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Technological Forecasting & Social Change xxx (2015) xxxxxx

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Technological Forecasting & Social Change

The impact of sectoral changes on individual competences: A reective

scenario-based approach in the creative industries
Martin Kamprath a,, Dana Mietzner b,1

University of Potsdam, August-Bebel Strasse 89, D-14482 Potsdam, Germany

Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau, Hochschulring 1, D-15745 Wildau, Germany

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 14 March 2013
Received in revised form 19 November 2014
Accepted 17 January 2015
Available online xxxx
Creative industries
Creative economy
Futures studies
Technological impact
Human capital resource
Strategic human resources

a b s t r a c t
Many foresight studies concentrate on technological foresight and its impact at the organizational
level. However, often these studies overlook the soft factor of employee competences which is
critical to adopting technological and organizational changes and to developing the necessary
innovation capabilities. This study investigates the theoretical and methodological underdeveloped relationship between technological innovation and social initiated change and the impact on
individual competences in a dynamic sector. The setting of our study is the turbulent creative
industries as a whole, where creative and artistic expression merges with changing technological
progress. In a scenario study we mainly conducted in 2010, we developed a scenario model for
competences to combine individual competences with a scenario approach to investigate how
competences are important to the sector shift or need to be enhanced in the future. We use
primary qualitative data from expert interviews and workshops and secondary data from industry
reports to identify thirty-seven influence factors. An influence matrix calculation and a cluster
analysis are used to project three different scenarios presenting how future developments of the
creative industries will influence the competences needed for creative occupations. Now, five
years later, we reflect the accuracy of the developed scenarios via a comparison of today's
situation with the situation in the scenarios. We discuss theoretical contributions for the foresight
literature and practical implementations for the future of work in general, and in particular for the
creative industries case.
2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Foresight studies use various levels of analysis to explain
changes and impacts to forecast market and technological
developments with the aim of initiating a long-term strategy
development process. But in foresight studies, the individual
level is often neglected in terms of how employees' and
managers' competences and skills must be developed to cope

Corresponding author. Tel.: +49 331 977 4500; fax: +49 331 977 3425.
E-mail addresses: (M. Kamprath), (D. Mietzner).
Tel.: +49 3375 508 199; fax: +49 3375 508 884.

with future industry changes. Only a few studies in the

foresight field highlight the important roles of individual
competence and skill development to handle technological
and organizational changes (Mechling, 2004; Wymbs, 2012;
PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2009a). Although research and
practice show that individual, organizational and industry
levels are closely connected (Chadwick and Dabu, 2008;
Teece, 2007), literature streams that link strategic management
and human resource management have not been integrated in
foresight literature to a large extent. The absence should be seen
as a problem because studies from various disciplines suggest
that employees are a key factor in company development,
regional clusters, and innovation systems (e.g., the Creative Class
0040-1625/ 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Please cite this article as: Kamprath, M., Mietzner, D., The impact of sectoral changes on individual competences: A reective
scenario-based approach in the creative..., Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change (2015),

M. Kamprath, D. Mietzner / Technological Forecasting & Social Change xxx (2015) xxxxxx

discussion by Florida (2002)). A recent survey by

PriceWaterhouseCoopers among 1300 CEOs worldwide
illustrates that in the face of the main future transition
trends, the lack of skilled people is seen as the major threat
to economic growth and should be the highest priority on
the companies' and policy makers' agendas (even before
ensuring financial sector stability and developing an innovation
ecosystem) (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2014). Also management
literature indicates that the development of employee competence is essential in rapidly changing industries for enterprises to
adapt to volatile environments (Amadi-Echendu, 2007; Ployhart,
2006). From such a perspective, the resource-based theory
(Wernerfelt, 1984) is extended to the microfoundations of the
firms (Teece, 2007). Here, the theory of human capital resource
(HCR) offers a multilevel perspective to conceptualize how
companies benefit from their human resources (Ployhart and
Moliterno, 2011).
The development of individual competences for future
challenges is relevant in industries where digitalization changes
the way products are developed, manufactured, distributed, and
consumed, and hence knowledge has a short half-life (Goldkind
and Wolf, 2014). These affect a range of sectors starting from
more traditional manufacturing industries and retail to life
sciences, renewable energy and the ICT sector. Important to firms
and education and training institutions, the question arises how
to develop and formulate demands of future competences, given
that training content and education today needs to fit the future
working demand (Havas, 2009; Harper and Georghiou, 2005).
For this reason, specific techniques are required in order to
forecast the future demand for competences.
To address this research gap, our research setting is the
creative industries. In this conglomerate of creative sub-sectors
(Potts and Cunningham, 2008; Cunningham, 2002) the impact of
technological change on individual competences is highly visible
and challenging, because creative and artistic expression merges
with changing technological progress. Because of technology
unleashing (e.g., devices, infrastructure, applications), even
sector professionals find it difficult to keep pace with the
frequent emergence of new technological developments, new
services, new business models, new user behavior, and competition between more traditional media companies and companies with their origins in the Internet (PricewaterhouseCoopers,
2014; McKelvie and Picard, 2008; Bartosova, 2011). Research in
this area offers interesting transferable implications for other
sectors because, first, the cultural-creative sector is deeply
embedded and contributes to the innovation performance
of the overall economy (Bakhshi and McVittie, 2009; Mller
et al., 2009). Second, creative occupations are not limited to
creative industries. Occupations with a high level of creative
skills are found outside the creative industries (Cunningham,
2011; Bakhshi et al., 2013).
Existing studies about the creative industries show that on
the one hand the creative industries have been the object of
research for foresight projections. These studies analyze
current developments to make future projections but focus on
complex technological developments and new business
concepts e.g., (Cassarino and Geuna, 2008; European
Commission, 2009; Haasis and Buchholz, 2009; Marcus, 2005;
PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2011). On the other hand, studies
already have analyzed competence and skill developments and
identified competence gaps between education and practice in

this sector (Ashton, 2011; Bauer et al., 2011; Bridgstock, 2011;

Dobrunz et al., 2006; Haukka, 2011). But in the field dynamics
of business environment changes could be better considered.
Environmental dynamics are taken as fixed endogen parameters, and the companies examined in these studies often reveal
current demand for competences. Sometimes a future perspective is included by asking for the firm's future demand (Sigmund,
2006), which can lead to inconsistent future projections because
every respondent has a subjective, individual opinion regarding
future developments.
Motivated by the manner in which technological and social
changes affect business environment change, our aim is to develop
a theoretical and empirical understanding of how industry
changes influence people working in technology-driven sectors.
Therefore, we will investigate the theoretical and methodological underdeveloped relationship between technological
innovation and social initiated change and the impact on
individual competences in a dynamic sector. This question
poses certain methodological challenges, especially because
competences for job positions are difficult to quantify and
pictures of the future must be consistent to derive conclusions.
Thus, we use a scenario-based methodological approach that
captures the relationship between specific industry conditions
and required individual competences and skills.
This paper builds on a scenario research project we mainly
conducted in 2010 for a scenario horizon for the year 2015. This
time horizon has been reached, which gives this article a
unique opportunity to include our initial considerations and
frameworks and to add a scenario evaluation from today's
perspective. The reflective evaluation of the study results
suggest that real-world developments were covered largely
by the first of the three scenarios. However, we also discuss
developments for individual competences we did not
anticipate at that time. We conclude that the picture of the
future is incomplete if firms only regard their foresight
activities toward technological and market developments and
neglect interlinkages to human resource development.
With the research, we contribute to the field of foresight
studies in the first line while integrating a theorizing link
between the individual level in the firm and the response to
environmental changes using a microfoundations of dynamic
capabilities perspective (see also the call to embed more
strategy theories in foresight (Vecchiato, forthcoming)). From
a theoretical perspective, we contribute to the field of individual
competence development and strategic perspectives of the
firm while extending the multi-level theory of HCR to foresight
literature (Ployhart and Moliterno, 2011; Nyberg et al., 2014;
Wright et al., 2001). Hence, we develop our argument for a
complementary perspective in foresight literature that centers
more on the individual. As a result, we implement a corresponding scenario approach.
We also contribute to the existing literature on creative labor
(Florida, 2002; Hesmondhalgh and Baker, 2011; Christopherson,
2009) while we add a dynamic, future-focused perspective to the
competence and skill discussion in creative industries. For
practice, the theoretical anchored methodology addresses the
needs of firms and education providers (e.g., universities and
colleges) to think about future competences in creative occupations to cope with upcoming sectoral changes.
Our article is structured as follows: The next section describes
relevant literature perspectives (1) by stressing competences of

Please cite this article as: Kamprath, M., Mietzner, D., The impact of sectoral changes on individual competences: A reective
scenario-based approach in the creative..., Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change (2015),

