Sarah Deas: Collaborate lesson of Turner Prize 2015

ARCHITECT collective proves low-risk, high gains of co-working, writes Sarah Deas

Being part of a consortium, like Assemble. can help creative businesses grow. Picture: Robert Perry

This year a collective of architects called Assemble won the Turner Prize. Combining the skills of 15 artists, designers and architects, the group’s success highlights the power of collaboration in terms of driving innovation and competitive edge.

Now Scottish Enterprise has launched the 2015 Collaboration Prize to encourage more businesses from the creative industries to collaborate and consider forming consortia to drive sustainable growth.

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The sector in Scotland is composed of many small and micro businesses, with around 98 per cent of almost 14,000 enterprises employing fewer than 50 people. For businesses of this scale, collaboration presents a mechanism for growth by opening up new markets, widening customer networks, supporting the development of new products and services and improving purchasing and bidding power.

If creative businesses are to thrive, they need to keep pace with technological change and adapt. Collaboration enables them to do so by increasing their pool of resources and skills in a flexible way while still allowing them to focus on their core offering.

Being part of a consortium can help creative businesses grow while reducing the costs and risks associated with tackling new markets or investing in new processes. It also allows businesses to retain their brands, independence and control.

Finally, for many creative businesses, collaboration is a valuable tool for supporting the creative process itself. For businesses working in all sub sectors of the creative industries, from media and design to fashion and the arts, this is an enormous benefit.

Scottish businesses working in the creative industries can submit entries to the 2015 Collaboration Prize for a chance to win £5,000 cash, up to £5,000 consultancy and support from Co-operative Development Scotland to form their consortium.

Entries must be submitted by midnight, 17 December.

• Sarah Deas is chief executive of Co-operative DevelopmentScotland.