Forum for the Future to deliver CIKTN sustainability initiative

A new project from the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network aims to galvanise the creative industries into becoming more sustainable and help other sectors become more sustainable too.

The CIKTN’s sustainability project – titled ’Can the creative industries lead sustainable innovation?’ – is supported by sustainability consultancy Forum for the Future. It is one of 14 beacon projects being developed by the CIKTN.

The CIKTN is one of 14 knowledge transfer networks supported by the Technology Strategy Board with the aim of encouraging business-led innovation across the UK.

Forum for the Future was selected to deliver the project following a pitch, according to Chris Sherwin, the consultancy’s innovation director. Sherwin says Forum for the Future will work on the project until October, andhas responsibility for delivering its nature and structure.
The programme is still in the early consultation stages, and any concrete projects or deliverables are yet to be settled on. Jeremy Davenport, deputy director of the CIKTN, says, ’We’re not quite sure what the outcomes will look like right now. We want to look at scenarios and what they will mean for the creative industries.’

Davenport says the project will go through a stage of baseline work to establish the current state of sustainability in the creative industries, before a stage of consultation with industry. There will then be workshops and social media engagement to gather ideas, before the programme’s objectives are set.

The initiative launched last week at an event chaired by Forum for the Future co-founder Jonathon Porritt. The event also featured keynote speeches from film producer Lord Puttnam and Sebastian Conran, chairman of the CIKTN advisory board.

Porritt also chaired a roundtable debate, which took its lead from the project title, and featured contributions from Professor Frances Corner, head of college at the London College of Fashion; Michael Pawlyn, director of Exploration Architecture, Franny Armstrong, director of the Age of Stupid and founder of the 10:10 movement; and Dan Burgess, strategy director at Naked Communications. Also appearing, via video link-up from California, was Ideo chief executive Tim Brown.

The speakers referred to sustainability projects they have been involved in, with Armstrong talking about the 10:10 programme, which counts 60 per cent of local authorities as well as the Government among its signatories, and Pawlyn referring to Exploration projects as well has his work on the Eden Project while at architect Grimshaw.

Davenport says, ’The creative industries are very positive. The way they work is very challenge-led and they also look at things from the
The panel also attempted to frame the sustainability debate and draw out some of the issues. This included a suggestion from the crowd to drop the word ’sustainability’ and substitute it with ’reducability’.

The next step in the project will be to carry out a series of workshops and solicit opinion on the project through the CIKTN’s website. Another meeting will then be held in the autumn to discuss these findings and develop plans for further projects.

Sherwin says, ’Quite a lot of the process is inviting and encouraging the creative industries to get involved. It’s very important that it’s delivered by them.’

The CIKTN’s beacon projects

  • Future digital content experiences
  • Future digital content distribution
  • Digital production and creative collaboration
  • New tools for digital creativity
  • Unleashing user creativity
  • Making data work creatively
  • Bridging the digital and physical worlds
  • Exploiting new materials and functionality
  • Unlocking knowledge transfer
  • Intellectual property and open source
  • Investment, business models and growth
  • Global markets
  • Sustainability
  • Creativity everywhere

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