Australia has the opportunity to spark a creative industries boom to help drive social and economic participation, accelerate innovation and productivity growth, and further deepen our already-rich social fabric.

The creative sector and related industries, including hospitality and tourism, are some of the most profoundly impacted in recent months with governments offering various levels of support and assistance. Notwithstanding the immense challenges ahead for the sector, we also recognise a rare opportunity to reset the conversation around the creative industries to support our path to prosperity and wellbeing in our new reality.

The focus now must not only be to rebuild our severely-affected arts sectors, but to find new ways to augment human and social capital through the creative industries. But we need a new mindset to fully harness this opportunity. This does not necessarily mean working harder or with less, but it does mean working smarter and more constructively and collaboratively across the creative sectors, industry and government to:

Re-imagine the purpose and impact of creativity

We have the opportunity to strategically reposition the creative sectors and elevate creativity as a core contributor to industry growth, prosperity and wellbeing, education, and skills development and adaptation. Clarifying and aligning stakeholders around this common purpose will be fundamental to build and sustain sector capacity, maturity and impact.

Forge partnerships and networks to build sector capacity

Collaboration has always been at the heart of the creative process but the creative sectors face many barriers to effective and sustained collaboration. Building, resourcing and leveraging a network based on common purpose and enabled by the right incentives is a pre-condition to lift sector capacity and capability and drive new opportunities.

Accelerate customer centricity and digital enablement

Creative industries can no longer just cater to visitors or audience members. Customers of the future and their expectations are rapidly evolving. Regardless of scale and sophistication, creative organisations and workforces must redefine the notion of their ‘customers’, put them at the centre of everything they do, and create seamless and digitally-enabled experiences that deliver value.

Transform service models and empower creative skills

In our new reality, we will continue to face accelerated social and economic change, technological innovation and disruption. The capacity for creative organisations and their workforces to adapt is key to thriving. Empowering creativity as an enabler of transformation will be critical to build service models, skills and workforces that can combine to meet these rapidly evolving challenges.

Lean in to risk and opportunity

To increase impact, we need to build a greater understanding and culture of risk taking and embed more innovative approaches to investment and risk management – one that incentivises and rewards strong performance and capability growth. Guided by purpose and impact, creative organisations will be better equipped to identify, understand, invest, and manage risk to respond to an evolving opportunity set.

Foster and reward creativity in our young people

Our children and young people are our greatest asset. Creativity will augment their toolkits and help them grow lifelong resilience, adaptability, and entrepreneurial mindsets. The creative industries have a critical role to play not only in a future world-class education, but also in enabling lifelong learning, development and skills adaptation to respond to new challenges and opportunities and evolving industry needs.

Starting a different conversation

As we emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns and as the economic and social policy agenda is reset for our new reality, we have a unique opportunity to start a different national conversation to empower our creative industries to thrive in our new reality. The value proposition and shared priorities outlined above provide a unifying lens to start this conversation.

Read the full report here.