ISBE conference presentation

Report
From Great Expectations
to Hard Times
A Longitudinal Study of
Creative Sector Graduate New Ventures
Richard Hanage
Visiting Lecturer, Teesside University Business School
Teesside University, Southfield Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 3BA
[email protected]
www.tees.ac.uk/schools/tubs/
Dr Jonathan M. Scott
Reader in Entrepreneurship, Teesside University Business School
© Richard Hanage – www.hanage.com
Research Question and Approach
What happens to graduates with a creative degree when they try
to start a digital creative business on graduating.
 Four year longitudinal study of 7 graduates, through 6-monthly in-depth semistructured interviews and periodic questionnaires (eg GET test, Learning Styles)
 A ‘convenience sample’ from my start-up workshops.
 All had been independently assessed as having ‘promise of business success’, but
were young and lacked business experience.
 They had high levels of start-up support, eg DigitalCity Fellowships
 Interviews recorded, videoed, transcribed, and analysed by topic. Also used business
plans, tweets, Facebook, for some minor triangulation. No other contact.
 Researcher tried to be a ‘disinterested observer’, but inevitably influenced the
participants’ thoughts and actions, through the questions asked.
© Richard Hanage – www.hanage.com
Creative Graduates:
Stages of Business/Career Development
Prior creative
experience
Prior personal
experiences school, Uni.
Peer & family
influences, etc.
Prior
enterprise/
work
experience
Phase 1:
Life up to
graduation and
intent to start a
business.
Utilising
‘creative’
experience
Their
personal
world and
experience
Utilising
business
experience
Transition 1:
from creative
student to
creative
entrepreneur.
Creative
development
Personal development:
learning, shifts in
expectations, skills,
identity, career etc
Entrepreneurial
development
Phase 2:
Trying to be a
successful creative
entrepreneur.
© Richard Hanage – www.hanage.com
Utilising
creative
learning
Personal
learning
and events
Utilising
business
learning
Transition 2: to
a viable career
in line with new
personal
objectives.
Creative
development (if
any)
Personal
development
in new role(s)
Entrepreneurial
/ employee
development
Phase 3:
Sustaining a
successful
(entrepreneurial?)
career.
Business/Career Routes
Growth Business
Owner
Solo Freelancer
Employee
E: Animation business
Practice
their art
A: Website design
A: Website design
F: Motion graphics
F: Motion graphics
A: Web-site designer
C: Music design
Use
their art
C: Music publishing
& record labels
C: Collate DJ music
reviews
B: Designer goods
E-commerce
B: Running creative
workshops
D: Animation sales
Abandon
their art
B: E-marketing Manager
D: Graphic design
G: Retail ecommerce idea
F: Betting Shop Mgr
C: Shelf-stacker
G: Sales lead
generator idea
D: Signage Manager
G: Trainee chocolatier
© Richard Hanage – www.hanage.com
£20k+
£10-20k
£5-10K
£0-5k
£0k
Annual income
Varied Journeys
Shelfstacker job.
Web-site
design job.
E-commerce
marketing
manager job.
Record
labels
Freelance
work
Other
ideas
Other
projects
Web-site design
business
Freelance
work in
schools
Music for
computer
games
E-commerce website for designer
products
A: Linear
B: Serial
© Richard Hanage – www.hanage.com
Music
publishing
DJing
C: Portfolio
Business Thread
– Financially, they all ‘failed’. None have paid themselves the minimum wage.
– Starting a business did not necessarily equate with being entrepreneurial.
Some were avoiding boring jobs (2) or could not get a creative sector job (4).
– Selling skills were the main missing element of human capital. They all struggled to
find customers, despite having good products.
– Support cost about £20k each. Some thought it was too optimistic and generous.
– Unknown unknowns: So much to discover and learn.
– Time commitment: only one worked consistently more than a 40hr week.
– Alternative income from family, state or other work reduced the pressure to succeed
in the business.
– A business team may be a key to success (1), but not if the team is too big (1), or
combines social as well as business (1).
– Tough industry. Are some sub-sectors especially tough – eg music?
© Richard Hanage – www.hanage.com
Personal/Creative Threads
Personal Thread
– School/Uni behaviours were good indicators of business behaviours.
– Artist/Business identities. Most moved easily from an artistic identity to more of a
business identity – as expected from their declared intent.
– Developing their personal lives. All were exploring options in their personal lives,
which influenced their businesses – eg forming/splitting social partnerships.
– Personal issues were major determinants of career outcomes – eg financial pressures
on acquiring a family, having to move location, loss of alternative income.
– Learning: all believe that the experience was not wasted.
– Serial Entrepreneurs? None of the six in employment expect to run a full-time
business again, but some may do some freelance work
Creative Thread
– Practitioners? Three were very keen to continue as practicing creatives. Another
three do it as a side-line or hobby.
© Richard Hanage – www.hanage.com
Questions Arising from Insights
– Excess graduates. Do Universities produce too many creative graduates?
– Enterprise training. Do too few creative students get in-depth business experience and
training? Especially about being ‘necessity entrepreneurs’.
– Masters degrees. Do graduates do a Masters degree mainly to postpone the pain of
entering the employment market?
– Post-grad support. Are graduate start-up schemes too optimistic and too munificent?
– Selling skills. Do start-up schemes give too little training in selling?
– Teams. Should start-up programmes encourage team start-ups?
– Getting experience. Is starting a graduate business a necessary step on the road to a
‘proper creative sector job’ rather than the first step in entrepreneurship?
– Assessments & prior experience: are they good indicators of business success?
– Personal weaknesses (eg confidence): how can we make sure we address these?
© Richard Hanage – www.hanage.com
Next Steps: Focus on the Entrepreneur
This is a very unusual longitudinal data-set: detailed real-time data from business birth
to closure (and beyond). What other issues should be investigated?
Business stage
Entrepreneurial issues
Why and how did they
start the business?
•
•
•
•
Prior experiences
Entrepreneurial intent
Stages of start-up
Use of business support
How did they run the
business?
•
•
•
•
Critical incidents
Entrepreneurial learning
Networking/stakeholders
Marketing/selling
Why and how did they
close it?
•
•
•
Impending doom
Closure and grief
Learning from failure
What next? Why?
•
•
Next career step
Return to entrepreneurship?
© Richard Hanage – www.hanage.com

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