M. Kamprath, D. Mietzner / Technological Forecasting & Social Change xxx (2015) xxxxxx

individuals as human capital resources necessary to respond to

industry dynamics and (2) by discussing creative labor, which
has become an independent literature stream over the past
decades. The presentation of work conditions and current
research on competences in the creative industries form a
profound foundation for the discussion of methodological
consideration for the scenario analysis. We present a comprehensive scenario analysis as our empirical framework. Finally, we
analyze results and draw conclusions according to the methodological approach. We assess the accuracy of the developed
scenarios by a comparison to today's situation with the
anticipated scenarios. We discuss implications for the future of
work in general, and in particular for the creative industries.
2. Foresight and the individual level
Uncertainty is deeply embedded into the nature of industries,
characterized by rapid technological changes where constantly
new and complex knowledge is implicitly created and
demanded and where underlying competences are needed to
improve the skills permanently. A promising approach to dealing
with a high degree of uncertainty within rapid changing
industries is the adoption of foresight activities. Methods and
techniques, such as scenario analysis, expert panels, Delphi, or
road maps are used for coping with environmental uncertainty
to support the strategic decision-making process and to promote
better strategic planning (Postma and Liebl, 2005; Coates, 2010;
Rohrbeck and Gemnden, 2011).
The vast amount of foresight studies often concentrates on
technological foresight and its impact on the organizational
level (Rohrbeck and Gemnden, 2011; Reger, 2001; Rohrbeck
and Schwarz, 2013). In the general foresight literature, scenario
studies are rather methodology-oriented studies with more or
less theoretical foundations used to predict technological
developments, and sometimes stakeholder involvement, with
the aim of forecasting developments of markets to commercialize future products or new business models, e.g., hydrogen
fueling systems (Winebrake and Creswick, 2003), multi-screen
telecommunication (Chang, forthcoming), electric drive
vehicles (Warth et al., 2013), nanotechnologies (Karaca and
ner, 2015), urban mobility (Marletto, 2014), infrastructure
(Schuckmann et al., 2012), or logistics (von der Gracht and
Stillings, 2013). Most foresight studies focus on technological
developments and, in the best case, consider a socio-economic
impact, though often on the buyer side. But the OECD highlights
that competences and knowledge of individuals are the
catalyst of any innovation activity (OECD, 2011). Competences
of employees or managers which are critical to adapt to
technological and organizational changes and to develop the
necessary innovation capabilities are seldom considered.
Although research and practice show that individual, organizational and industry levels are closely connected (Chadwick
and Dabu, 2008; Teece, 2007), the microfoundations literature
stream that links organizational and the individual level in
strategic management have not been addressed in foresight
literature to a large extent (Felin et al., 2012; Mollick, 2012;
Barney and Felin, 2013). The question of how these technological and market developments affect the microfoundations of
firms is, to our knowledge, a blank spot in foresight literature.
Only a few authors look at the soft factor of employee
competences, which seems to be critical to develop the

necessary innovation capabilities to handle technological and

organizational changes (e.g., Mechling, 2004; Wymbs, 2012).
Although both studies are good examples of the inseparable
causality dualism between competences, development, and
environmental change, there remain theoretical and methodological gaps for how to integrate systematically and conceptualize individual competences in a scenario approach.
Several sectors face disruptive changes by technological and
market changes. These changes impact on organizations and
their business models and have to help shaped by employees.
Projections for future competences should be understood as
the third objective for foresight activities, equally important to
goals like uncertainty reduction in R&D projects and identification and understanding of customer needs (Rohrbeck and
Schwarz, 2013). Future production and services need employees that can handle and make use of technologies to serve
customer needs (Barley, 1986)and they need to be organized
(Malone, 2004). To know which competences are needed in the
future requires a combined approach, which is beneficial for
industries characterized by rapid technological changes and
complex knowledge. This is increasingly relevant for industries
where digitalization and technological progress transform the
working environment for employees (e.g., computerization of
traditional manufacturing, life sciences, renewable energy, the
ICT) (Goldkind and Wolf, 2014). Here digital innovation also
affects production technologies, production processes, components and devices, interfaces, platforms, and user scenarios
(Yoo et al., 2012; Lee and Berente, 2011).
For this reason, techniques are required that give firms and
education providers a sense of the future, so that they may be
prepared to meet future demand (Harper and Georghiou,
2005). Such interest in training and education already contains
a future perspective because of the time lag between
implementing new curricula and the time when the first
students will graduate. Firms and higher education institutions
would benefit from foresight methods and inclusion among
various stakeholders, because they are embedded in broader,
permanently changing socio-economic systems (Havas, 2009).
We think the creative industries are an illustrative empirical
setting to address this general problem because of two reasons.
Firstly, they are often called a test bed for economic and social
change. Working conditions here are a mirror for general future
work conditions (Mundelius, 2009; Beck, 2000; Castells, 2009).
Secondly, economic numbers suggest that the majority of the
creative workforce a significant and growing component of the
overall workforce working outside the core creative industries
(e.g., designers, software developers, communication specialists in manufacturing, chemical or other service firms)
(Cunningham, 2011; Bakhshi et al., 2013). Before addressing
the identified gap by developing and testing our approach, we
will deepen our theoretical insights on the microfoundations of
the firm and the contextual knowledge of the study setting.
3. Relevant literature perspectives
3.1. Competences of individuals as human capital resources to
respond to industry dynamics
Recently, increasing attention from researchers of different
research fields has been focused on the microfoundations of the
dynamic capabilities (Teece, 2007). This perspective highlights

Please cite this article as: Kamprath, M., Mietzner, D., The impact of sectoral changes on individual competences: A reective
scenario-based approach in the creative..., Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change (2015),

M. Kamprath, D. Mietzner / Technological Forecasting & Social Change xxx (2015) xxxxxx

the individual level (e.g., skills, processes, procedures, organizational structures, and decision rules) as a valuable source of a
firm's competitive advantage and therefore takes a contrasting
or mediating position to the more dominant organizational
focus in strategy, innovation and foresight literature (Felin
et al., 2012; Mollick, 2012; Turner and Makhija, 2012; Goepel
et al., 2012). Based on resource-based theory (Barney, 1991;
Barney and Clark, 2007) and micro-foundations the human
capital resource perspective (HCR) provides a common ground
for researchers from strategic management and strategic
human resource management (Chadwick and Dabu, 2008).
Both streams are interested in how firms create a valuable HCR
and how that resource uniquely relates to unit performance of a
firm in a certain context (Nyberg et al., 2014). Here, human
capital is defined as a unit-level resource that is created from
the emergence of individuals' knowledge, skills, abilities, and
other characteristics (KSAOs) (Ployhart and Moliterno, 2011,
p. 128). In their multilevel model of human capital resource
emergence, Ployhart and Moliterno (2011) present a theoretical approach to unite the micro- and the macro-level to explain
how HCR is created and transformed across organizational
levels. It links research on employee KSAO to individual-level
outcomes with organizational theorists and strategy scholars
who study how the aggregate organizational-level experience,
education, and skills of employees form resources. In this sense,
the HCR lens combines the more strategic top-down
perspective of which and how organizational processes create
HCR as a strategic asset, with the human resource management
bottom-up perspective of how HR policies and practices
affect HCR (Nyberg et al., 2014). For this study, both
perspectives are of equal importance. The strategic perspective
theorizes that employees or managers are strategic resources
to respond to industry-specific conditions of the firm's
environment (Lado and Wilson, 1994). Training and (strategic)
human resource management literature argues in this context
that the ability of the individual to learn and react is both
directly and indirectly a trigger of the firm's ability to use and, if
necessary, shift its resources (Ployhart, 2006; Wright et al.,
2001; Becker and Huselid, 2006; Bergenhenegouwen et al.,
1997; Clardy, 2008).
Especially in highly competitive and fast-changing markets
with knowledge-intensitive products and services, this microperspective as a competitive resource on the organizational
level is important. To achieve their goals in this complex and
dynamic environment, managers and employees are faced
with a high degree of uncertainty. They must adapt the actions
of teams or organizations to unpredictable situations by relying
only on their former experience (Amadi-Echendu, 2007). The
successful coping with such situations depends on the ability of
individuals to develop as well as adapt their behavior,
knowledge base, and actions, which in return enables firms to
develop human resources successfully as a sustained competitive advantage (Heyse and Erpenbeck, 2009; Wright et al.,
1994). This ability is described with the concept of competences
which by some authors is interchangeably used with skills
(Staudt, 2002). But we follow the prominent literature stream
where knowledge, skills and abilities form competences
(Sandberg, 2000). The concept bridges the gap between
education and job requirements (Boon and van der Klink,
2002) but at the same time it creates confusion because of
the fuzzy distinction between the terms competence and

