The performing arts are at the centre of the creative industries, and the creative industries are at the heart of the knowledge economy, which is central to the Lisbon Agenda, so it should be unsurprising that Britten Sinfonia spends time developing its contacts with agencies which support this activity. The East of England Development Agency is one of these and EEDA’s Destination Growth day last week brought together some 700 business leaders for an intensive burst of sessions on innovation and creativity, and a chance to network and build connections.
Keynote presentations from Jerry Greenfield (of Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream) and Gerald Ratner, anchored by Sarah Montague of BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, were highlights, as was the opportunity to meet business leaders face-to-face for ‘Conversation under Concorde’ (the day was held in the newly-refurbished AirSpace at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford).
But for me, the best hour was the chance to attend a seminar by one of my management gurus, Edward de Bono, the proponent not only of challenging thinking but of challenging ways of thinking. Management fads come and go (often in cycles, often simply with changed - and more tortured - semantics), but I reckon occasional forays into de Bono’s writings (backed up by Lucy Kellaway’s incisive column each Monday in the FT) are pretty much all you need to help run an organisation effectively. After the seminar I had a chance to chat to him. Sadly, I can’t report in any detail on the conversation: his line in viola jokes is extensive and definitely inappropriate here.
The funding of the arts is a complex mix of funding from public sources, from trusts and foundations, and from individual donors. But investment from the corporate sector - together with partnerships with innovative and creative organisations both inside and outside the creative industries sector - is the crucial fourth element. Destination Growth was an excellent opportunity to reinforce our commitment to developing this strand of our activity.