‘The Creative Credits: A randomized controlled industrial policy experiment’ report examines the results of a pilot study, which used a method of evaluation called randomised control trials (RCTs) to see if a popular business support scheme called Creative Credits worked effectively. The Creative Credits project was run by Nesta, UK’s innovation foundation.
The pilot study, which began in Manchester in 2009, was structured so that vouchers, or 'Creative Credits', would be randomly allocated to small and medium-sized businesses applying to invest in creative projects such as developing websites, video production and creative marketing campaigns, to see if they had a real effect on innovation.
Key findings of the project are:
•Previous research has suggested that creative businesses, as a source of new ideas and knowledge, exert positive influences on innovation in other firms they are transacting with.
•Creative Credits created genuinely new relationships between SMEs and creative businesses, with the award of a Creative Credit increasing the likelihood that firms would undertake an innovation project with a creative business they had not previously worked with by at least 84 per cent.
•The evidence also supports the view that working with creative businesses can lead firms to be more innovative.