The Creative State North West — News & Events

Brokering Creative Advantage; key findings from the 4CNW Programme

20 August 2014 — OpportunitiesIrelandNorthern IrelandScotlandEurope

As we bring the Creative State North West 4CNW programme to a close, we are delighted to publish two key reports; the final report Brokering Creative Advantage and the Independent Evaluation Report.




Brokering Creative Advantage is the final report on the outcomes of the pilot 4CNW Programme, carried out by Sligo County Council during 2012 and 2013.It summarises the benefits and impact of the project and captures the lessons learned, key issues and challenges that have arisen, and proposes a framework and recommendations for future action.




The Independent Evaluation of the programme found that it has demonstrated the merits of what creative input can give to business in terms of value, changed thinking, opening mindsets towards implementing new approaches to problems and thereby enhancing capacity competitiveness and innovation in industry. Therefore there is strong merit in the continuation and expansion of 4CNW actions.

Key findings include;

• The operation of 4CNW demonstrated a huge latent capacity for the application of creative services and input across business sectors. It showed a lack of capacity for businesses to define their creative needs and a lack of awareness of the depth of creative talent available in their local region. It provides evidence of the need for capacity building mechanisms to grow knowledge and awareness within industry as to the value of creative services.

• The application of the talent voucher fund allowed the value of creative services to be showcased and demonstrated. It created new avenues to markets and clients for creative industries while developing new solutions for participating business.

• The holistic, bespoke business supports offered by 4CNW provided a co-ordinated and targeted response, towards stimulating new markets, enhancing competitiveness and innovation among many small firms across a range of enterprise sectors.

Both the Independent Evaluation and this follow-up significant report strongly suggests there is merit in the continuation of the process of bringing together the skills of both the business and the creative sectors in the periphery regions and in elevating the process from a regional to a national level.

Both reports illustrate that the brokering of creativity clearly creates better business advantage.

Next Steps
4CNW was a two-year pilot programme, but as you will see on page 83 of the report, we met with the Minister for Small Business and officials in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in 2013 in order to define and position the 4CNW programme. We also consulted extensively with a number of national government departments and key enterprise and cultural agencies. The purpose was to highlight the potential of this programme and initiatives of its type as a driver for business innovation and change. As part of this process the 4CNW report will be disseminated widely to relevant parties at regional, national and transnational levels and to the European Commission over the coming weeks.

ECIA Policy Findings
4CNW has also been selected by ECIA as a model of good practice and will feature as a case study in its final report, which will be launched at the closing conference of the European Creative Industries Alliance, November 27-28, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The conference will provide a platform to further showcase the innovative approach to cross-sectoral understanding promoted by 4CNW to a wider audience and in particular to those agencies with responsibility for developing policy in this area.

We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest and involvement with the programme to date, and hope that you will find the reports of interest. If you do, please share them!

All our thanks from the 4CNW project team (l-r below); Devona Finnegan, Aisling Smyth, Aoife Flynn and Programme Director Mary McAuliffe.

Brokering Creative Advantage; key findings from the 4CNW Programme




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4CNW Directory is Live

19 June 2013 — OpportunitiesIrelandNorthern IrelandScotlandEurope

The Creative Directory is now live. Profiling over 180 Creative Suppliers from Ireland North West, Northern Ireland and Scotland you can browse the Directory by location, creative service or company name. 

You can access it on desktop here:

or if you are on a mobile device you can acess it at Where you can tap to add it to your homescreen as a directory app. 



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Grandma’s Design - Revisiting Europe’s Baking heritage

04 January 2013 — OpportunitiesEurope

Grandma’s Design - Revisiting Europe’s Baking heritage

We love this idea that we heard about on How to Grow - a new creative project called "Grandma’s Design" which is designed to preserve and revitalise Europe's traditional baking traditions.

They've invited a whole host of grandmothers from Belgium, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey and asked them to share, and tell the tale, of their favourite local recipe. Not only that but they've filmed them cooking the recipe, so you can hear all about grandfather Angelo from Beppa - now a grandmother herself - while she talks you through the recipe for Happiness Cake in gorgeous italian - with subtitles - with super shots of her locale, or Corn Bread from Turkish great grandma Gulizar - who doesnt even remember how many grand children she has exactly, but still bakes a mean bread.

With over 70 Grandma's filmed on the site, the project doesn't only want to preserve the hertiage however, the "Design" part of the project is the contemporary aspect. They are inviting food designers to depart from the grandma’s original recipe to create a new (baking) concept or product. In other words, the soul of the grandmother’s recipe and story will be passed on and renewed through a contemporary design product. 

The Grandma’s Design competition is open to all professional designers and they can choose from five food design categories. A professional jury will evaluate all applications and decide on the winners and honourable mentions in each category. More information and competition regulations can be found at

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Brokering Creative Advantage; key findings from the 4CNW Programme