Nice catchphrase: but how to deliver?
One writes in London and the other in LA, and they collaborate on iChat. On the line is a third person who just notes down the good ideas. That, as a model of how to do creativity, is original and modern.
It struck a chord because yesterday I got a copy of the new slim volume from NESTA setting the direction of Manchester as ‘Original Modern’.
A great phrase – but how can Manchester deliver? How can a whole city be like those film guys with their ichat and their global hits?
That really matters to Media City – about which I am embarrassingly enthusiastic. Pretty soon we won’t be discussing buildings, connectivity and bandwidth any more. We’ll be asking: what’s Media City going to create for decades to come, and how is it going to deliver on ‘original modern’?
To answer that, look to Hollywood, the original ‘original modern’.
The early Hollywood movies were made at the turn of the 20th century in the barn of a small ranch, roughly where Sunset Boulevard is now. Extras were real cowboys, and so tough that the actors were seriously terrified that they would be killed in the gunfights. And even 40 years later, innovation in Hollywood was still done anywhere but in grand buildings.
Orson Welles said: “Hollywood is the only industry, even taking in soup companies, which does not have laboratories for the purpose of experimentation.” Walt Disney said Mickey Mouse popped out of his mind onto a drawing pad on a train ride at a point when his business career was more or less in ruins.
So they didn’t build Hollywood by building buildings. It was about individual creativity. State planning didn’t create the movies, it was the success of movies that necessitated the state planning.
Now we need that creative primacy in Manchester. And to stimulate it, we also need another thing: money. Risk money actually – venture capital.
A lot of public cash has gone into putting the BBC into Media City. It’s a fantastic place. But it won’t be the true asset it needs to be unless it has much more creativity than just the BBC.
New ventures need the same level of backing from the public sector and private venture capital as the BBC got (private venture capital is very weak in Manchester relative to London, let alone Silicon Valley, which has 40% of all the world’s venture capital money). Light that fuse and you’ll see some original modernity.
Alex Connock blogs about the media sector for Grant Thornton. You can read his previous posts here
You might also like:
* Let’s all play monkey tennis! - As the BBC and other companies move into MediaCityUK in Manchester, finding the ideas for content to fill those cavernous offices and digital pipes will be more critical than ever.