Creativity and Innovation Workshops: Risk and Innovation

16 April 2009, 09:00 - 17:30

CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane

The first in the series of AHRC-sponsored workshops on Creativity and Innovation. Click here to download the AHRC Report on Humanities Research and Innovation

Convenors:  Dr Lee Wilson (CRASSH)
Dr James Leach (Aberdeen)

Competitive pressures generate heterogeneous forms of innovation. Is it possible to evaluate unconventional projects? The term innovation is heavily associated with products and technologies. These may be evaluated in terms of patents and econometrics, but intellectual processes and organisational transformations are more elusive. Successful solutions to problems in the fields of science and technology often come from different disciplines (Lakhani et al, The Value of Openness, 2007), while artistic creativity can stimulate shifts in traditional patterns of analytical thinking. How do we measure these aspects of innovation in the Arts and Humanities? 

How can public organisations foster creativity without risking investment in areas that may not produce immediate outputs? The open-endedness of creative innovation poses a challenge to traditional modes of evaluation, since an element of risk is inherent in creative processes and innovative research. While the risk associated with open-ended innovation has gained acceptance in the economic world, there is little tolerance for risk in the Arts and Humanities, where it is often written out of funding proposals and replaced by specified goals and cost-effective outputs. A tension exists between public funding regimes and practices of research that call for ‘open innovation’ or long-term prospects. 

Questions to be posed include:
•    Are existing metrics adequate for assessing innovation?
•    How can we assess the impact of knowledge transfer processes on the innovation economy?
•    How far do instrumental ideas about knowledge apply to humanities research and practice-based innovation?
•    Does an emphasis on goals and outputs constrain innovative practice?
•    Can innovation in the Arts and Humanities be assessed in terms of economic impact? What are its transferable benefits?
•    What is the cultural value and meaning of creative innovation?

Confirmed Speakers

Robert Dingwall (Professor and Director, Institute for Science and Society, Nottingham)
Alan Hughes (Director, Centre for Business Research, Cambridge)
Pat Kane (Author The Play Ethic)
Giles Lane ( Proboscis)
Ruth Levitt  (RAND Europe
Nell Munro (School of Law, Nottingham)
Sally Jane Norman (Director, Culture Lab, University of Newcastle)
Kate Oakley (City University, Demos)
Seymour Rowarth-Stokes (Pro VC, University for the Creative Arts)
Dani Salvadori (Director of Entreprise and Innovation, Central St Martins College of Art and Design)
Calvin Taylor  (Professor of Cultural Industries, University of Leeds) 
Brenden Walker (Director, Aerial

Risk and Innovation Workshop  Provisional Programme

Location : CRASSH Date : 16 April 2009

Thursday 16 April





Welcome and Introduction
Mary Jacobus (Director, CRASSH) 


Metrics, Regulation and Evaluation: the 'impact culture'

Artistic Freedom versus Public Safety: research ethics regulation in the visual and performing arts
Robert Dingwall (Director, Institute for Science and Society, University of Nottingham)
Nell Munro (University of Nottingham) 

Contribution to the "Metrics and Evaluation: the Impact Culture"
Ruth Levitt (RAND, Europe)

Impact Evaluation and Regulation in the Republic of Creativity
Calvin Taylor (Professor of Cultural Industries, University of Leeds)

Chair: David Good (University of Cambridge) 


    Tea/Coffee Break


    Goals and Outposts: Constraints of Innovation?

    Knowledge Exchange: What Acedemics and Business Want and Do
    Alan Hughes (Director, Centre for Business Research, Cambridge)

    Conversations and Collaborations: in defence of the talking shop
    Kate Oakley (City University, Demos)

    Thrill and the Perception of Risk
    Brendan Walker (Director, Aerial)

    Chair: David Good (University of Cambridge)




    Pat Kane (Author The Play Ethic)
    Taking Reality Lightly: the challenge of play to metrics of creativity 

    Chair:  James Leach (University of Aberdeen)


    Tea/coffee break


    Are there Transferable Benefits of Arts and Humanities Research? 

    Who, What and Why: Ensuring Knowledge transfer is also Innovation
    Dani Salvadori (Director of Entreprise and Innovation, Central St Martins College of Art and Design)

    Trust and Evaluation
    Giles Lane (Proboscis)

    Mind the Gap: Dissemination versus Transformation in Arts and Humanities Research
    Seymour Roworth-Stokes (Pro VC, University for the Creative Arts)

    How can we Ensure the Transferability of New Patterns of Behaviour?
    Sally Jane Norman  (Director, Culture Lab, University of Newcastle) 

    Chair: James Leach


    Open discussion