Earlier this century I contributed to the design and delivery of several business advice and mentoring projects – primarily focused on new creative businesses, digital businesses – and businesses combining both. I was privileged to work with a large number of startups and small businesses; manage an advice team in London and help recruit and grow a second team in Liverpool. I presented occasionally at conferences and got ‘hands-on’ with the planning and development of some significant online initiatives. Much of my time was spent with a fascinating mix of inspiring creative entrepreneurs.
One of the themes we encountered a lot was that recent graduates of Art and Design Establishments were very eager to access advice and support and often commented on the lack of ‘enterprise’ advice / expertise available to them during their time in education.
Things have improved a fair bit since then, with opportunities such as ‘live projects’ and ‘placements’ embedded within many courses. At University of the Arts London (UAL) the ‘Creative Attributes Framework’ (CAF) identifies a number ‘attributes’. These, according to research, are behaviours and skills essential, or extremely useful, to creative practitioners throughout their careers. The ‘CAF’ is now also used by course teams when planning courses and learning activities – truly embedding ‘enterprise’ skills at the heart of the curriculum.
The Digital ‘CAF’ (‘DCAF’) is essentially a variant of the ‘CAF’ and takes as its starting point the same nine attributes.
These fall within three families:
- Making Things Happen
- Showcasing Abilities
- Navigating Change
The ‘practices’ explored within the DCAF relate to Digital behaviours and skills – and they avoid falling into the trap of being prescriptive (the ‘scenarios’ column is left deliberately blank for those engaging with the DCAF to make it relevant for their own contexts).
There is a splendid blog dedicated to the DCAF which you can access at https://dcaf.myblog.arts.ac.uk
The superbly designed accompanying booklet was designed by Conor Rigby, whose abilities are showcased at http://conorrigby.com.