-looking policy agenda, an essential component in any respectable economic policy-maker’s development strategy » (Throsby, 2008 : 229). This whole argument increasingly drives education policy (Garnham, 2005). M. J. Wyszomirski (2008 : 203) has claimed that this is a significant change in policy thinking « from a resource poor, cost diseased sector in need of subsidy to a set of community assets that can be engines of local development ».

15Fifth, we may discuss several new types of practices which emerge (have emerged) via developing CI and carrying out its policies. It can be claimed that there is increasing tendency towards a comprehensive approach to creativity via rising creativity related to different fields. The development of CI supports also the development of cluster-based policies. The recent studies on CI (Evans, 2009) have revealed the increasing importance of cluster development in CI supporting strategies. We may also claim that, although CI policies share majority of instruments similar to public sector enterprise and innovation initiatives, CI have contributed to the rethink of the industries as their organisation model is the network interaction of micro and small producers (Hartley, 2005) rather than the supply chain hierarchy of Fordist industries (Van der Borg and Russo, 2006) and strongly influenced by user-created content (OECD, 2007). This has brought along the shifts in understandings that the demand-side instruments have to be similarly recognized as supply-side measures.

16We may conclude that different theoretical approaches to CI embody both, broader as well as more determined points of departure for the CI policies. The embedded spillover mechanisms in the concept of CI contain potential to supporting integration with other policies. CI policy practices indicate that CI policies are especially related to networking, cooperation and other types of social interactions which support the spread and diffusion of CI related knowledge and practices as well as those mechanisms which facilitate the adoption and sense-making of CI.

2. The methodology

17The empirical findings used in this article are based on the results of an international comparative study : Creative Metropoles (2010). The authors of this article were also members of the research team who developed the methodology for the study and carried out the analysis. The study encompassed 11 European metropolitan cities : Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Birmingham, Helsinki, Oslo, Riga, Stockholm, Tallinn, Vilnius and Warsaw. The study aimed at exploring the situation of CI policies in these cities. The diversity in approaches and the diverse background and development stages of the cities presumed that a qualitative and rather open approach for analyzing the CI policies had to be chosen. A qualitative, structured and semi-open questionnaire was compiled. The template contained several questions encompassing general architecture of support, measures supporting the development of CI, the criteria behind strategic choices in CI policy, background statistical data. Cultural policy instruments and supporting measures were excluded, and third and private sector initiatives in the field of CI in the cities were also not explored in this study.

18In this article we analyse the results of the general architecture of support and the measures supporting the development of CI. In the template the general architecture of support encompassed the following topics :

  • the focus and the scope of the approach to CI ;

  • the development aims for CI ;

  • the linkages between CI and other sectors, activities, strategies, etc. ;

  • the organisational structure of support and each city’s role in governance and policymaking ;

  • the cooperation patterns between the city and state and regional levels, and cooperation with business and the third (voluntary) sector.

  • Regarding the policy measures the cities were asked to describe ten most relevant policy measures in force, including :

  • type of measure (enhancement of business capacity, development of urban space and creative city districts ; financial support models ; enhancing demand for CI) ;

  • purpose of the measure ;

  • target groups

19The questionnaire was filled by the local researchers in each city to assure that the most relevant and up-to-date information is used. The analysis of the results was done by the research team. The outcomes of the study were sent back to the cities’ researchers and officials in order to get the confirmation from them that the results were interpreted correctly. Several interactive workshops during the project were also held for discussing the outcomes of the study. The study was carried out in 2009.

  • In the study the cities were divided into two groups based on different stage of development of their CI policies :

  • cities with more established CI policies (Western-European and Nordic cities) ;

  • cities as ‘newcomers’ such as post-socialist cities, including Tallinn.

3. Creative industries policy : case of tallinn in the context of 11 european metropoles

20We use the key components of SI described in part 1 as analytical framework for analysing CI policies of European metropoles and Tallinn in particular. We start with explaining the triggering factors of CI policies, then focus on the central agents of the CI policies : from the target group and secondly, from the organisational support point of view. After that we describe the policy focuses and argue about the possible spillover effect. Finally we analyse which kinds of new practices can be recognized among the CI policies. As already mentioned the broad diffusion of the UK approach to CI into many countries indicates to the importance of external factors as triggers in formation of CI policies. The study results affirm the importance of policy transfer (the external mechanisms) in the context of CI policies. The findings from the study especially support the argument that the Eastern European cities have made use of the experiences and practices of the Western European cities. Still, only single examples are directly copied and the transfer of the whole complex of policies to other cities cannot be observed. In case of Tallinn, the state has played important role in introducing the topic of CI to the cities. The transfer of the British approach into the state level policies was further transferred to the local level policy programmes. Although there are other important factors which have influenced the development of CI in the cities (e.g. Nordic influence in case of Tallinn), the top-down policy transfer mechanism has been the central driving force in the emergence of CI policies in Tallinn (Lassur et al., 2010).

