Fusion can be seen as the collective name for a number of the effects of digital disruption.
The explosion of digital technology in the Creative Industries has changed workflows, business models and relationships as well as the skills required to manage them.
By looking at fusion from the different perspectives of employees and employers, students and educators we can get a more complete picture of what fusion is and how it is changing our industries.
Our report on Fusion Skills proposes four working definitions of fusion to help inform and give shape to the debate.
The four aspects of fusion below can be complementary, overlapping, contradictory or completely distinct.
Fusing key expertise, knowledge and experience in individuals
When Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman of Google) delivered the MacTaggart lecture at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival in 2011 he was the first non-broadcast or production professional to give the lecture. This reflected technology's increasing influence over the Creative Industries. To succeed in these fused sectors the industries will need a fused workforce.
Watch the lecture below:
In his lecture Schmidt expressed the importance of the polymath - a person with expertise in a number of different areas.
If the UK's creative businesses want to thrive in the digital future, you need people who understand all facets of it integrated from the very beginning.
Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google
Education systems in the UK generally separate arts and science subjects, encouraging students to focus on one or the other at an early age. In order to teach the skills needed in the future technological and digital changes need to be embraced and scientific and creative skills fused.
Fusing industry and higher education together
Bringing businesses and educational institutions together is mutually beneficial.
Companies stay up to date with research, development and innovation, and also meet prospective employees before they graduate. Higher education institutions get a deeper, up-to-date insight into industry and the skills they need to be teaching.
With higher university fees students are increasingly looking for courses that will fully prepare them for the workplace. Working on live briefs or going on placements in industry can be a real benefit to students, institutions and businesses.
The partnership between employers and higher education could be a more powerful alliance for supporting innovation in the Creative Industries, and for encouraging the fusion of new technologies and creative practices.
Creative Skillset work in course accreditation aims to signpost students and employers to courses that teach work-ready skills through a fusion of higher education and industry experience. These courses are awarded the Creative Skillset Tick.
Fusing the different parts of the creative media industries together
As different creative industries converge and overlap there is a lot of space for innovation but also complex evolutions that may be hard to make sense of. Sometimes it is difficult to predict where new technologies will take existing products, workflows or business models.
In the same sense it is difficult to predict the effect changing industries may have on each other. Practitioners from the Creative Industries and the economy in general need opportunities and spaces in which to collaborate and see the effects they could have on each others work.
The hope is this would lead to innovative new methods of problem solving and thinking creatively for all industries.
Creating fusion management skills
There are many different creative processes running through the different Creative Industries and it is difficult to conceive of a replicable, generic process that could be applied to the whole business of commercialising creativity.
In creating fusion management skills, whether the focus is on a particular sector or across a number of creative media industries, there would seem to be three principal issues.
- It is important to focus on a creative process, not just disparate creative skills.
- We must also find a home for that process whether that is a physical institution or a figurehead to champion its effectiveness.
- We must also focus on the value of this creative process and build its credibility.
The main goal of this activity is to instil the core skills of teamwork, communication, leadership and deliberate thinking.