competency depending on discipline, aim of research and

English-speaking country (for a detailed discussion see Le
Deist and Winterton, 2005). For consistency reasons we refer to
competences. The competence concept is widely used in
human resource development research (see the special issue
of Human Resource Management (Hayton and McEvoy,
2006)) and shifted away from focusing on qualifications
(e.g., IQ) to focusing on competences in the late '70s (Mathis
and Jackson, 2010). Competences such as creativity, as an
enabler of successful adaptation to turbulent environments and
as the main component for the generation of new products, can
be seen as an outcome of individual cognitive and personality
traits (Masten and Caldwell-Colbert, 1987; Kirton, 1989). In
general, competences are linked to criterion-referenced,
effective, and/or superior performance in a job or situation
(Reio and Sutton, 2006; Spencer and Spencer, 1993). Put
differently, individual competences can be defined as a kind of
meta-skills for self-organization, which are necessary in open
problem and decision situations in complex systems (Heyse
and Erpenbeck, 2009, p. XIII). We take a rationalist perspective
to be able later on to operationalize attributes for effective work
in a competence portfolio. But at the same time we are aware
that competence is constituted by the individual in a specific
job environment (interpretive approach)which is the basic
assumption for our analysis to understand the connection
between industry changes and competence changes (Le Deist
and Winterton, 2005).
Therefore, on the one hand, training and enhancing
individual competences are meaningful ways to successfully
adapt to changes in the company's environment (Lam and
White, 1998; Kontoghiorghes et al., 2005; Cordery, 1989).
Competences, commitment, and motivation of individual
persons shape the essential mechanisms by which firms can
operate more efficiently, develop systems, implement strategies, and increase their organizational innovation capabilities
(Wright et al., 1994; Soosay, 2005; Doyle, 1995). On the other
hand, changing environmental influences determine how
individual competences are attracted, nurtured, and developed.
Overall, from the HCR perspective, these individual competences of employees, managers, and entrepreneurs are the key
resource for responding to these changes while building the
firm's capability to challenge environmental changes proactively (Lawler, 1994).
3.2. Creative labor
Creative (and cultural) labor has emancipated itself as an
independent literature stream within the last decade. Having
its roots in media and communication studies as well as in
sociological literature, creative laborsometimes also used
with the words cultural and work, alternatelyrecently
drew much interest from various disciplines (Hesmondhalgh
and Baker, 2011; Banks et al., 2013; Cunningham, 2014;
Mathieu, 2012). Banks et al. (2013) relate the rising popularity
to three factors.
First, the enthusiasm of the mid-1990s initiatives of Britain
and Australia to aggregate and promote art and media, under the
umbrella of the cultural and creative industries, leads to visibility
and therefore recognition in politics and the economy (Caves,
2002; Flew and Cunningham, 2010). The concept of the creative
industries is quite blurred, and the included sub-sectors differ

Please cite this article as: Kamprath, M., Mietzner, D., The impact of sectoral changes on individual competences: A reective
scenario-based approach in the creative..., Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change (2015),

M. Kamprath, D. Mietzner / Technological Forecasting & Social Change xxx (2015) xxxxxx

across countries (UNCTAD, 2010; KEA European Affairs, Turku

School of Economics, and MKW Wirtschaftsforschung, 2006).
The term is criticized from various perspectives, for example, the
neo-liberal attitude to focus on the commercialization of artistic
work or to bundle various creative sub-sectors which can be
hardly aggregated (Scott, 2004; O'Connor, 2009; Miller, 2009).
Nevertheless, it defines a sector and therefore an economic
perspective for the cultural product of artists' work and its final
monetization (Potts and Cunningham, 2008). While various
studies and reports at multinational, national, and regional levels
stress the particularly high influence of the creative industries in
the innovative capacity of the macroeconomic system (Bakhshi
and McVittie, 2009; Mller et al., 2009; UNCTAD, 2010;
European Affairs, 2009), it is mainly the shaping of public
opinion that characterizes this sector (Lampel et al., 2000). The
cultural and/or creative sector is a significant part of the
innovation system because of the possibility of producing social
realities and therefore influencing politics, companies, and public
perception (Carayannis and Campbell, 2009). The creative
industries act as key agents concerning inspiration, diffusion,
and acceptance of innovations from different industries. They are
central to an understanding of everyday life and to delivering
information, entertainment, and communication. They also act
as the key to analyzing the converging economic and cultural
environment (Deuze, 2009a).
The second interest in creative labor stems from the critical
social theory and addresses the transformation of work in
modern societies. This large body of literature about creative
labor is related to a more critical perspective on work in
creative occupations (Menger, 2012; McRobbie, 2002). This
literature distances the contemporary cultural work from the
romantic illustration of the Bohemian artist (Luckman, 2013).
The precarious conditions of labor are in the focus of
researchers referring to the topics of uncertainty and insecurity,
unrewarded careers, mobility, project-based and temporal
working, competition, gender, gatekeepers and mediators,
and power in social networks (Cunningham, 2014; Mathieu,
The third perspective of creative labor is related to the
prominent concept of the Creative Class (Florida, 2002) that led
to rising attention on the economic role of knowledge and
creative work due to the transformation from a productionoriented economy to a knowledge- and information-based
economy. The assumption is that individual skills and competences become the ultimate production factor because of the
increasing relevance of creativity in high-skilled work. This
argument slackens to some degree the research and discussion
of creative labor from the sectoral perspective of cultural and
creative industries. Recognizing the tendencies toward more
flexible structures of organizations (Castells, 2009; Chesbrough,
2003) and the long-term culturization of non-cultural sectors
(Lash and Urry, 1994), due to an increasing role of symbolic
meaning of products and services (Stoneman, 2010; Verganti,
2009), typical creative work concepts, like the boundaryless
career (Arthur and Rousseau, 1996), Bohemian lifestyle
(Eikhof and Haunschild, 2006), portfolio work/careers
(Platman, 2004), life-of-a-project-employment (Bielby and
Bielby, 2012) or the entreployee (Vo and Pongratz, 1998;
Pongratz and Vo, 2003) also become issues of creative labor in
today's organizations, no matter in which industry they count
themselves (Cunningham, 2014). Higgs and Cunningham

(Cunningham, 2011; Higgs and Cunningham, 2008) conceptualize the creative trident and derive three groups of professions related to creative work: (1) specialist creatives (in the
creative industries); (2) embedded creatives (in other industries), which represent the total employment in creative
occupations; and (3) support workers who are employed in
creative industries but mainly perform support work for the
specialist creative. Recent statistical data for Great Britain and
Australia have shown that creative economy employment is
now a highly significant and growing component of the
workforce as a whole economy that leads to the majority of
creative professionals working outside the creative industries
(e.g., designers, software developers, communication specialists
in manufacturing firms) (Cunningham, 2011; Bakhshi et al.,
Hence, we refer with this study to the literature on creative
labor and address, in particular, the industry focus on creative
industries as a dynamic and vibrant environment caused by
intensive interaction of cultural aspects and technological
developments. Although the term is viewed as incoherent (for
a discussion see Flew and Cunningham, 2010) for this study, we
refer to the definition of the UNCTAD (UNCTAD, 2010) and EU
(KEA European Affairs, Turku School of Economics, and MKW
Wirtschaftsforschung, 2006). In particular, we refer to the subsectors that are more creative than cultural and which are
mainly influenced by technology: publishing, music, film,
video, broadcasting, advertising, design, and interactive
media. However, we are convinced that the methods and
findings also apply to any creative occupations independently
from their sectoral affiliation.
3.2.1. Digitalization and working conditions in the creative
Constant and radical changes due to new technologies,
services, and business models continually shape labor markets
in digital creative industries. Digitalization and therefore new
forms of digital innovations (Yoo et al., 2012; Fichman et al.,
2014) change the traditional business models and value chains
(Rling and Duymedjian, 2014; iestad and Bugge, 2014;
Rothmann and Koch, 2014). Many companies still struggle, but
the cognitive lock-ins seem to be more rigid than technological
ones (Mangematin et al., 2014). To keep pace, companies in
this sector see the competences of their employees and
freelancers as the main resource for exploring new areas,
which seem promising for further revenue streams, or they
outsource different activities to specialized providers for costcutting reasons (Albarran, 2004, p. 301). The distinctiveness of
the creative industries also leads to special working conditions
based on fast-changing technological influences (see Deuze,
2009b) and the permanent balance between commercial and
creative interests (Roberts, 2010; Picard, 2005). New forces of
change lead to new ways of doing business and enhancing
creativity, which in turn influences the work of creative
professionals (Deuze, 2009b). Users become part of the
production or product innovation processes, connectivity
becomes a new dimension for successful media offers (next to
the traditional content, creativity, and commerce), and more
and more companies in this sector offshore, subcontract and
outsource various elements of the production process to save
costs and to distribute risks. These creative clusters contribute
to a shift away from states and national territories to a globally

Please cite this article as: Kamprath, M., Mietzner, D., The impact of sectoral changes on individual competences: A reective
scenario-based approach in the creative..., Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change (2015),

M. Kamprath, D. Mietzner / Technological Forecasting & Social Change xxx (2015) xxxxxx

converging cultural economy (Du Gay and Pryke, 2002).

According to Deuze (2009a), work in the creative industries
today relates to:
The inclusion of various stakeholdersprofessionals, producers, audiences, sources, and sponsorsin the (co)creation
of media content and experience;
The integration of various media industries in a global
production network; and
The complex coordination between distinctly different
goalscreativity, commerce, content, and connectivityin
the media production process.
Employment in the creative industries is more informal,
insecure, and discontinuous, but it is also prestigious, independent, and creative compared to traditional careers. This is
related to working conditions characterized by a high proportion of part-time jobs, long work hours, individual responsibility for work, pension and health benefits, and violations of
intellectual property (Smith and McKinlay, 2009; O'Connor,
2007). Furthermore, characteristics include the significant
differences between incomes (only a few earn very much and
many earn little), high risks compared to the possibility of
success, a high intrinsic motivation (appreciation is more
important than material success), and the demand for highlyskilled educational backgrounds (e.g., university degrees)
(Throsby, 2001). Nevertheless, the sector is still a mecca for
young and creative people. Especially, recent technological
developments create further demand for occupations within
and beyond the creative sector (Davis, 2011).
In line with the HCR-perspective, scholars do not see the
source of innovation in creative industries directly in technological innovations, but rather embedded as a resource in
heterogeneous employee knowledge (Kng, 2008). Technical
innovations challenge existing paradigms, models, and concepts, but the technical knowledge itself plays only a small part
in the mixture of skills and knowledge (Preston et al., 2009).
The dramatically changing framework conditions for creative
enterprises show those who manage to gather the brightest
heads around them are successful. The pressure to keep costs
low on the one hand and the quality demands adapted to the
multimediality on the other, pose enormous challenges for
creative enterprises. Creative industries firms fail if their
employees do not develop ideas that can be turned into
commercial, sellable commodities (Scase, 2002). This leads to
two mechanisms of competence development and further
training necessary for companies to transform knowledge and
skills in the future into HCR (Ployhart and Moliterno, 2011).
People working in the creative industries are highly skilled in
terms of formal training. In the EU, the academics quota in the
cultural and creative industries is around 55%, compared to ca.
30% in the entire employee market (Eurostat, 2011, p. 71).
Formal qualification for a creative job is increasingly offered from
public and private educational institutions. Depending on the job
description, in view of the competition from well-trained
specialists today, a career without a college education is hardly
possible anymore (Kritzenberger, 2007; Christopherson, 2004).
In contrast, within the creative industries, knowledge and
skills are gained from learning-by-doing. Formal training does
not serve as an efficient means for selecting talent and
screening skills (Menger, 2012; Grugulis and Stoyanova,
2008). The interplay between creativity, technology, and

economy has created a vast range of diverse job demands

often associated with a high degree of specialization (Flasdick
et al., 2009; Burdick, 2009) and, at the same time, a fusion of job
profiles of various professions, which can no longer be
separated from each other in professional work (Flasdick
et al., 2009). Moreover, new technologies and business models
open up a need for new job skills, some of which cannot be
learned through training because the training content for these
positions cannot be captured or defined in any way (Burdick,
2009, p. 6). Learning-by-doing also plays an important part
because of project-organized structures. Due to uncertainty
regarding assessments of competences and product quality
that goes hand-in-hand with rapid reconstruction, skills cannot
be developed and tested in long-term employment (Faulkner
and Anderson, 2012). Workers move from employer to
employer while accumulating experiences in highly diversified
jobs (Menger, 2012, p. 135). The concept of Stretchwork work
that largely fits with an individual's previous work experience
but introduces a small, novel element that extends the
professional's skills in a new direction (O'Mahony and
Bechky, 2006). So contract workers frequently try to acquire
jobs for which they lack prior experience.
Formal training and learning-by-doing must be differentiated according to specific competences required by the worker.
Both ways of competence development and training have their
justification, although formal training is seldom provided and
can undermine sustainability (Jeffcutt and Pratt, 2002).
Learning-by-doing is common, especially in fields where the
degree of specialization is high.
3.2.2. Current research on competences in the creative industries
After clarifying the issues of work conditions and skill
acquiring/application in the creative industries, for our study, it
is important to examine how researchers study competences
diversification for creative professionals. Whereas most studies
about the future of creative industries focus on new technological developments, user behavior, or new business models,
the human soft factor is rarely the focus. Concerning the
creative industries, only a few studies, especially in management literature, discuss the individual competences respectively skills concretely. But still, these authors use different
perspectives depending on their analyses objectives (see
Table 1).
Some authors use a disciplinary perspective to group
competence fields for the creative industries (artistic, technical,
and managerial competences) and show the interrelation
between these fields. This literature is assigned to the strategy
and innovation focus and discusses how individual competences
affect the corporate level. Canavan et al. (2013) for example,
found that besides artistic competences, creative professionals
need to develop technical and managerial competences.
Depending on two fundamentally different strategies of the
firm, the composition of these three competence groups differs.
In their case study analyses of digital media companies, Preston
et al. (2009) show that the mixture of heterogeneous knowledge
plays an important role when the technological environment
changes. Technical competences are necessary, but not sufficient.
Technological change can only be successfully adopted if
technical, creative/design, and business skills are balanced in
the concrete occupations. Using qualitative and quantitative data
Skillset and Creative and Cultural Skills (2010) and Skillset

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(2011) discuss competences and skills explicitly for producing,

distributing, and managing creative content. The authors discuss
the different sets of competences in a finer way for various
occupation profiles in the creative industries (e.g., multiplatform skills, broadcast engineering, IP, monetization of
multi-platform content). Related to this strategic and
innovation-oriented perspective is the literature of creative
labor that investigates conflicts between these commercial
and creative activities within a creative company. This
literature highlights the clash of two fundamental logics
between (1) the administrative goal to control and commercialize and (2) the desire of artistic expression (l'art pour
l'art) and journalistic freedom and independency (Caves,
2002; Eikhof and Haunschild, 2007; Alvarez et al., 2005).
Other studies aim to specify needed competences for
creative professionals not only from a disciplinary perspective,
but also to refer to very basic competences needed in general for
any occupation, such as social or personal competences. They
follow a more human resource development and pedagogybased perspective where professional competencesmainly
used in strategy and innovation literature (for a specific
industry)represent only one side of the coin. Methodological
competences and personal-social competences represent other
parts of the human individual (Heyse and Erpenbeck, 2009).
These studies aim to show the demand and requirements of
media companies from a human resource perspective. Dobrunz
et al. (2006) use 120 questionnaires and evaluate job offers in
newspapers and on websites across different creative subsectors to show the companies' demand. In line with human
resource and training literature, the authors also name nonindustry-specific competences that extend the focus of the
creative, business, or technology domain. They define a priori
three competence sub-categories, which are (1) professional
competences, (2) methodological competences, and (3) soft
skills. In a similar vein, Haukka (2011) compared the need for
specific competences between employers and aspiring creatives, which are grouped into key skills, personal attributes, and
employer demand. Sigmund's (2006) research questions aim to
identify necessary competences from literature and their
demand from eighteen media companies. She groups them
similarly to Dobrunz et al. as professional competences,
methodological competences, social competences, personal
competences and additional competences.
We conclude that two main perspectives are of relevance to
build a model of competences for the study (see Fig. 1). The first
one is the literature from a strategic and innovation perspective
that aims to explain, in more depth, how employee competences determine the strategy of the firm or the organization.
This stream reduces the competences mainly to the competences necessary to fulfill job-specific tasks and topics of
creative professionals in the relevant industry. These so-called
professional competences (Heyse and Erpenbeck, 2009) are, in
our case, the umbrella term for the creative, technical, and
managerial competences. We also position here parts of the
creative labor literature that discuss how contrary artistic and
business activities drive the creative organization. The second
stream takes a broader human resource and pedagogy-based
perspective (Dobrunz et al., 2006; Haukka, 2011, e.g., Heyse
and Erpenbeck, 2009). It adds the dimension of methodological
competences that describe the ability to learn and use different
methods. Further, it includes personal-social competences that

concern communicative and cooperative behavior, notably the

ability and willingness to act and communicate rationally and
responsibly to shape the interests of the group and oneself.
Personal competences contain the attitudes, values, and
motives that influence action from a superior level, including
self-reflection on one's own actions, openness to change, and
one's own initiative to create opportunities and possibilities
(Heyse and Erpenbeck, 2009).
The results of the competence studies in the creative sector
show the heterogeneity of the market results in a broad variety
of competences creative professionals should have. Nearly all
studies observe the creative industries as one industry, or they
position their findings from single sub-markets to the overall
umbrella of creative industries, although sub-sectors such as
television, radio, Internet, or video games vary in their
characteristics (Jeffcutt and Pratt, 2002). Nevertheless, the
results consolidate and generalize the findings so that the
implications still remain practical and can be easily concretized
for sub-industries. Existing studies for sub-industries show
similar results e.g., for the music industry see Hracs (2012).
Overall, the authors highlight the role of formal education and
training for the sector (Haukka, 2011; Preston et al., 2009).
However, surveys of firms have shown that current educational
institutions lag behind market demands (Dobrunz et al., 2006;
Haukka, 2011). Graduates may not be adequately prepared to
shift from managing themselves and having access to peers.
Graduates have grossly inflated expectations (Graham and
McKenzie, 1995) of their roles/work in the industry and a lack
of generic skills required to exchange and develop tacit
knowledge (Haukka, 2011). A shortage of competences has
major implications for productivity, such as an increase in
workloads for others (Skillset and Creative and Cultural Skills,
2010; Skillset, 2011). Hence, institutions such as the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in the UK (DCMS, 2008), as
well as the European Commission, call for research to
understand and map new skills currently needed or will be
needed in the future. Only then can a better match between
the supply of skills and the demands of the labor market
convert the high growth potential the cultural and creative
industries offer for the overall economy (European Commission, 2010, p. 1011).
Analyzing the studies according to the results and the
methodologies used, we see that important methodological
gaps remain. The critical point of most competence studies is
the temporary and individual bias of the findings. The abovementioned studies take a snapshot in time. Sigmund (2006)
finds evidence that long-term planning within the companies
only plays a minor role. In nearly all studies, no attention is paid
to consistent future demand regarding the competences of
graduates. Companies in these studies only reveal their current
and individual demands for competences without having a
shared sense of the future. This might lead to different
conclusions about how the future will look, depending on
individual backgrounds and beliefs. These few studies that
address future demand do not specify the given time horizon.
Additionally, common sense regarding the future is missing.
4. Methodological considerations, project setting, and data
The use of scenario exercises is manifold. It can support the
discovery of new business models, help to understand the

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Table 1
Discussion of individual competences in the creative industries.

Unit of analysis

Operationalization of competences in CI

Research eld

Canavan et al. (2013)

Different company strategies and relevant

competence focus on the workforce

Artistic competences
Managerial competences
Technological competences

Strategy and

Preston et al. (2009)

The input of creative ideas and skills,

management, market, and business knowledge for
the development of new digital media applications
and service

Technical, creative/design, and business skills

in different occupations:
Content authoring
Media authoring
Software development
IT and systems support
QA and testing
Sales and marketing
Other specic
Other generic

(Service) innovation

Skillset and Creative

and Cultural Skills
(2010) and Skillset

The education perspective for new employees as a

valuable resource for companies to stay

Multi-skilling competence
Multi-platform skills
Diagonal thinking
IP and monetization of multi-platform content
Learning and development skills
Sales and marketing
Business skills, management and leadership skills,
entrepreneurial skills
Broadcast engineering
Finance skills
Technical skills
Set or crafts skills
Production skills
Creative talent
Software skills

of professional

E.g., Caves (2002),

Alvarez et al. (2005),
Eikhof and
Haunschild (2006)

Conict between commercial and creative


Artistic competences (for writers, script editors,

actors, and directors)
Managerial competences for humdrum partners
(for nance, administrative staff, marketing and
sales teams, general management, and lawyers)

Creative labor

Key skills
Communication skills
Team skills
Problem-solving skills
Initiative and enterprise skills
Planning and organizing skills
Self-management skills
Learning skills and technology skills
Personal attributes
Positive self-esteem
Employer demand
Job-specic skills
Business skills
Career goals/planning skills
Software skills

Human resource

Professional competences (including practical

relevance, sector-specic knowledge, certication,
computing knowledge, management knowledge,
foreign languages, and knowledge of law and
Methodological competences (including project
management, scientic analysis competence, and
Soft skillsa (including the ability to work
independently, ability to work on a team,

Human resource

Haukka (2011)

Dobrunz et al. (2006)

Evaluation of job offers in newspapers and on

websites across different creative sub-sectors to
show the demand of media companies

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Table 1 (continued)

Unit of analysis

Operationalization of competences in CI

Research eld

communication/eloquence, personality, motivation,

creativity, and mobility)
Sigmund (2006)

Qualications required by media companies and

training opportunities in universities

Human resource
Professional competences (plus knowledge about
media-related value creation processes, history of
communication, communication science, media use,
PR, organizational communication)
Methodical competence (journalism, PR, project
management, creativity and innovation, presentation,
and rhetorical competences)
Social competence (cooperation)
Personal competence (structural, conceptual,
analytical, logic thinking, intercultural, business,
leadership, and innovation and transfer competence)

Under soft skills, Dobrunz et al. subsume competences named social and personal competences in competence literature.

interrelation between different actor groups, or be used as a

robust test for existing and future strategies.
Scenario analysis is an approach very often used in
corporations to prepare firms for the future (Schoemaker,
1995; Godet, 2001; van der Heijden et al., 2002; van der
Heijden, 2004). Scenarios do not present the most realistic
future state; they are not prognoses or predictions. Scenario
analysis allows the development of several alternative futures
while being aware of the uncertainties. The scenario focuses on
what will happen if and not on what will happen (Tress and
Tress, 2003). Scenario mapping helps managers remain aware
of environmental changes and developments outside the firm
boundaries. The approach allows the firm to bind its possible
futures by delineating possible and probable outcomes based
on a set of trends that are forecasted with some degree of
confidence as well as uncertainties, whose outcomes are
unknown (O'Connor and Veryzer, 2001, p. 232). In this
sense, scenarios are used to identify market trends and new
applications for new and existing technologies or inventions
(Rohrbeck and Schwarz, 2013).
The procedures used to develop scenarios differ greatly and
vary according to goals, resources, and participants (Mietzner
and Reger, 2005). However, in practice, the following basic
principles can be stated (Karger, 2003, p. 8):

A scenario is a set of characteristics of different influencing

factors that describe a future event.
Scenarios must be relevant, coherent, plausible, and
In line with literature that address the future of work, future
competences of individuals or the impact of technological
developments on the working environment (Mechling, 2004;
Wymbs, 2012; Havas, 2009; Harper and Georghiou, 2005), we
address the theoretical and methodological need to develop
approaches to combine foresight methods on a microperspective for HCR development. From 2009 till mid of 2011,
we ran an extended research project in the creative industries
to support education and training providers as well as
companies to overcome the competence gap between education supply and work demand identified by several studies
(Bauer et al., 2011; Bridgstock, 2011; Dobrunz et al., 2006;
Haukka, 2011; Cooper and Tang, 2010). Our aim was to explore
how the changing business environment affects working
conditions and competences of individuals working in creative
industries and which competences employees will consequently need in the future. As a scenario time horizon, we
targeted the year 2015. The final results were published in a
scenario report (Mietzner, D. et al. 2010), which now at the end

Fig. 1. Competence layer model for creative industries.

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of 2014, gives us a special opportunity to present not only the

methodology and the results, but also an ex-post evaluation of
the predictions we made nearly five years ago to verify our
considerations around the developed approach.
We decided in 2009 to use a scenario approach because
scenario studies mainly address wider time horizons where
quantitative approaches such as trend analysis or prognosis are
no longer an appropriate way to gain knowledge about the
future (see also van der Heijden, 1996, p. 92). While trend
analysis is widely used to address a time horizon of two to four
years, scenario analysis is implemented for a time frame of five,
ten, or twenty years. Due to longer time horizons, scenarios
deliver qualitative results in different scenarios (multiple
futures), while trend analysis is used to come up with a single
future often described in numbers. The addressed time horizon
depends on the object, industry, or technology under investigation, the aim of the analysis, or the decision-making needs. In
an uncertain environment, which is characterized by a high
degree of technological change and rapid developments, the
high pace of competition and a wide range of change due to the
phenomenon of convergence, such as in the creative sector,
scenarios will be developed for shorter time horizons. When
this research project took place, we chose a time frame of five
years so we could develop scenarios that went far beyond
developments that can be better captured by trend analysis but
are still close enough to be relevant and reliable for a highly
dynamic sector, such as the digital creative industries. Furthermore, we had to consider the time it would take to change and
implement new curricula structures in the higher education
system before results could be observed. The scenario analysis
should be able to provide an estimation of possible future
developments in the creative sector and conclusions about job
The link between competences and the existing industryspecific conditions formed the starting point of the scenario
model for competences, as industry characteristics have been
decisive for the development of competences (Kaufhold, 2006,
p. 24). Knowing the future conditions for the industry would
lead to a better understanding of which competences will be
needed. Hence, the scenario model considers the multi-level
perspective of the HCR in the way that the detection of the
current industry-specific conditions (in terms of market
developments and labor market characteristics) is directly
related to the individual competences currently needed for
organizations to respond to this business environment. We
suppose an insight on future individual competences requires
the projection of future industry conditions as a basis (see
Fig. 2).
For the development of scenarios, various approaches can
be identified in the literature (Postma and Liebl, 2005; Godet,
2001; Porter and Millar, 1985; Schwartz, 1991). Within the
framework of developing scenarios for the creative industries,
we chose a systematic approach toward scenario development
following Gausemeier et al. (Gausemeier et al., 1996, 1998; von
Reibnitz, 1992). The generic procedure used with the scenario
model is characterized by (1) the systematic review of the
situation, (2) the development of influence factors and
identification of key factors, (3) the development of future
projections, (4) the building of scenarios, and (5) scenario
communication. The following figure indicates which methods
were used for each step and which results could be generated

