Vilnius Policy Clinic 1On May 17-18, 2013, Vilnius hosted a Policy Clinic with the main focus on culture as a driver for Cross Innovation. Experts from Tallinn, Rome, Birmingham, and Vilnius participated in the meetings of the Policy Clinic that took place in Titanikas (Design innovation center), Užupis Art Incubator, and National Open Access Scholarly Communication and Information Centre (NOASCIC) (new branch of Vilnius University Library).

Culture as a Driver for Cross Innovation
From the very beginning of the Policy Clinic, it was evident that the notion of culture as a driver for cross innovation requires a methodological clarification. Culture is not only certain specific ‘artistic’ activities that are transferred from Creative Industries to more traditional sectors, it also acts as a source of symbolic content and as a social context for innovative interactions, in which artists, communities, businesses, and public institutions participate. Awareness of this content and social context requires developing new ways of communication, openness, and an essentially non-sectorial approach to problem solving.

In the run of the Policy Clinic, discussions and exercises demonstrated that it is impossible to foster cross innovation without paying attention to the values of costumers, audience, and partners (this rule holds equally to business and cultural organisations). Readiness to address values of your actual or potential audience and partners makes ‘design thinking’ and ‘challenge approach’ more natural and efficient. It also requires different kind of policy: instead of attempts of exclusive vertical implementation of innovation policy in predefined priority sectors, policy (especially city-level policy) should focus on local innovations that target particular needs of local communities.

Vilnius Policy Clinic 2Examples of Culture-based Innovations
A number of different projects and cases of culture-based innovations were presented and discussed in all three venues. Participants were asked to reflect on the presented case of festival “Design week” and prepare recommendations for the organisers using the cross innovation canvas.
These examples included: