Team Derrick, Myles Hoppe, Mark Stead and Livio Tronchin, asks how innovation, technology, creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit can come together to build a creative economy for Cape Town that is more than skin deep.

Building the proposition of Creative Cape Town is imperative to the city’s survival in business. The city is still fundamentally a fishing village/holiday destination and does lack the hard-working business, although the hard-working mentality certainly exists. In fact, from many people we know, we’ve heard that they work far harder and longer hours here than in Jo’burg.

So it’s important to create an angle to attract business. And obviously, this is a hugely desirable city to live in so it can definitely attract the best, most creative people, who will then, in turn, bring the business.

Thanks to the web, anyone or any city can stand on the global stage. But to gain the critical mass in order to penetrate the clutter on this global web stage is the challenge. And there’re a lot of creative people dumping a lot of stuff on the web every second, so creativity, per se, is not a competitive advantage.

The real angle for the future is creative technology and technological creativity; smart solutions to local problems thought about in the global context. This way we’ll be able to solve clients’ creative problems here at home, and have those solutions noticed in overseas markets so that they’ll want us to solve their problems at home, and so globally we’ll gain the reputation as creative problem solvers for anywhere.

Currently our creds in Cape Town are in fair shape creatively and in fair shape technologically too. But we still don’t talk to each other enough. You go to a 27 Dinner and it’s still mostly tech boffs, you go to DI and it’s still mostly creatives; as an example. Maybe the pool of business here is so small that we cling to what we have and can get, and we’re working so hard to bring in the money that we don’t have much time to interact unless the problem really calls for it. But when you start to proactively open up to other independent shops (tech to creative and creative to tech) the products of those interactions are so fruitful, you wonder why you didn’t do it before.

Collaboration is a real buzz word right now. But I do think it has the danger of having lots of lip service paid to it, unless we all concertedly put our money where our mouths are.

There are a lot of independents springing up trying all sorts of new things and business models to try and etch a new niche in the market. And that’s of course exactly what we’re doing. We’ve heard so many people say how this is really upping the competition for business in Cape Town. But really it should be seen as upping the ‘think pool’ of creatives and technologists to raise the bar and push things further.

– Find out more about Derrick.


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