within the analysis (see Fig. 3 and detailed explanation in the

following sections).
The scenario analysis was structured by a core team with
methodological expertise regarding scenario analysis with
experience in the creative sector and the development of
curricula in the higher education system. Furthermore, the core
team was extended by a group of experts in several steps of the
analysis to ensure the validation of results. As shown in Fig. 3,
we used secondary and primary data in the scenario process.
Secondary data mainly included the analysis of industry reports
and outlook studies of the media and creative industries
(Cassarino and Geuna, 2008; European Commission, 2009;
Haasis and Buchholz, 2009; Anderson and Rainie, 2008;
De Waele, 2010; Johnson et al., 2009; KEA European
Affairs, 2009; Mnchner et al., 2009; Van Oranje et al., 2008;
PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2009b, 2010; Cuhls and Kimpeler,
2008; Van Alstyne, 2011). These sources were used in step
(1) and step (2) and functioned as a foundation for primary
data analysis and evaluation. Primary data was extracted via
interviews and workshops with industry experts. Especially in
the systematic review of the present situation, qualitative
information was collected from seventeen individual interviews (see Table 2).
The interviews were held with experts having a background
in the creative industries and a broad knowledge in specific
creative sub-sectors. Three interviewees were chosen because
of their positions in industry associations that represent various
sub-sectors. Most experts were identified as opinion leaders
through industry conference programs or statements and
essays in well-known industry publications. The interviewees
were mostly heads of departments of large companies or CEOs
of small- and medium-sized companies to ensure they were
involved in the daily business and active in the strategy
formulation process of their companies. It is important to note
that we focused on experts who, in the first line, knew the
market and technology developments and, in the second line,
knew the required individual competences. This helped us to
understand the interrelationship between both domains and to
discuss past, current, and possible future impacts. Our semistructured interview guidelines included a research grid
addressing three fundamental topics in relation to current
individual competences, which are (1) future changes of sector,
(2) developments in technology and employee demand, and
(3) current and future job requirements (see Appendix A). The
interviews were transcribed and coded with qualitative
content analysis (Miles and Hubermann, 1994; King, 1998).
Furthermore, to ensure contextualization and interpretation of
the information at the end of step 1, a workshop with an
external media technology consulting company was held to
discuss the first outcomes. In later stages, a permanent
committee of three experts was established (steps 2, 3, and
5) that was still active after the official project end. These
experts teach students in creative subjects and arts at
University and acted as discussants for interpretation. After
the official project end we continue to diffuse and promote our
results on practitioner conferences. Further we hold contact to
some companies we interviewed and follow the industry
changes via industry magazines and news-feeds. This led to a
permanent reflection of the study results.
In the following sections, the activities and research
outcomes of the scenario process are described in more detail.

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Fig. 2. Scenario model for competences: interrelations between business environment and competences.

5. Implementation of the scenario analysis

As explained in the previous section, we have a special
perspective for this research paper. Because the original
scenario study mainly took place in 2010 for the year 2015,
we were in the position to show our initial considerations and
frameworks and to add a scenario evaluation from today's
perspective. In the following section, we present the original
scenario analysis, which was conducted in a research project.
The presented insights show the research status and common
knowledge on the area of investigation at that time. Later, in the
analysis of the scenarios, we will add a critical ex-post
reflection on our findings and compare our scenarios with the
situation today.

5.1. Systematic review of the present situation (step 1)

Over the past decades, the creative sector has undergone a
disruptive shift from analog and separate markets, where
companies once acted as gatekeepers and transferred information in a one-way communication stream to the end-consumer
(one-to-many). Because of new technologies as enablers, an
environment has developed where the users interact with
many different information sources via different channels
(many-to-many) and a broad variety of content (content
explosion) (Cassarino and Geuna, 2008; KEA European Affairs,
2009; PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2009b, 2010; Pricewaterhouse
Coopers, 2006). These trends are mainly driven by the four
main forces of technology, regulation, globalization, and sociocultural developments (Albarran, 2004; OECD, 2003). The
ongoing process of this transformation is summarized with
the term digital convergence characterizing a melting or
blurring of different knowledge domains (Hacklin et al., 2013;
Gaines, 1998; Pennings and Puranam, 2001). This refers to the

convergence of the basic technologies, the connection of

formerly separate sectors, and the added value from combining
telecommunication, media, and information technology on the
one hand and transmedial content delivery on the other hand
(Hacklin et al., 2009; Stieglitz, 2003; Wirtz, 2008). Convergence
can be seen as a multidimensional change of industries with
effects on the overall economy and society (Siegert and
Hautzinger, 2006; Fransman, 2000). These different dimensions (we will refer to this later) influence each other
interdependently in such a way that a virtuous cycle is
triggered consisting of innovation, consumers' changed behavior, and new innovations that, in feedback loops, again trigger
further direct or indirect fusion (Hacklin et al., 2009; Gschka
and Radinger, 2006).
Derived from our expert interviews, due to digitalization, this
convergence mechanism leads to a series of disruptive shifts.
Several technologies were mentioned by the experts and in the
secondary data that partly still exist but have the potential to
form the foundation for new services and content. Among these
are new broadband technologies, display technologies, image
technologies (3D, holography), augmented reality, locationdetecting, embedded systems, cloud computing, interface and
interaction technologies, and semantic web. Among others, the
following market developments characterize the creative sector.
Due to further penetration of mobile Internet, increasing
bandwidth, and decreasing costs the mentality shifts fundamentally from content owning to content access. The erosion of
property-oriented thinking opens up new business opportunities. Media consumption shifts to the Internet, causing non-linear
usage and high individualization. The Internet will be the main
delivery channel for content products. Additionally, the use of
social media has a high impact on media consumption and
enables new forms of self-organization (e.g., recommending,
crowd-funding, and sharing-economy). Regarding new creative
products, transmedia content, and design embedded in

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Fig. 3. Scenario process, methods and results.

competitive business models form the new innovation triangle.

Innovative business models base on multiple revenue streams,
micro transactions, or offer their services for free in exchange for
personal data. New ways of data tracking might cause the misuse
of data and can harm personal rights. The distribution of
intelligent programs and services on smart phones that
communicate with the technical environment lead to smart

personal assistants. They navigate through the data flood and

the oversupply of content.
The role of classical media companies shifts from gatekeeper to gate watcher (e.g., by identifying trends early in the social
media universe). However, also for non-creative industries,
these developments are of high impact. Next to media
penetration, relevance and necessity will be the imperatives

Table 2
Interview partners (based on Mietzner and Kamprath, 2013, p. 287).

Industry afliation



Position of the interviewee


Creative industriesdigital games

Creative industriesnewspaper
Telecommunication provider
Creative industrieslm, TV, games
Creative industriesdigital games
Creative industriesdifferent CI sub-sectors
Creative industriesdifferent CI sub-sectors
Creative industrieslm and TV production
Creative industrieslm and TV production
Creative industriesbook publishing
Creative industriesTV broadcast
Creative industriesradio broadcast
Creative industriesinteractive design
Creative industriesinteractive design
Creative industriesmedia and internet technologies
Creative industriesmedia and internet technologies
Creative industriesinteractive design

Research and consulting institute

500 and more
500 and more
500 and more
500 and more
500 and more

Head of department
Head of department
Head of department
CEO and Project manager
Project manager
Head of department
Deputy CEO
Head of department
Head of department
Head of department
Project manager
Deputy CEO

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for advertisements. In a sea of products, well-known products,

brands, and IPs become extremely valuable.
According to the scenario model for competences (Fig. 2),
after a systematic review of the business environment comes the
review of working conditions in respect of relevant competences.
We analyzed current statistical data of student matriculation in
creative subjects and practice-oriented literature about different
career paths and how creative professionals of today obtain
positions. In line with the literature on competences and skills in
the creative industries (Bartosova, 2011; Bakhshi et al., 2013;
Ashton, 2011; Dobrunz et al., 2006; Haukka, 2011; Skillset,
2011), the interviewed experts explained how the transformation process has a massive impact on working conditions and
competences from their perspective. From the interviews four
major competence-shifting trends emerges: The need for
interdisciplinary fundamentals, an open mind about the new,
permanent transformation of job-specific knowledge and a
balance between specialist and generalist attitude (Mietzner
and Kamprath 2013). We used these insights to understand
what the influences are that determine the need and the
development of competences in the creative industries (see
step 2). Based on the relevant literature and using the interview
data, we prepared a portfolio of competences for the creative
industries sector, which is discussed in more detail in Mietzner
and Kamprath (2013). This competence portfolio leans on our
competence layer model (Fig. 1) and integrates more specific
competences into the three conceptualized categories of professional, methodological, and personal-social competences.
With this step in the scenario process, we explore the
business environment and the required competences from a
current perspective. From the used data, we also received first
insights of how future developments tend to change. In step 2,
we accumulate and systemize our findings to specify a more
coherent scenario and to build a shared picture of the future.

5.2. Identication of inuence factors and selection of key factors

(step 2)
The review of the status quo in the sector (including details
about the market situation, the labor market, and the
demanded competences in the creative industries) form the
basis for identifying influence factors. Influence factors are the
main drivers that play a significant role for the entire industry.
To find the key influence factors in a structured way, we use
a framework that helps us to analyze industry-specific
framework conditions. Mostly, industry analysis models stem
from the strategic management literature (e.g., the five-forcesmodel) (Porter and Millar, 1985; Porter, 1991), but are often of
a generic nature. Due to the disassembly and the reassembly of
the creative industries in their various forms, we believe the
best way to handle and structure the complex processes on a
number of levels is to use a framework that describes
convergence as a multidimensional change and addresses the
specifics of the creative industries and related sectors overall
(Lei, 2000). According to the digital convergence layer model of
Siegert and Hautzinger (2006), the changing environment of
digital media and creative companies can be described on a
five-dimensional convergence process. The dimensions are
economy, technology, politics, content, and society (society
includes practices, user behavior, and reception).


