First DC Network Meetup inspires with new creative business models & initiatives that tackled COVID-19

Article by Hanna Schäfer

The first edition of the newly established online DC Network Meetups took place on May, 23rd, 2021. More than 50 participants from 13 countries all over the world joined to learn more about inspiring creative initiatives and business models that tackle the COVID 19 crisis.

“Creativity doesn’t stop within the borders of certain industries or disciplines, it is a universal tool for innovation and offers high potential for cross-disciplinary problem solving processes.”

Thomas Schwara – Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing Baden-Württemberg

Dr. Petra Püchner, SPOC of the DC member-region Baden-Württemberg held the opening words for the meetup and introduced the welcome speakers Carlo Vuijlsteke (Districts of Creativity Network) & Thomas Schwara (Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing Baden-Württemberg). “Creativity doesn’t stop within the borders of certain industries or disciplines, it is a universal tool for innovation and offers high potential for cross-disciplinary problem solving processes. One current example from Baden-Württemberg is CureVac with its RNA Printer®”, starts Thomas Schwara his welcome speech and opens the meeting by taking the COVID 19 crisis in focus. 

Grim Fest: organising a COVID-proof festival

Starting from there, our first speaker on stage was Aage Stokholm, founder of Grim Fest, and the co-creator of the Corona concept: De Grimmeste aftner (Grim nights). Giving up was no option for Aage and his team. They established the format: De Grimmeste aftner. A percentage of the ticket revenue is divided amongst all parties, depending on their investment. The amount of profit of the events were thus in correlation with how many tickets were sold to the specific event. This format not only ensured the survival of Grim Fest but was so successful that it was adapted in several cities.


Watchapp: a new performing arts format and platform

Mathijs F. Scheepers introduced to us Watchapp. The micro entertainment format uses Whatsapp to give the user the possibility to follow an interactive play for 3 weeks as a “spy / voyeur”. The participants are members of a Whatsapp group where they follow the play as a spy on their mobile device. Every message, picture, GIF, link and film the artists send each other will be delivered to the participants in real-time. This format does not only fill the gap on cultural life, but also reaches a total new target group. Right now, they are working on new event formats such as documentaries in order to widen the offer for the audience.


Petersburg Concert: from organising concerts to cultural export consultancy

Petersburg-Concert is one of the largest concert organisations in Russia and was hit hard by the consequences of the pandemic. In reaction to the changing reality, they launched the Cultural Export Activity. The initiative aims to gather new experiences and knowledge for supporting activities of Petersburg Concert and to develop the city’s cultural exports. “Russia has a very vivid and diverse cultural background and we just need to use this.”, said Ekaterina Artyushkina (General Director of Petersburg Concert). Right now, they are exploring a algorithm for promotion of Russian cultural services abroad, they offer online & offline seminars, workshops for potential exporters and they are supporting a variety of exchanging experience formats.

Petersburg concerts

Pitchview: starting an app from scratch again

In the beginning of 2020, everything was looking really good for Pitchview and their product Pitchview Collect, an app to capture leads of trade fair contacts. The numbers of clients were rising and there was a lot of work in the pipeline. March 2020 changed everything. Jonas Reinsch and Frederic Sell (CEOs & founders) started from scratch and together with a client, they came up with a new product: Pitchview Projector. An app that allows the marketing team to easily create interactive presentations in-house, bridging the digital divide. “Really helpful was the convertible funding: Start-up BW Pro-Tect from the state Baden-Württemberg, which gave us the necessary financial security to start something new.”, said Frederic Sell.


MadeBrave: working from anywhere, forever

MadeBravers Can Now Work from Anywhere, Forever – The COVID19 Pandemic is changing the way we work, not just for now, but forever. That is what Andrew Dobbie, Founder/CEO of MadeBrave, truly believes and that’s why he changed the way his company works completely. MadeBrave introduced a “work from anywhere” policy, which will be applied in post-pandemic time, too. Furthermore, they also adapted the working environment of the existing physical office space. “Our office will be more a ‘destination’ for people when they want or need it and not a mandatory 9-5 office space. Therefore, we introduced new physical measures such as desk spacing and Zoom pods for increased privacy.” explained Andrew in his lecture.  Those actions opened MadeBrave to a wider group of potential employees, since they do not have to live in the same city or even in the same country.

About the DC Network Meetups

The DC Network Meetups are about bringing together professionals from the different DC Network-regions to discuss specific topics related to cross-disciplinary creativity, innovation & entrepreneurship. The idea is to share good practices/inspiring examples/projects and stimulate knowledge exchange.

Subscribe to our mailinglist and be the first to know about upcoming DC Network Meetups!

DC Network Meetup: Inspiring creative initiatives & business models that tackle the COVID 19 crisis

All over the world, creative entrepreneurs come up with alternative concepts or methods to get their business through the corona crisis in the best possible way. They are looking for new income or chasing smart savings, which hopefully will continue to work after the crisis. In this online Meetup we will share some of the most innovative approaches in the DC Network regions of how creative entrepreneurs tackled COVID-19.  The DC Network Meetup #1 will be hosted by DC Network member-region Baden-Württemberg.

Who’s this for?

Creative entrepreneurs, representatives of creative clusters, network and business support organisations, policy makers and anyone with an interest in the subject. 


23d of March 2021 (3:00 pm – 4:30 pm CET – online)


How to register?

Participance is free, but registration in advance is necessary via this link.

Moscow region joins the international Districts of Creativity Network

At its last International Council in January 2021, the Moscow region (the Central Federal District of Russia) was welcomed as the newest member of the Districts of Creativity Network (DC Network).

