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Lord Puttnam says management needs to get creative

The major inhibitor to growth in business in the UK is management, according DTi research, and is a particular barrier to growing creative businesses, according to Lord Puttnam’s Creative Keynote during IBC2016. Although Britain is “great at creating start ups”, it is also great at selling them. “We do not build global businesses.” He blames this partly on the lack of support from banks, but also on the lack of expectations and training.

This will partly be addressed by the new Executive MBA for the Creative Industries: a two-year, part-time MBA starting in October at Ashridge Business School, announced by Lord Puttnam at the Rotolight stand shortly after his keynote address. It will be “very case study driven, very experiential”, said Helen Gammons, financial director of Rotolight, who is on the advisory board. It will include residential elements and travel (to New York or LA), and there will be 24 or 25 students in the first intake.

The MBA will address the “very rapid changes taking place” in the industry, he said, such as in intellectual copyright. Puttnam did a course in copyright law. “I learned the language of law, and the discipline,” and being able to talk to lawyers “saved a huge amount of time over my career.”

However, the most important aspect, he suggested, is how to manage creatives. “It is a very particular management skill. It is probably more complex in the creative industry than anywhere else.”

Puttnam, who was tasked by the UK government to establish the course, wants companies to sponsor students and participate in case studies. Channel 4 has given three scholarships. “They believe it will help them retain their best people and develop them.” It also has support from the BFI, BBC and Pinewood.