Based on the primary and secondary data, we identify

thirty-seven influence factors and assign these into the
influence areas of economy, technology, politics, content, and
society (see Fig. 4). Each of the influence factors is described in
detail to ensure a common understanding about the factors.
Following Gausemeier et al. (1998), we used an influence
analysis. Influence analysis belongs to the cross impact analysis
group. This technique is applied in a number of areas where
complex and dynamic systems are characterized by
interlinking effects between a greater number of system
components (for details see Cole et al., 2007; Vester, 1988;
Schlange, 1995).
This step is necessary to extract the driving forces and
highly dynamic factors of the system and to reduce the
number of influence factors to a manageable amount. We
used an influence analysis to show the integration of each
factor within the system to figure out factors that are
strongly interrelated in the system and therefore have a
high impact on other influence factors, as well are strongly
influenced by other factors. For the influence analysis, we
used an influence matrix, which puts each influence factor in
relation to each other. We scaled the weighting of the
intensity of influence from 0 to 32 (Gausemeier et al., 1998;
Cole et al., 2007). The chosen scale allows the scenario team
an explicit evaluation of the influences among all factors.
Together with an industry expert, we discussed the influence factors and their constellation in the system grid before
an additional group of experts got involved. All factors were
peer reviewed by this group of experts with expertise
regarding competences, industry-specific requirements,
technology, content, and politics. The influence analysis is
visualized by an activepassive system grid to visualize the
role of each factor within the system. The system grid shows
the active and passive sums of a factor (see Fig. 4). The active
sum answers the question, How strong is the influence of
one factor on the other factors of the system? The passive
sum explains, How strong is the influence of the other
factors of the system to one factor? (SCMI, 2004, p. 16
et seq.). For example, the grid shows that factor 1 (number of
private and state training provider) has a relatively strong
impact on the whole system (active sum 60) but is not being
strongly influenced by other factors (passive sum 23).
Factors 6, 9, 24, 30, and 31 have a relatively high impact on
other factors, but they are also strongly influenced by other
factors themselves, indicating they are deeply interrelated
within the system and dynamic. During the selection of key
factors, we considered balancing the factors covering all five
levels of the convergence model (economy, technology,
politics, content, and society). Nevertheless, the system grid
only supports the decision-making process for the selection
of key influence factors. It strongly supports a structured
discussion on the selection of key influence factors and the
understanding of interrelations between the factors. The
marked influence factors in the grid (see Fig. 4) are chosen as
key factors (see Table 3).

0 = no effect; 1 = weak or delayed effect; 2 = medium effect; and
3 = strong effect.

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Fig. 4. Active-passive-system grid of influence factors (the circled influence factors are identified as key factors).

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Table 3
Overview of key factors.
Key factor

Inuence area

Active sum

Passive sum

Number of private and state training providers (No. 1)

Teaching content (No. 2)
Capacity of innovation (No. 6)
Ability to cooperate (No. 7)
New competitors (No. 9)
Setting of new technical standards (No. 24)
Inuence of groups of interest (No. 28)
Development of the consumer demand (No. 30)
Development of media content/offers (No. 31)
Change of the understanding of communication (No. 34)




5.3. Development of future projections (step 3)

In the next step, we developed alternative projections of the
ten key factors for the year 2015. The majority of key factors were
anticipated by three projections, and two key factors have two
projections. Each projection is described briefly so that we have
twenty-eight projections in the end (see an example for two key
factors in Table 4). Again, our projections are first developed
within the core team based on primary and secondary data and
are subsequently reviewed by experts who were already involved
in the development of influence factors and key factors.
Furthermore, this step of the scenario analysis is a highly creative
one, because out of the box projections should also be identified
and considered for further analysis (Gausemeier et al., 1998).
5.4. Building scenarios (step 4)
Future projections can be characterized as the backbone
of the final future scenarios. In this step, the alternative
projections of the key factors are linked so that they are
consistent. The plausibility of scenarios depends on the
adequate combination of projections. However, if we are
discussing the future, consistency is subjective. In this case,
the consistency analysis is a way to identify links between

projections (Fink et al., 2002, p. 87 et seq.). With the help of a

scale from 1 to 5, we validate the projections for their
consistency in a matrix (1 = total inconsistency, 2 = partial
inconsistency, 3 = neutral/independence, 4 = reciprocal support, 5 = strong reciprocal support) (Gausemeier et al., 1998).
We investigated the likelihood of the combined occurrence of
two projections within one scenario by using the scale from 1
to 5. Using the software tool ScenarioManager (SCMI, 2004)
we cluster the projections with a high degree of consistency.
The cluster analysis provides the information about which
projection bundles fit best and, therefore, show unique characteristics. The analysis showed there are three main scenarios that
have significant differences. Fig. 5 indicates the coherence
between the scenarios. Similar bundles are placed close to each
other, while very different bundles are located at a greater
distance from each other (e.g., scenario 3 opposite of scenario 1).
5.5. Scenario communication (step 5)
To build cognitive awareness, we named the scenarios
according to their theme. In the following, the three scenarios
are briefly presented by their unique characteristics (see Table 5).
The first scenario, Open university, and the second scenario,
Creative disorientation in the technological society, show a

Table 4
Examples for key factor projections.
Key inuence factor
(two examples)

Future projections

Short description of future projections

Capacity of innovation (6)

The impulse generator

Creative companies learn to take and manage risks with balanced strategies. They are
adaptive to new trends and developments.
The customer's needs are interpreted very well. A moderate share of earnings will be invested
in incremental but also radical innovation projects. Trial and error is an accepted norm.
Creative companies show a skeptical attitude toward innovations. Less innovation is
happening because of the protectionism of old business models. Progress is only incremental,
and the number of innovation copy cats outweighs the number of real innovators by far.
Powerful creative companies constrain newcomers and new technologies that endanger their
business model. While using legal actions, they try to prevent innovations.
Prot from business is not reinvested in necessary infrastructure that could enable new
services. This thinking in old ways is not compatible with new technical possibilities, consumer
behavior, and user needs.
Users are curious about new digital innovations. Technology is a common part of life. The user
is surrounded by a digital aura that shares personal data with family, friends, and colleagues.
The private becomes public.
A part of the customer is abandoned to the latest media and entertainment offerings. The
other part cannot keep pace with development and rejects progress.
Security leaks and cyber-crime lead to a violation of personal rights. New ways of
communication appear but lack acceptance.
The trust in new media and entertainment services decline. People decide to be much more
cautious with innovations.

Innovation with tiny steps

The innovation corral

Change of the understanding

of communication (34)

Communication anywhere,
anything, instantly
The digital divide
The digital retraction

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Table 5
Three scenarios for the creative industries for 2015.
Open universitycore features

Creative disorientation in the technological

societycore features

Down pricing and cocooningcore features

Innovation capacity: Innovation impulse

Cooperation capacity: Being open should be
used as a chance
Number of private and state training
providers: The number of state training
providers is prevailing in the media sector.
New competitors: Strengthening of mediumsized enterprises
Inuence of groups of interest: Associations as
a bridge

Number of private and state training providers:

The number of private training providers is
prevailing in the media sector.
Training content: The quality remains at the same
New competitors: Media groups remain powerful
Innovation capacity: Innovation in little steps
Development of the demand on the part of the
consumers: Consumers' openness
Change of the understanding of
communications: Digital communication

Number of private and state training providers: The

number of private and state training providers remains
the same or is decreasing
New competitors: Growth of the illegal media market
Development of the demand on the part of the
consumers: The free of charge-mentality
Development of the media offers: The downwards
Training contents: The quality of training is getting worse
Inuence of groups of interest: Associations as a sustainer
Change in the understanding of communications: The

positive picture of the future. However, the third scenario Down

pricing and cocooning, describes a negative development.
To make the foresight exercise more precise, imaginable,
and memorable, we illustrated the scenarios to communicate
the findings in an appropriate way. Often, pictures, stories,
newspaper articles, or catchy headlines are used to describe the
future worlds (Van Alstyne, 2011; Rasmussen, 2008; Geschka
et al., 2005; Shell, 2008). In the case of the future of the creative
industries, we described the three scenarios through the eyes of
fictive actors. The first scenario is described by a newspaper
interview with a business manager who worked in the industry
and returned to a media school as a professor. The second
scenario is illustrated by a digital diary entry from a teenager
who will finish high school soon and is making up her mind to
become a video producer. Scenario three is a retrospective life
story of a woman who worked for years in several low-paying
and part-time jobs in the creative industries until she found a
new job opportunity in another industry. The visualization of the
future helps decision makers raise their awareness for possible
future developments and understand how to prepare themselves or the organization for future developments, as described
in the scenarios. An appropriate visualization, such as in pictures,
can create involvement and engage people's imaginations (Fiol
and Huff, 1992; Buzan, 2003; Eppler and Platts, 2009).
The first scenario for 2015, Open university, describes the
story of entrepreneur Peter Silberman, who participates in the
exchange program FlexiPracs during his job as a creative
manager of a medium-sized media company. This program
stipulates that qualified practitioners and researchers dovetail
more closely regarding the economy, teaching, and research in
a tandem-like program. The media landscape has been marked
by cooperative thinking. The excess supply of low-quality
products has been reduced by measures at political and
entrepreneurial levels. Quality and innovations are being
checked with the customers, and associations accompany
arrangements on the determination of technical standards.
Due to uniform training standards, the graduates in the media
sector are trained to become specialists who closely cooperate
with specialists of adjacent sectors. Universities are considered
to be long-term cooperation partners of media companies.
The second scenario, Creative disorientation in the technological society, describes the search by high school graduate
Shari, who wants to apply for a study program in the creative
industries after having passed her high school degree. The
scenario describes the creative industries as a sector in which

