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Innovation and diversity in the digital cultural and creative industries

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jonathan Sapsed



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Springer New York LLC, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The cultural and creative industries (CCIs) are increasingly being recognised in South Africa, as in other countries, as wealth-creating, given appropriate investment, rather than primarily a non-market subsidized sector. However, national innovation policy is still predominantly focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skillsets and related product markets. This paper analyses how the CCIs in the Cape Town cluster innovate by combining digital technology, creative inputs, and workforce diversity. Based on a similar study conducted in Brighton, UK, a cluster of innovative CCI firms was identified that are to varying degrees “fused”, defined as combining digital technology and creative design in production. Fused firms have higher levels of innovation in business processes, goods and ser- vices. Fused firms were also more likely to employ demographically diverse people, adding insights from the South African mix to the UK studies on disciplinary diver- sity. While fused creative-digital firms employ greater diversity, a qualitative analy- sis of SA gaming and animation firms nevertheless demonstrates the challenges for improving diversity in a developing country context.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Snowball J, Tarenthal D, Sapsed J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Cultural Economics

Year: 2021

Volume: 45

Pages: 705-733

Print publication date: 30/12/2021

Online publication date: 22/05/2021

Acceptance date: 30/04/2021

Date deposited: 10/12/2021

ISSN (print): 0885-2545

ISSN (electronic): 1573-6997

Publisher: Springer New York LLC


DOI: 10.1007/s10824-021-09420-9


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