Creative Work Beyond the Creative Industries

Creative Work Beyond the Creative Industries

Innovation, Employment and Education

Edited by Greg Hearn, Ruth Bridgstock, Ben Goldsmith and Jess Rodgers

Creative workers are employed in sectors outside the creative industries often in greater numbers than within the creative field. This is the first book to explore the phenomena of the embedded creative and creative services through a range of sectors, disciplines, and perspectives.

Chapter 7: Embedded creatives in the Australian manufacturing industry

Jess Rodgers

Subjects: business and management, organisational innovation, organisation studies, innovation and technology, organisational innovation


According to 2011 Australian Census figures, embedded creative employees (creative employees not working in the core Creative Industries) make up 2 per cent (or a total of 17 635) of manufacturing industry employees. The average for all industries is 1.6 per cent. In the 2011–2012 financial year the manufacturing industry formed 7.3 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP), contributing approximately AU$106.5 billion to the economy (Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education 2013). Manufacturing is central to innovation, accounting for over one-quarter of all business expenditure in R & D in 2010–2011, representing around AU$4.8 billion invested in R & D (ibid.). Facing challenges such as sustainability concerns, ever-increasing offshore production and the global financial crisis, the Australian manufacturing industry needs to remain relevant and competitive to succeed. Innovation is one way to do this. Given the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the Australian economy, and the above-average portion of embedded creatives in manufacturing, it is important to consider what exactly embedded creatives add to the industry. This chapter, inspired by the Getting Creative in Healthcare report (Pagan, Higgs and Cunningham 2008), examines the contribution of embedded creatives to innovation in the manufacturing industry via case studies and supplemental data. There is little qualitative research into embedded creatives (Vinodrai 2005; Kirby 2007; Pagan, Higgs and Cunningham 2008; Donald 2009; Bryson and Rusten 2011; Laaksonen and Gardner 2012).

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