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Author Archives: Natalya Wells

A few weeks ago we hosted a Welcome Workshop for all memebers of this year’s Creative Business Mentor Network. Here are some photos to give a sense of the event – if it looks like people were talking all day, that’s because they almost always were. The atmosphere was hugely positive and buzzy and the idea of the ‘Network’ was immediately brought to life.

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We have recently announced the results of our matchmaking in this year’s Creative Business Mentor Network. From an impressive array of applications, 25 companies were selected from sectors ranging from TV & Film and Games, to Publishing, Advertising and Digital Media, to gain the rare opportunity of one-to-one mentoring with some of the most successful business people in the creative sector over the next 6-12 months. The companies range from young start-ups to established companies with years of experience. What they all have in common is a desire to improve the business side of their company without compromising their creative output.

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A £30,000 award launched this week by Bristol’s Watershed Centre celebrates the notion of the ‘playable city’, by supporting the creation of a new work to be installed in a public space in Bristol next summer. The challenge: to ‘use creative technologies in surprising and engaging ways’ to reflect the theme of ‘playability’.

The competition will ultimately be a way to explore what this concept might be: organizer Claire Reddington has made clear that the meaning has yet to be defined. She does state in their news blog that a ‘playable city’ is imagined as a counterpoint to a ‘smart city’. Rather than focusing on ‘infrastructure, services and monitoring’, ‘people, hospitality and openness will be key’ to creating ‘a place where residents and visitors have permission to reconfigure and rewrite places, attractions and stories’.

The distinction between the ‘smart city’ and ‘playable city’ is an interesting one.

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Despite their different appearances, on a functional level, every city around the world is the same: they are connected by their need to provide services to large numbers of people in a condensed area. It is clear that digital public service innovation is something that tends to be initiated on a local level, as citizens respond to problems they observe in their own environment. However, cities are reluctant to look to each other for the use of technological applications and platforms, which results in them wasting time and money in essentially reinventing the wheel. We don’t see nearly enough sharing and collaboration, whether nationally or internationally.

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