Creative Business Benchmarker Project
|Organisation||ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation (CCi)|
|Position||Senior Research Fellow|
|Other organisations or people involved||Queensland Government Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), Reload Consulting Pty Ltd|
|Objectives||1/ Provide the evidence required for evidenced based policy development and provide a cost effective method for better understanding the impact of industry and export development programs over the medium and long term on Queensland’s (and Australian) Creative businesses.
2/ To gather a range of employment, financial, output and expectation data from individual businesses including being able to estimate the size, impact and growth of sectors of the creative industries with much greater accuracy and timeliness than previously possible.
|Research questions||1/ Is a collaborative, web based approach to addressing the business information needs of small and medium firms feasible? is it possible to periodically collect quality business data from firms over the web in exchange for providing them with business performance information they would be unable to obtain in any other way?
2/ Can the ongoing needs of government industry development analysts and academic researchers for firm level, time series micro-data be met by web based voluntary contributions from small and medium enterprise firms?
3/ What are the financial, employment and other key characteristics of design firms in Queensland and how have these changed since the beginning of 2008?
|Methodology||The strategy involves providing direct and immediate benefits to all contributors and especially the businesses at the grass roots. Businesses would be asked to enter their company profiles and economic data into a secure system. Participating businesses would then be prompted every six months to update any data that has changed and to provide some additional information. Contributing businesses also have immediate access to a range of reports including a personalised profile of their businesses performance benchmarked against their industry as a whole and the combined results of their peers.
The four pillars of the Benchmarker strategy are:
1. Longitudinal, incremental surveys that tracks the changes in businesses’ activities;
2. Direct and immediate information benefits to the respondents/contributors that rewards accuracy in their provided data and that are not available to them in any other way;
3. Promote participation by teaming with government departments and industry bodies that have strong linkages to the businesses;
4. Utilise federated, common core, surveys across multiple industry sectors and segments to ensure that firms only have to contribute their data once across the diversity of activities and markets that they are in. Federation allows statistics on activities in relation to one market segment to be confidentially drawn from the data sets of all companies operating in the segment irrespective of the principal activity.
For the past three years QUT, specifically the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation (CCi), has been working in collaboration with the Qld Government Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) as part of their enterprise development programs for architects and related designers within Queensland with a specific focus on encouraging exports. Together with DEEDI and Reload Consulting, CCI specified and developed a working pilot of the Creative Business Benchmarker in 2008 with the objective of providing the firms in the DEEDI HEAT program with much better contextual information on their business performance through benchmarking. In addition Benchmarker was designed to gather the metrics that were considered critical by DEEDI to measure the sector's contribution to the Queensland economy and any changes that occur over time in key indicators such as employment, turnover, profits or exports. Since then the functionality for ga thering firm's data on the web and producing the Benchmarker reports has been improved and extended several times making the web site and survey easier for businesses to use.
Over the life of the pilot some 495 personalised benchmark reports have been produced for the 354 firms who have participated in the program. In the case of the architecture sector firm participation rates have been as high as 57% for the larger, more economically significant firms, with most mid sized firms and larger having participated in each of the three years the program has been running.
The answer CCi received, both from the high participation rates, in the many positive comments made within the survey and from a series of industry workshops, has been an unequivocal "yes". The more commercially driven businesses will contribute their business data if they are assured of its confidentiality, provided they receive relevant, valuable business information in return. Furthermore they are prepared to accept that the information they contribute, after anonymisation, is used by academic researchers and government analysts/economists to better understand their industry.
|Project start date||May 2008|
|Project completion date||Jun 2013|