Creative Camp Design, Helsinki 2014

As a cultural and creative entrepreneur being creative isn’t enough for success; one needs to develop a concept as well as contacts to access creative offerings. At Creative Camp Helsinki, organized by the Goethe-Institut Helsinki in cooperation with the Helsinki Design Week from 7 to 14 September 2014, contacts were established and a variety of methods presented, but furthermore it was a time to regain confidence in instincts and to work with the knowledge gained through life experiences.

Stories and perspectives

Maike Gosch, from Story4good, introduced storytelling as a communication tool for effective, moving and creative marketing and PR work for own ideas, products, services and personalities. But storytelling is more than communication. It also opens a fresh perspective on ideas, facts, events, people and the society that surrounds us. Nowadays there is a demand for new forms of communication and creatives are suited to this new tool that draws on creative writing, film dramaturgy and mythology.

But stories can be told and understood in many ways. Design Thinking is a method to solve problems and develop concepts based on the idea that only multidisciplinary teams – with different perspectives – are capable to develop true innovations. Dietmut Bartl and Lisa Zoth introduced the basic methods and techniques of the Design Thinking process and gave insights into Dark Horse’s Design Thinking culture, an innovative attitude that breaks with the tradition in many organizations.

Leading and taking decisions

Reinhard Strömer, from u-institut, provided an initial insight into the concept of the “inner team” – which might be described as an aesthetic approach to self-management. Recognizing that we have at least “two souls housed within our breast” one can learn to listen to the inner team’s discussions. An understanding of the resulting “inner group dynamic”, combined with the ability to create an inner team, is a major source of strength and clarity.

Entrepreneurs have often to make decisions under unpredictable circumstances. Research in the field of cognitive psychology especially by D. Kahnemann and A. Tversky has shown that errors in judgment, wrong conclusions and repeated false assumptions systematically influence our decisions in the wrong direction. Michael Bleks, from u-institut, explained how to recognize these mechanisms and effects, to develop the opportunity to make better decisions and to better understand the decisions of others.

Learning and negotiating with each other

Peer Group Supervision is an effective form of leaderless counselling. Reinhard Strömer and Michael Bleks invited the participants to confer with one another by reciprocating key topics of their professional everyday lives, in order to provide solutions for difficult situations. The exchange with each other helps to gain new ideas for work life and new perspectives for well-worn behaviour patterns, to reflect on management and work style as well as to improve the professional interaction with clients, customers and employees.

Negotiations – whether related to acquisition, sales meetings, conferences, board or staff meetings, or contact with customers – are all about communication and interaction; balancing interests; harmonizing mutual claims; compromise and the ability to make one’s case. We have to define our own goals, wishes and intentions and represent our own position. But it is just as important for us to understand the motivations, interests and intentions of our counterparts and to develop empathy for their perspective. Thus it makes sense to differentiate between the individual and the “thing” to be negotiated.

Michael Bleks explored with the participants for different scenarios the prerequisites for success, the surrounding situation/limitations and practical guidelines that have proven effective. In addition a selection of criteria for success were discussed. The experiences of participants were incorporated together with a review of practical examples.

Future without prediction

Successful entrepreneurship does not need special talent or innate competencies. It can be learned. Reinhard Strömer introduced Effectuation, a method to shape the future without even trying to predict it. Therefore we have to dismiss traditional myths of “the entrepreneurial personality” and academic concepts of business models. Instead we make use of the well-proven practical know-how of successful entrepreneurs who apply five main principles, which are especially well suited for entrepreneurs in the cultural industries, as they imply mindfulness, an experimental orientation and open communication.

Between studios, exhibitions and shows

The Helsinki Design Week was great to get in contact with designers, see the newest fashion trends and experience a lot about the processes backstage. What does a designer’s workroom look like? What does a clothing designer do before the collection hits the shops? As well it was an event to share ideas, inspirations and visions having the opportunity to discuss them with experts.

In cooperation with:

Photos: © Goethe-Institut Helsinki