Creatives are quicker to pick up on trends
Machine power, creativity and convergence: a conversation
Vienna’s reputation as a culture and history hotspot is well known around the world. Its thriving start-up scene –
particularly in the information and communication technology sector – less so. And yet the creative industry has an important hand in that area as well. As Gerhard Hirczi, managing director of the Vienna Business Agency put it: you need both.
Few think of Vienna as an information and communication technology (ICT) boomtown. Why is that industry so drawn to this city?
Gerhard Hirczi: As a world capital of culture and history, Vienna is known for something else. But there is also Vienna as a business location. The innovative milieu has ballooned in the last 15 to 20 years: with 200,000 students, Vienna is now the largest university city in the German-speaking world; the number of research companies and institutes has tripled to around 2,300; and the start-up sector has seen rapid growth over the past five to seven years, particularly in the ICT sector.
To what extent does Vienna benefit from more start-up activity?
Gerhard Hirczi: Enormously. Start-ups become an economic pillar in their own right, and can partly offset the slump in certain economic areas. When a city has a lot of innovative start-ups that find important solutions for society, it creates an international profile that we as promoters of trade and industry need. The word “business” shouldn’t only conjure images of Paris, London and Berlin – people should think of Vienna as well.
To what degree is the creative scene connected to IT?
Gerhard Hirczi: They are converging more and more. That was not always the case. Creatives and technologists used to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, now they work together. We are actively trying to encourage this through our participation as a business agency at VIENNA ART WEEK, for example, or by organizing a competition of digital formats by creatives. The creative economy plays an important role in digitization. We need human intelligence and creativity because technology will not be able to replace those particular areas. But then, machine power is in human hands. Take design or craft, for example: 3-D printing has made it easier to realize designs and prototypes. We’ve also noticed that creatives are often more flexible and willing to take risks, are quicker to pick up on trends and consequently tend to serve as role models.