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Creative³ and the ingenuity of success

Creative³, for those unlucky enough to miss it, had some pretty pertinent advice for budding entrepreneurs.

“The underlying message of the event is that creativity counts,” MC and Archipelago Architect’s Peter Edwards said. “It’s a powerful, powerful thing.”

“A lot of the people in the room are budding entrepreneurs, so you don’t have to teach anyone here why creativity is important,” he said. “But what a lot of the speakers are doing are helping them make a bridge between creativity and entrepreneurial opportunity.”

Held at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre September 18th-19th, the event highlighted the growing interdisciplinary intersection within creative industries, and attracted a variety of interstate and overseas guests. While presentation styles and content varied widely, they all reinforced the idea that creative business practices and a willingness to breach your comfort zone become more important as disciplines become more converged and tech-heavy.

Speakers ranged from app-creator DWNLD Media’s Alexandra Keating to laboratory/creative agency/production house Grumpy Sailor’s James Boyce, to Bupa Australia’s in-house design consultants Jared Fossey and Kate Symons. Presentation topics varied from personal experience and general advice, but all spoke to the essential creative elements of business.

“It’s a lot of people sharing their own experience and the core things that they’ve gotten out of that,” Alexandra Keating said. “And trying to put it in a way that people can adapt to different sectors.”

““Everything that I’ve taken away has been about tenacity, and just not giving up,” speaker and ImageBrief’s Simon Moss said. “Every single story has seemed to be about being tenacious and taking risks, and unless you take a risk, you get stuck in mediocrity.”

A TEDx alumni, Edwards himself spoke of his firm’s problems with designing an area of Maroochydoore and his solution of a city-planning workshop, where council members interacted with models of the city.

“So that idea about collaboration, which has got a lot of contemporary momentum now, in the way that a lot of businesses operate,” Edwards said. “Across the disciplines is as important as vertical collaboration.”

Another highlight was Brisbane’s Ben Fogarty recounting the foundation of his digital news application company Shorthand and his experiences working with Guardian UK on interactive stories such as “England v Australia”.

As he learned that publishers were “still discovering if they want to do these things”, Fogarty became involved with journalists and stressed direct collaboration in a storytelling was integral in validating his storytelling technology.

“Rather than chasing dollars, chase the validation of the product,” Fogarty said. “You need to validate before you do anything.

In something of a sticking point for one audience member, who spoke of the presentations privately, a number of speakers celebrated the importance of failure; Fogarty stressed the necessity of identifying failed ideas as quickly as possible, and Boyce said, “For every success we experience, there are 50 things that fail that, to be honest, were a little bit shit”.

While the interstate entrepreneur appreciated the honesty, he did express frustration that the lessons of failure were not discussed in detail, and that the term had become synonymous with learning in and of itself.

The event was capped off with a workshop, overseen by Holition‘s Jonathan Chippindale, on applying creative thinking to new fashion technologies. Audience members pitched ideas on innovative ways to become trendy; ideas ranged from virtual outfits to clothes that warmed up in return for automated charity donations.

On the event’s future, Edwards stressed the importance of retaining momentum.

“We had Alex Keating stand on stage and say ‘When she was 19, putting together [GoFundraise], which was very, very successful, she didn’t have a Creative³ to go to’,” Edwards said. “And these are the leaders of industry telling that Creative³ is important, that it’s valuable, that it has currency, as the kind of glue to hold this burgeoning, frameless industry together.

For more from Creative³, check out Alexandra Keating or Simon Moss‘ presentation.

About Chris Woods

Chris Woods (@tophermwoods) is the Tech Street Journal's Editor-in-Chief. He lives in Brisbane, has worked in places like Sydney and New York (State of), and will someday update his media-news blog.