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Digital, media and creative industries: Evaluation of Intervention with Clusters and Industries


The Evaluation of Intervention with Clusters and Industries in Scotland aims to be a learning evaluation for Scottish Enterprise (SE) on the policy interventions pursued to date. The research objectives for this study focus on five principal learning areas: the appropriateness of cluster and industry policies and strategies; the rationale of programme selection and design in the light of strategic intent; the efficacy of cluster and industry interventions seeking to improve critical factor inputs; learning lessons and the adaptation and evolution of the approach; and broader SE support and resourcing. This report is one of the fifteen cluster- and industry-specific reports that have been prepared as background to the main report. In relation to the digital, media and creative industries (DMCI), the report focuses on: the rationale behind SE involvement in the cluster and the appropriateness of the strategy; how the cluster work has rolled out in practice and in light of expectations; and the lessons learnt and how SE should go forward.


The report has been primarily based on a desk review of the individual clusters and industries - collected and collated by SE and ECOTEC jointly. Around 15 interviews were held with industry representatives, academic and research institutes, intermediaries, and Scottish Enterprise staff. The main findings and conclusions have been tested with independent sector experts and reviewed by SE stakeholders.


A specific focus on digital media and particular sub-sectors by the Cluster Team has been appropriate. The organisational model adopted by the cluster has generally worked well and strong leadership of the cluster team has been an important determinant. Some achievements of the Cluster Team include: the development of a carefully researched strategy, ‘Creative Scotland’; increased networking and industry knowledge; improved ‘business environment’ through infrastructure projects and funding; and the completion of the Workforce Development Plan. The operational focus of the national Cluster Team has been on projects of national strategic significance. There are inadequacies in the KMIS reporting system and other available monitoring data. DMCI cluster performance has been comparatively weak, reflecting changes in the global market environment. Many DMCI companies continue to be ‘high risk’ and there is increasing global competition.


The report suggests that Cluster Teams are placed to offer strong leadership and identity to nurture embryonic clusters. Successful cluster strategy and action planning are highly dependent on effective industry consultation and on-going research. Physical infrastructure is likely to represent a key ingredient in ‘anchoring’ cluster development strategy. Cluster teams require a demanding mix of skills sets. The report recommends the need for better information management, a comprehensive evaluation and the application of a specialist modelling framework.

Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support