3.1. The target of CI policies : who are the agents of the creative industries ?

21Although the majority of the 11 metropoles uses the term ‘creative industries’, it is defined differently and encompasses different kind and amount of sub-sectors. When exploring the existence of links with different sectors, then some of the 11 cities have more than others emphasized the links between cultural and economic sectors, but also with technology and innovation. Quotes :

22In Amsterdam : the creative industries contain economic and cultural sectors that deliver goods and services that are the results of individual or collective creative work and entrepreneurship. Meaning and symbolism are the most important elements of these goods and services.

23In Barcelona : those industries that have their origin in creativity, brilliance and individual skills, and that have power to create employment and wealth by generating and exploiting intellectual property ... from the innovation and patent in the industrial and communications field, to the scientific research and the artistic creation. All of them share the fact that they are originated in a creativity basis and that this creativity generates wealth.

24In Helsinki : the creative industry sector is also considered to encompass the so-called copyright industry, which includes research, technology and industrial models.

25Tallinn follows state level approach that is an adaptation of the British definition of CI : « The creative industries are those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property » (DCMS, 1998). On the state level some minor adaptations of the British definition have been made by adding an additional clause about « collective creativity ». As to the sub-sectors involved it should be stressed that only very limited part of IT sector is included, that is the entertainment IT (the production of computer games, interactive games, etc.). Hence, we may argue that Estonia’s addition by means of the ‘collective’clause reflects the need to strengthen the interaction within the CI sector ; and thus can be considered important in terms of SI.

3.2. The agents coordinating change : organisational structure of CI support policy

26As to the organisational structure of support on the city level the results of the study indicate that a business development department (or similar) is involved in practically all the cities. Also a culture department (or similar) is involved in 9 of the 11 cities. In some cities also other city departments are involved such as : a city planning or development department, dealing with spatial planning issues, educational department or department dealing with youth issues. In two cities out of eleven, also a special body for CI policy development has been established on city level that plays the leading role in policy development. It is the case in Amsterdam and Berlin.

27Proceeding from the concept of SI, we may argue that the larger the amount of different departments that are involved in policy development and implementation is, the more it facilitates the meaning attribution to the change. The more the responsibilities are divided between different departments, the more it supports the interaction processes. We may also claim that if one separate organisational body is responsible for developing CI, it may have even more crucial role in supporting interaction processes as it coordinates the activities between different departments.

28In case of Tallinn, there are three departments involved : business development department, cultural department and City Office Development Bureau. The responsibilities of supporting CI are mainly divided between business development and cultural department who provide grants or other support and services. City Office Development Bureau is responsible of compiling strategies and other city development documents. In Tallinn case, it can be also highlighted that development of CI has brought along new reasons and perspectives for policy level collaboration in the city. It has also fostered co-operation between state and local level (the issue that has been - and still is - quite problematic in Estonia). It has been admitted by the Tallinn city officials that there is not any other field than CI where the co-operation works so well (Lassur et al., 2010).

3.3. The policy focus : which aims and focuses for CI can be revealed from the regulative environment – cities’ development documents

29In most of the 11 metropoles, the activities related to CI are written into the city’s (general) development plan or strategy. The study indicated that the activities related to CI are more often included in art and/or culture development strategies and programmes than in economic development documents. In other words : the cities are trying to achieve the aims they have established for developing CI predominantly via the frame of one – cultural – sphere. The results also show that in four of the 11 cities (Amsterdam, Berlin, Birmingham, and Stockholm), special strategies or programs targeting CI or a sub-field, or sub-sector of CI have been developed. On the one hand, one might claim that the cities’ aspiration is to develop CI in their own regulative frame. On the other hand, the special strategy for CI performs as a linking agent between different strategies and programs.

30Regarding Tallinn, it is important to stress that the CI are included into Tallinn general strategy and into Tallinn long-term development plan. The Strategy Tallinn 2025 (2004) – the first policy document in Tallinn related to the issues derived from CI – used the term ‘experience economy’ and linked CI with the development of the tourism sector. From the Development Plan of Tallinn 2009–2027 (2008), one can find objectives explicitly focused on developing CI : « Opportunities for creators to introduce their creation and others for partaking in artistic experiences ». CI are also included into Tallinn Innovation Strategy (2008) which broadens the frame in which the CI are to develop. This strategy focuses on CI’s ability to create an inspiring and attractive living and working environment. CI are also included into the Tallinn Old Town Development Plan 2008-2013 (2008) which objectives are mainly associated with tourism and business development in this area, but also CI’s importance in developing an attractive environment. Accordingly, differently from many other European metropoles included in the study, Tallinn has chosen an approach of developing CI via several strategic documents.

