The different fields of culture are often collectively called the creative industries. From this it is easy to conclude that they are meaningful wherever creativity is – and where would it not be.
When we talk about the creative industries, it is usually from the point of view of economics: what is their impact on national economy and how can they support and strengthen other sectors of our economy. As the Minister for Culture, I too have emphasised the importance entrepreneurship in the culture sector, and the financial importance of the creative industries.
Creative industries is a general term for companies that make use of cultural creativity, and the creative industries comprise of a very diverse group of people, companies and other actors. In a report commissioned and published las summer by the Government of Finland, the creative industries were divided into four sections: Creative and cultural products, creative content, creative services and actors focused on creative environments and platforms. All of these have their own strengths and weaknesses. According to the report, the typical weaknesses are the small size of the domestic market and the companies, export, and the level of business skills. The typical strengths were the scalability of products and services, know-how and making use of digitalization.
My own view is that the ecosystems of the creative industries are not at all in a bad shape. We Finns are interested in culture both as a hobby and as mode of consumption. Our culture and art education is of a high quality, and we have a lot of entrepreneurship in the field. Certainly there are both weaknesses and challenges to be conquered, but they are of a kind that can be influenced with political choices.
I remain convinced, in fact, I am more convinced than ever, that it is worth it for the state to invest in the creative industries. In fact, all our benchmark countries do it. The significance of the creativity and skill – of intangible capital – in all industries keeps growing. Good evidence of this is the fact that in certain countries companies’ investments in intangible capital have already surpassed the amounts invested in tangible capital such as machinery and other equipment. Equally, a majority of the value of companies is tied to their intangible capital. In Finland we are largely unanimous in the opinion that there is a need to restructure our industries. I do not see a way of achieving this without investing in creativity and the creative industries.
Financial reasons are not the only basis for the need to strengthen creative industries. Our knowledge on culture’s effect on health and wellbeing, and its role in strengthening cohesion and democracy in the society is ever increasing. The more we research these positive effects culture has, the clearer it is that culture as a hobby and mode of consumption is good for people and their societies.
Without strong creative industries the whole potential of culture cannot be utilised. Of course, culture is not a panacea, curing every ailment, but it is obvious that we do not yet understand its whole meaning to society, or utilise it enough.
When I entered the role of Minister for Culture, nearly two years ago, I was very ambitious in my goals for strengthening the creative industries. I have not given up on those plans, but I am well aware that executing significant changes is more like running a marathon than a 100 metre sprint. I will continue my work until the end of this government term, and I remain certain that the work done thus far will bear fruit in the future also.
Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport