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This is a PowerPoint presentation made on Independents’ Day, September 20, 2008. Although we have named this project Creative Columbus, the scope extends beyond the city and covers the metro area. More on that later.

We have added notes to help fill in most of the experiential gaps between looking at the slides now versus seeing the presentation live. Community Research Partners is conducting the research with assistance from the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. For information on CRP, see http://www.communityresearchpartners.org/

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Outline of the presentation.

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The list of project funders. Compete Columbus is also one of the funders.

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This is a photo submitted by Bryan Fenstermacher on the Creative Columbus page on Facebook. The photo is of seats in the Ohio Theater. In the presentation, Jung used this slide to talk about the audience for the research product, which includes not just the funders, but also the community at large, ranging from policymakers to individual businesses.

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This is Richard Florida, author of the Rise of the Creative Class. Ever since the book’s publication in 2002, a number of cities have done research on their creative economy or workforce. Definitions of who or what is creative have varied. Florida’s definition is quite broad, including fields such as law, accounting, and engineering. Creative Columbus is primarily focused on arts and design fields.

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Many people might include video game designers and animators as part of the creative economy. But what about the software engineers?

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Many people would include theater actors, producers, and lighting designers. But what about ushers?

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Do scientists count?

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This is a matrix of industries and occupations showing different ways of how the creative economy can be viewed with regard to the secondary data (i.e. government statistics). Should the accountant at the graphic design firm count? After all, it’s that particular creative industry that’s generating the accounting job, right? But this logic would exclude the graphic designer at the accounting firm. A focus on occupations would be more about the creative workforce or talent base, regardless of where they’re housed. Creative Columbus will analyze the data both ways, industries and occupations. During the presentation, an audience member raised the point that small creative businesses often have people doing both creative and non-creative functions, the graphic design and the bookkeeping. This is the type of situation where the survey can help with nuances that wouldn’t be reflected in the secondary data.

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This is another framework for looking at the creative economy, almost a supply chain perspective. A sculptor designs and makes the sculpture. An arts council (support services) may be helping to finance that work. The sculpture will be displayed and sold at an art gallery. Most people would say that all these different players are part of the creative economy. Let’s look at toys. The designer behind Elmo could count as part of the creative economy. But people would probably be more wary of including the corporate support behind the designer, the mass production of the toy, and businesses like Toys R Us at the retail end. And then there are always exceptions. What about small-scale or artisanal production of toys. What about Rivet Gallery?

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The 6-digit number is the most detailed level of NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code for government data on industries. In this example, the data doesn’t allow us to differentiate a restaurant like Tip Top, which is a hub of the local creative community, versus TGI Fridays. In fact, most of the restaurants in code 722110 are more like the TGI Fridays of the world. The secondary data analysis would therefore have to exclude this code. However, the online survey can help fill this gap.

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Another example: 35 East Gay Street (the Vault) versus a strip mall. A company like E.V. Bishoff Co. plays an important role in the creative economy by leasing space for musicians and artists. But code 531312 mostly consists of businesses like the strip mall manager.

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In addition to discussions of how to define the creative economy, the Phase I focus groups and interviews also talked about our regional creative economy’s strengths and weaknesses. CRP identified four main themes (in this and the next 3 slides) from the comments. The themes tend to be mirror images in the their strengths and weaknesses.

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A sad attempt by Jung to make the survey look like a movie ad?

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The main themes of the survey.

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Jung showed the homepage of the Michigan Cool Cities survey as a design example for the Creative Columbus survey. This survey has a cover page with graphics resembling Esurance or Lavalife, but the survey itself is generic in design.

Special thanks to the Cool Cities program of the State of Michigan for giving us permission to show the page on the posted version of this presentation.

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As noted earlier, Creative Columbus covers the Central Ohio region. This is a challenge for the survey and report in considering geography. These shapes are Union County, Upper Arlington, and King-Lincoln. Inner neighborhoods like King-Lincoln or the Short North have a density of creative businesses and people that would be difficult to illustrate if we mapped Central Ohio at scale. Meanwhile, the outer counties would take up much of the space, even if they don’t contain as much information (due to density of population, businesses, etc.).

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One example of dealing with the geography quandary is transit maps. Here, Jung showed a map of the London Underground as an example. Mapmakers for transit systems face the same challenges as this project, with a density of stations and other information in the central part of city, but much lower density as the routes radiate outwards. They tackle this problem by not drawing to geographic scale. Creative Columbus will use a mix of maps drawn to scale versus more abstract formats. Special thanks to Transport for London for giving us permission to show the page on the posted version of this presentation.

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The Phase I focus groups and interviews and the project’s advisory group have all mentioned a desire for a visual character in the report and other documents. One implication is the use of photos and images, especially any that represent Central Ohio’s creative scene. We welcome the submission of photos and images for use in this project. And we are dead serious about properly attributing any images we use. Thanks!

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Creative Columbus presentation  

A background of the project and what's to come. The presentation also includes some results from Phase I focus groups and interviews.

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