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Positioning Ontario to Take Advantage of the Global Opportunity

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The demand for high-quality content and affordable, highest-quality production is predicted to drive the global entertainment and media market to all time highs. Ontario's Creative Cluster is well poised to take advantage of the growing global entertainment and media market, as well as realize a Canadian opportunity projected to grow to over $20 billion by 2012.13

Through a series of recent policy and program announcements, the Government of Ontario has signaled its intention to dramatically accelerate innovation and knowledge-intensive industries to ensure future prosperity.

Ministry of Tourism and Culture partners and agencies have been working to foster economic stimulus through a wide range of inter-ministerial activities, which reflect or reinforce the province's Open Ontario plan – a new vision, introduced in 2010, to expand Ontario's prosperity by engaging with the world and seeking new solutions to issues that impede Ontario's growth. The Open Ontario plan calls for expanded educational achievement, expanded infrastructure and development of the Ontario financial services market as a global leader. Many of the themes envisioned by the Open Ontario plan match the potential of the Creative Cluster to contribute an even greater share of provincial GDP, driven by world-class talent and private-sector investment.

Support of the Creative Cluster also links closely with the Ontario Innovation Agenda, a plan introduced in 2008 to seize the many global opportunities for economic growth by making the most of the research and innovation talent that rests with Ontario companies and institutions. The Agenda seeks to extract more value from the province's investment in its world-leading research institutions, attract and retain the best talent and accelerate the commercialization of new discoveries. Its goal includes developing a workforce with first-rate skills in creative arts and stimulating private investment in knowledge-based companies. New content production is the fundamental form innovation takes in the Creative Cluster; however, technological innovation is also a core element in the Creative Cluster (see Box 2). Digital media content creators, as well as other content producers in the Creative Cluster, have already formed closer links with colleges and universities to experiment with – and develop marketable products from – exciting new technologies like 3D film and television and advanced motion-capture technologies.

Through the province's Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund, more than $12 million has been invested since 2007 in “outside-the-box” thinking – new partnerships and collaborations to develop new ways of creating products, reaching audiences and doing business.

BOX 2: THE MEANING AND IMPORTANCE OF INNOVATION TO THE CREATIVE CLUSTER

While innovation has traditionally been thought of as activities more closely linked to science and technology, there is growing recognition of its applicability to the Creative Cluster. According to one accepted definition: "Innovation may be considered as the transformation of an idea into a new or improved product introduced on the market, into a new or improved operational process used in industry and commerce, or into a new approach to a social service."14

Art is creative, and the creation of any new music, TV, magazine product or any other piece of intellectual property is inherently a creative act that introduces a new product to the market. The development of new creative products or "right-brain" innovation is the core production process of creative industries. Rapid technological developments have created a complementary emphasis on "left-brain" or technological innovation. While innovation has never been absent from the Creative Cluster, its effect as a key driver, both within and across all cultural sectors, is now being felt as never before.

The rapid development of new creative products and ground-breaking innovations can have a very substantial effect on the economy. An environment that actively promotes and fosters innovation will attract talent and capital, and will grow faster than one where old ways persevere.

Because of the disrupting influence of digital technologies, the level of innovation in the Creative Cluster has risen significantly. Cultural industries are expanding the pace of innovation, as formats, distribution platforms and business models are continually evolving in response to the new opportunities. As the future of the Creative Cluster unfolds, closer collaboration with post-secondary institutions, researchers and partners throughout the Creative Cluster's value chain will be more important than ever.

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