Founded in 2004, the DC Network unites regions around the world that focus on cross-disciplinary creativity and innovation to improve prosperity. The DC members believe the combination of creativity/creative industries, technology/science and entrepreneurship is a major source of prosperity and growth. Creativity is what makes people, companies, and regions unique. It offers the capacity to find innovative solutions to challenges in society. It allows to create new products, services or processes and contributes to the creation of economic value and to the general well being of people.

“We need to be close to people with a global mindset and extensive experience in the development of the creative economy in order to bring about qualitative changes in our region.”

The Moscow region will be represented by the Creative Russia Network (CRN), which aims at learning from other regions in the network on how to develop its creative ecosystem further as well as contributing its own experiences and best practices. “Creative industries are not a part of the city and region brand yet. Despite the diversity and volume of the offer, there is no uniform communication policy and there are not enough events in English to attract an international audience. Although we have something to be proud of and what to offer the markets of other countries. To do this, you can see at least the list of leaders of creative industries in Russia, which we have collected after our big research –,” says Mr Igor Namakonov,  spokesperson of CRN. “We need to be close to people with a global mindset and extensive experience in the development of the creative economy in order to bring about qualitative changes in our region. For our part, we will try to expand the network participants’ field of vision by bringing our culture, experience and best practices.”

“In Moscow alone, creative industries generate more than half of the total added value of the creative industries in Russia, which is more than $13 billion.”

Moscow certainly has a vibrant creative scene: “Moscow has a unique set of values that allows a multitude of creative business projects to flourish. Today creative industries are an important branch of the city’s economy. More than 100.000 organizations, more than 500.000 employed in various areas of the creative industries: architecture, advertising, IT, fashion, music and others. In Moscow alone, they generate more than half of the total added value of the creative industries in Russia, which is more than $13 billion.”

More info on the Creative Russia Network:

Call for proposals: first Shanghai – Yangtze River Delta international design contest

An opportunity for worldwide innovators to exhibit their talents online: the first International Design Contest 2020 in the Shanghai – Yangtze River Delta is officially recruiting now and will be held from 25-29 November, 2020. Designers have the chance to gain money prizes, showcase opportunities, project investment funds and business opportunities.

The inaugural edition of this contest is organised by the Creative Economy Cooperation Committee (CECC) of the Shanghai – Yangtze River Delta, also member of the Districts of Creativity Network. With the contest the organisers wish to encourage and support international collaboration in innovation and creativity, promote green technology to underpin a sustainable future and contribute to designing a green world.

Deadline for applying is October 30, 2020. All info on the contest and how to apply:

Reverse Mission 2020 held in innovation state Karnataka (India)

From March 2-4 the Reverse Mission 2020, the annual work visit to one of the DC Network member regions, took place in Karnataka, India. Declared by the government as the most innovative region of India in 2019, Karnataka is home to a unique innovation ecosystem.

The Karnataka innovation ecosystem

The first day of the Reverse Mission started at the Indian Institute of Science with a general introduction to the region and its capital Bangalore. Bangalore has a long tradition of being an early adopter in innovation. In1905 Asia’s first electric streetlights appeared in Bangalore. Later on in the eighties state-owned enterprises such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) became a catalyst for innovation in aerospace.

In 2005 Karnataka was the first region in India with a start-up policy program and a state funded VC-fund. Nowadays Bangalore is the only city in the world with 100.000 PhD’s. It hosts more than 500 R&D centers and is home to the innovation hubs of major companies such as Airbus, Walmart, Google, Accenture or AB Inbev.

But the region and its capital also face challenges. In a vibrant talk architect Naresh Narasimkan of multi-award winning architecture firm VA Associates advocated the urgent need for more public space, better mobility and creating more sense of ownership of the commons among the citizens of Karnataka. According to the architect, the existing governance structures often overlap and do not communicate well enough.

The afternoon session continued with a series of short presentations of promising start-ups, such as Bellatrix Aerospace, working on solutions to bringing down the cost of access to space and Renalyx, a health start-up creating innovative solutions for renal care.

Two other projects that were showcased were “Chitra Sante”, the biggest art festival of Bangalore and the Thayir Sadam project, a band that creates a blend of Indian classical, electronic and world music. They have conducted workshops with over 5000 school children so far, teaching them global music and promoting social initiatives. One of the initiators, Bindu Subramaniam, finished the day with a warm plea for cross-disciplinary innovation.

In the evening all guests were treated to a spectacular concert of Indian classical music blended with western fusion elements.

From rural creativity to high tech research

The second day took us outside of Bangalore to a local CS Pura village school for an insight in how creativity is applied in a rural context with limited resources.

After holding our annual member meeting, we continued the third day of the Reverse Mission with a tour of several research labs of the Indian Institute of Science. Dr. Hardik J. Pandya of The Biomedical and Electronic Engineering Systems Lab showcased research projects on i.e. new sensors to demarcate benign and cancerous breast tissue and other new types of bio-sensors.

Dr. T.V. Prabhakar demonstrated the Zero Energy Networks Laboratory (Zen lab), where his students and project staff work on building embedded electronic systems for application areas such as airplane cabin, healthcare, smart homes, and other IoT applications.

The final day of the Reverse Mission 2020 ended with a visit to the famous Lalbagh gardens of Bangalore.

From high tech aerospace innovation to cultural interdisciplinary projects and rural creative thinking: this Reverse Mission has shown the extraordinary diversity within the Karnataka innovation ecosystem.

Are you interested in joining the next Reverse Mission 2021 to our member region Catalonia? Contact us for more info!