3.4. The spillover effects of CI policy : which spheres are addressed in CI policy and which sectors are included into policy-making ?

31The possible spillover effects of CI policy can be analysed from two different angles. On the one hand, we can make conclusions based on which spheres are addressed within the aims of CI policies. Based to the cities aims written in documents the aims of CI policies relate to the economic dimension (economic competitiveness, capacity, etc.). Besides economic aspirations several cities have also included other dimensions. Quoting :

32Stockholm : both to strenghten the economical growth of the city and to enhance the attractivity for the inhabitants of the city, for businesses, investors, tourists, labour and expertise.

33Oslo : mainly economic, but it is must also be seen in connection with the wider cultural policies of Oslo which has both social and spatial/environmental dimensions.

34Helsinki : besides its direct economic benefits, the CI are important in making the city more attractive for both local residents and foreign companies and investors.

35In Tallinn, one group of objectives in different strategic documents for developing CI is linked with tourism sector. Using the term ‘experience economy’, the tourism sector and all enterprises which provide emotions (i.e. culture, sport, leisure time activities, etc.) have linked with CI development and the development of an attractive environment has become one of the priorities. On the other hand, emphasizing the CI in the context of « [...] having a major influence on other economic activities » (Tallinn Innovation Strategy, 2008) includes also other economic sectors among the agents of CI and higlights the economic aspiration for developing CI.

36We may also discuss about the possible spillover effects by evaluating the cooperation practices related to implementation of CI policy. The study addressed two types of cooperation : the city’s cooperation with business and third sector, and the international cooperation. According to the results, there are only some cities – Amsterdam and Barcelona especially, but also Berlin and Stockholm – where many different organisations and partners from business and the third sector are involved in supporting and developing CI. Birmingham also attaches great importance to involving the business sector ; and in Helsinki, the cooperation with the third sector (in the form of associations) is considered important. As to international cooperation, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin have quite well-developed international cooperation in the field of CI. Birmingham, Helsinki and Stockholm are not far behind those cities (regular participation in different international programs and projects). In the rest of the cities the level of international cooperation is quite modest. As to Tallinn, the cooperation with the third sector has been gradually strenghtening, especially the cooperation with representative organisations of the CI sectors (e.g. Estonian Design Centre) can be highlighted. It has been developing also due to the raising activeness of the grass-root level within the CI sector. The concept of CI has enabled a common ‘roof’ or ‘platform’ for the cultural sector, and new activist groups have also emerged (Lassur et al., 2010).

3.5. New actual practices : measures for developing CI

37In six cities out of, the complex of measures to support CI is the most varied : these are Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Birmingham, Helsinki and Stockholm. In those cities different thematic groups of measures—business support, support for developing urban space, financial support models for CI and measures for raising demand for CI products and services—are quite evenly distributed. This enables to claim that CI policy measures are expected to influence different agents in different fields. The most commonly reported measures are still those that touch upon enhancing the business capacity of CI and also supporting the development of urban space and creative city districts. Among them we may notice several tailor-made measures specifically developed for supporting CI development.

38Regarding Tallinn, it should be firstly mentioned that most of the CI policy measures are not specifically targeted to CI sector. Tallinn has broadened the target group of different measures in a way that the representatives of the CI sector are also one target group among others who can apply for the support. This especially holds on the measures enhancing business capacity. However, Tallinn has also created a measure specially targeted to the CI sector – Tallinn Creative Incubator. It addresses the CI sector as a whole (creative companies and individuals), not to any specific sub-sector (Lassur et al., 2010). In the terms of SI, it can be interpreted that CI policy has brought along a new structure. All in all, the agents that the concrete measures are targeting are especially the economic agents within the CI sector (creative businesses, individuals, but also nonprofit organisations). Due to the space development oriented measures, also wider range of agents are addressed.

Conclusions and discussions

39The article aimed at explaining and conceptualising the change related to CI policies. We posed the question about the nature of the change what the cities’ public authorities intend to achieve via CI policies. Applying the co-evolution approach of SI in the analysis of Tallinn’s CI policy in the context of the CI policies of eleven European metropoles enabled us to evaluate which kinds of agents are addressed, which types of mechanisms are used, which focus is taken and which practices are changing due to the CI policy.

