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Innovation Consultancy
outside the mainstream

Focus Questions

1.What traits should be considered when trying to make an idea lucrative for commercial release?

2.How will the qualities that a creator cares about translate into value in a commercial market ?

3.When entrepreneurial pursuits clash with artistic achievement, what are the methods to deal with the tension?

 I. Conscious VS Commerce

For many entrepreneurial creatives (who also consider themselves artistic or culturally impactful) a tense intersection appears in their work. At this crossroads a concept becomes both a conscious expression and a consumer product. The coupling of the qualities attached to both involve contrasting mindsets that create a problematic space economically. 

From an economist view, devotion to the expression of a concept correlates with a close relationship to how it comes together. While this expressive achievement may have an impact on a consumer, it does not have a close relationship to a customer’s ultimate reception and valuation. The originality displayed, harmony achieved, technical prowess or any other finesse of execution may completely go over a customer’s head, which presents a tension.

Critical thinking:  Does one channel energy into a conscious expression that may go unnoticed and undervalued or into monotonous commerce—proximity, convenience, supply, service. How should the two modes be negotiated and compromised?

Conscious Expressive TraitsMonotonous Commerce Traits
Intrinsic autonomy
Customer Service
Figure 2.1

 II. Negotiating Deeply Caring & Capitalism

An economist will say that being a ‘starving artist’ is a decision, being the result of an imbalance between valuing the outcome over the income. This is because for most artists/social impact leaders it’s not JUST about the money. In fact, it may not be about the money at all. In many of these cases, this translates into earning less than their experience, skill or education would justify. Through an economic lens being a “starving artist” is a troubling reality that underlines questions like: “Is this art for art’s sake”, “Is one willing to work with a broker, agent, consultant or coach”, “Is the project a cooperative effort”, “Is this purely for expression” or “Does this warrant non traditional funding “. 

What’s On The Table

Figure 2.1 on the previous page lists traits that should be negotiated in the event that a concept is brought to consumer market to create profit, either by a liaison or by the visionary themselves. Negotiating the traits are unavoidable and any rejection to negotiation will often take the the options with the most satisfying potential off the table.

The wheeling and dealing between is securing that the visionary value is being brought to market, while also being cognizant that the product is exchanged at a price more than its costs to produce (both tangibly and intangible).

Negotiating the conscious expression and capitalist market is no cake walk. The challenges arise in the flexibility of the concept or because it’s hard to know how an idea will shake-out in its commercial traits. As nobody largely knows the future, the only thing that can be known now are what traits are the concept’s priorities for negotiation. 

Critical thinking:  Should there be more care placed on customer needs or personal actualization? What are creative and commercial priorities? How can the two co-exist? And if they cannot, is making a living from the vision a priority?  

Reference: Caves, Richard E. “Creative Industries: Contracts between Art and Commerce. Cambridge”, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2000. Print.

Creative Economy: Part 2—Deeply Caring VS Commerce