40The first important conclusion the study enabled us to make is that development of CI in the cities contains considerable potential to bring along wider changes in policy-making. Deriving from the nature of CI and supported by policy practices of several cities, we may argue that there are interaction and spillover mechanisms embedded into the CI policies. As explained from SI perspective these are fundamental in the sense of facilitating the adoption, adaption and implementation of policies. Although the diversity of CI theoretical approaches provides different departure points for CI policy focuses, at least some of them provide rather extensive focus and encompass different spheres of city life. This again speaks in favour of potential wide impact of CI policy as it relays on diverse set of agents from various spheres. In addition, policy practices indicate that CI policy measures are especially targeted to enhance networking, cooperation and other types of social interactions. Proceeding from the co-evolution approach to SI, these kinds of mechanisms support the spread and diffusion of CI related knowledge and practices as well as facilitate the adoption and sense-making of CI policy.

41The second conclusion that is important to make relate to the potential of Tallinn’s CI policy to bring along substantial changes and stimulate the adoption of CI policy practices. Based on the general policy focus, the authors claim that Tallinn has a good starting-point to achieve a wider impact via the development of CI. There is no specific indication about the intention to develop CI as a separate specific sector. In addition, the inclusion of CI into innovation strategy provides an extensive frame for developing CI as it is put in the middle of value creation. As to the other European metropoles, this can be considered as rather rare practice that CI are presented in that kind of innovation context. Furthermore, the fact that the strategic documents have linked tourism sector and « all enterprises which provide emotions » with development of CI also broadens the spectrum of carriers of CI policy. However, Tallinn’s CI policy documents are mainly addressing the economic agents of CI – rather CI businesses are made central agents of CI. In European metropoles it is predominantly the cultural sector that has usually been established as a central agent of CI. As the cultural and economic sectors are both important parties of CI then in order to strenghten the sense-making of CI the cultural and economic sectors and their mutual interaction with each other have to be addressed. Furthermore, what Tallinn lacks at the moment is exactly the more intense interaction and the co-operation practices. The results of the study indicated that the interaction processes are also quite modestly developed in many cities. As one of the central characteristics of SI, the lack of interaction can be interpreted as an obstacle in terms of facilitating the adoption and implementation of CI policies.

42Thirdly, proceeding from the concept of SI allows us to evaluate the CI policy from the perspective of where the change takes (has taken) place in terms of the three institutional levels. As this study explored CI policies we can not make conclusions about the cultural-cognitive level. Based on the strategic documents in force, we may argue that although Tallinn misses targeted development plan for CI, the development of CI is written into several city strategic documents. We may also recognize changes in policy measures – in actual policy practices, although not to the same extent. The dominating practice is broadening the existing measures in a way that CI sector representatives become also one target group among the others who can apply for the support. For this time when the study was carried out only one measure specially targeted to the CI sector (Tallinn Creative Incubator) has been developed.

43Besides the changes on regulative level the study also revealed certain changes that have taken place in behavioural practices – thus, in normative level. In Tallinn case, it was highlighted that the development of CI has brought along new reasons for collaboration between different city departments as well as it has fostered the cooperation between state and local level. Development of CI has also brought along strenghtening of the linkages between different policy documents.

44Summarizing the arguments, we may conclude that approaching to CI policy from SI perspective diversified the understanding of how different spheres and agents may be (become) influenced by CI policies. It also provided new knowledge about which kind of mechanims are important to develop in order to facilitate the adoption and implementation of CI policy practices. In terms of future studies and in order to obtain complete understanding of the nature of CI policies, it would be important to engage the opinions of the representatives of CI sector and analyse the perception of CI policy of those to whom it is actually addressed.

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1 The article has been prepared and accomplished within the research project funded by the Estonian Research Council “Education Change as Social Innovation“ (SF0130018s09) lead by senior researcher, Head of Center of Educational Research of Tallinn University Krista Loogma.

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Külliki Tafel-Viia et Silja Lassur, « Explaining the change : Creative industries policy from the perspective of social innovation. Case of Tallinn », Territoire en mouvement Revue de géographie et aménagement [En ligne], 19-20 | 2013, mis en ligne le 01 mai 2015, consulté le 27 mars 2017. URL :

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Külliki Tafel-Viia

Msc in social sciences
Tallinn University Estonian Institute for Futures Studies and Centre of Educational Research
34 Lai Street
10133 Tallinn

Silja Lassur

PhD student
Tallinn University Estonian Institute for Futures Studies
34 Lai Street
10133 Tallinn

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