small innovation steps are only taken because of the pressure of

technology providers. Technology-based companies are tapping into the business fields of content producing creative
industries more than ever. They act as gatekeepers and gain a
rapid share of the household's budget for media consumption.
Engagements in cooperation among these parties are often
one-sided. These dependent relationships cause strengthening
of micro and small companies but prevent them from growing.
The ability of industry professionals to access and make use of
informal networks remains the key success factor. However, as
a consequence, the demand for creative representatives is
increasing in technology companies and other sectors. Companies in creative industries are developing their own competences. However, this also leads to an increase in offers from
digital creative industry training institutions. Missing standards
of training content lead to a tangle of study programs and
universities. Apart from knowledge, admission into study at a
reputed university also depends on the tuition fee to be paid.
The third scenario, Down pricing and cocooning, reflects a
negative development in the media sector. The development is
described with the help of Carol's career, who started her design
studies and battled her way through various internships and
low-paying jobs with high workloads. In such a future, ruinous
competition, bad quality products and content, and massive data
protection violations lead to a downward spiral, user resignation,
and facing new media technologies and offerings. High cost
pressure and quality demands, which are getting lower, pave the
way for a flood of semi-professionals and autodidacts (adverse
selection) accepting commissions below the minimum level. The
creative industry environment is marked by low-quality content,
aggressive advertisements, and technical breakdowns because
other business models have not been sustainable. Higher quality
content that stands out is instantly available on the pirate copy
market. The mainly poor salaries in connection with the
increasing number of semi-professional freelancers daze entrepreneurial activities and innovation. Low incomes of many
creative workers will put pressure on the social systems because
it has been difficult to accrue reserves. Our protagonist, Carol,
drew the consequences from this situation and changed the
sector in which she worked.
6. Analysis of scenarios and a present-day reection
The object of analysis within the different scenarios is the
characteristics or the composition of individual competences of

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Fig. 5. Scenarios (2D-mapping).

creative professionals in these three future industry contexts.

According to our scenario model for competences, we assume
that market conditions determine individual competences in
the way that competences result from actions and situations
within a given context. By implication, with these scenarios we
can explore future market conditions (based on exploration of
various key influence factors) and gain insights for future
The three scenarios differ in their projections of the key
influence factors. This results in extremely different market
conditions and implies that competences also differ in their
occurrence and need from scenario to scenario. We have seen in
the previous section that authors use different approaches to
operationalize and describe competences changes in the
creative sector. We used the integrated competence model for
creative professions, which allows describing the relevant
competences from a human resource, strategy, and innovation
management perspective. Originally, we discussed the scenarios
according to the finer, granular competences we subsumed
under the professional, methodological, and personalprofessional competence categories, which is in line with more human
resource orientated studies (Dobrunz et al., 2006; Haukka,
2011). We now deepen the discussion with the strategy and
innovation perspective on the creative, managerial, and technological domains and how these in particular are affected.
In general, we found that some scenarios imply specific
competences. While in other scenarios, the same competences
seem to be less prominent or even inconsequential. We
concluded that in scenario twoas opposed to scenario
onewe observe a lack of several competences; these are
mainly competences that would lead to more networking and
integration of new knowledge. The industry seemed to be
unable to use the technological potential that is offered.
Creative industries failed, to a certain extent, to use new

technologies for creative content. The reason for this might be

that technology providers are too strict in their policies to
cooperate with content suppliers or the establishment of new
channels, and access to potential customers is blocked or
embarrassed. In return, artists and creative professionals are
not open to technological developments and experience digital
technology more as a threat than an opportunity for their work.
Both developments lead to a drift apart. While there are new
technological developments, a sustainable value proposition in
terms of a technology-content-tandem is missing. This
prevents the industry from establishing new business models
that transform technological input into economic output
(Chesbrough and Rosenbloom, 2002). In the first scenario, the
symbiosis between technological development (e.g., new
devices and technical infrastructure) and fresh content
generation for these technical platforms works well. In the
second scenario, we observed a technology-dominant
dogma and a separation between hardware manufacturers
and established content providers who are successful in
preventing new competitors from market entrance and
saving the status quo. In such an environment, those
individual competences, which are necessary for openness
for change and curiosity, do not exist because innovation is
not valued or cannot be monetized.
In scenario three, we see a working environment where
creative work is not valued and a downward spiral of low
content quality and a lack of job professionalism erode any
innovation efforts. Education is focused on improving technical
skills rather than creative expression. Innovative content does
not find its way to the customers because distribution channels
are dominated by media conglomerates. Working in the
creative industries refers to increased productivity and efficiency of standardized products. Comparing all scenarios, it is
apparent that, the more positive a scenario is, the more

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manifold are the requirements on competence development.

However, in all scenarios handling new technologies, combining multimedia channels, and gaining basic management
knowledge will always be necessary. From an HCR perspective,
the description of the environment in scenario two and
especially in scenario one has wide-reaching implications.
Scenarios one and two are characterized by turbulence and
uncertainty caused by and results in potential for innovation
and growth. This also means that, in more complex environments, individual skills and knowledge become more important to creating HCR for a firm (Ployhart and Moliterno, 2011;
Nyberg et al., 2014). Individual employees in this environment
play a valuable role because market knowledge is renewing
constantly in short-term periods. In opposition to scenario
three, where long-term competitive advantages can be generated and change is much more controllable, in scenario one
with its unpredictable dynamics only a permanent sequence of
temporal advantages can be generated by firms (Brown and
Eisenhardt, 2006; McGrath, 2013). Thus, the creation and
composition of individual human resources can be understood
as a dynamic capability to balance and unite human resource
management practices permanently (education and selection
of employees) on the micro-level according to the needs of the
environmental context (Lepak and Snell, 1999, 2002). Companies have to rely on their employees in the way that employees
permanently update their knowledge and find flexible routines
to make sense of technological changes and their use for
creative work to increase efficiency in production and originality in product and service innovation. Thus, we see the
tendencies highlighted by Lingo and Tepper (2013) that
creative workers become catalysts of change and innovation
to invent titles, products, and even new markets in scenario
6.1. An ex-post reection on the scenarios in 2014
Through further workshops, dissemination of the project
results, and a new research project in the creative industries,
we still followed the ongoing sector transformation. We were
curious if and how our developed scenarios would fit with the
When we developed the scenarios in our research project
five years ago, the creative industries seemed on a crossroad
toward its future development. Many new technological
developments seemed to be on the horizon. The third iPhone
generation was recently released, smartphones of other
manufactures found acceptance through Google's Android OS,
and most of the tech-world doubted the success of a new
upcoming tablet device category after Apple's first iPad version.
Platforms and online distribution channels for creative content
(except for music) were in its infancy. Internet everywhere for
smart phones was more a buzzword than a reality. The
discussion about how to increase the willingness to pay for
digital content and reduce digital piracy was in full swing, and
most of the content creators criticized upcoming new business
models, such as music and video streaming, because it seemed
that they would only earn a small piece of the revenues they
had earned before. In this ecosystem, higher education
institutions in the creative industries were struggling because
of this market and technology uncertainty. They saw their
graduates leaving for environments for which nobody could

prepare them. In this time, our study was initiated to give

orientation for educators and their demandersthe creative
From this point in time, our three scenarios should paint a
picture of a possible future for the year 2015. Now, at the end of
the year 2014, this gives us the opportunity to reflect on our
developed scenario approach and anticipated scenarios. To our
knowledge, until now, no foresight study has shown a
reflection at the time these scenarios happened. We believe
that the evaluation of the plausibility of scenarios offers a way
to improve foresight methods. In the following, we use a critical
ex-post reflection about what we were able to anticipate for the
competences of individuals in the creative industries but also
what we did not anticipate so far.
6.2. What we anticipated
Comparing the status of the creative industries today, in our
view, the current reality would fit into the major line of the first
scenario (Open university). We anticipated the interdisciplinary approaches needed to fulfill the requirements of
producing content for several different platforms, which now
becomes reality. Second screen offers mutual IP deals
between content creators (e.g., games and movie industry),
and transmedia storytelling resonates with customers who
move between different platforms. The widespread acceptance
of new content platforms established norms, convenience, and
security to pay online for certain content. The possibility to
generate enormous media penetration via social networks
opens the space for new, successful start-ups. The establishment of platforms on platforms (Gawer and Cusumano, 2014)
has led to a bulk of small, medium-sized and large companies
offering entertainment or services to customers or to support
content creators. Hence, these economic issues become more
relevant in the education of today's creative professionals and
are reflected in most curricula in courses for entrepreneurship,
marketing, and producing. Because most of the creative
professionals themselves use the social services and platforms
of their customers, the exchange for new ideas, combining
knowledge, and learning belongs to the daily business of
(upcoming) creative professionals. New forms of work appear,
such as co-working spaces, hackathons, or experimental
working in labs.
6.3. What we did not anticipate
Of course, no one can predict the future in its entirety, so
neither could our approach. Although we could find overlaps
with our scenarios, some developments we did not anticipate
occur with major implications for the work of creative
professionals. Two of these are currently emerging and have
the potential to change the work of creative occupations to a
large extent. The first is the rising omnipresence of media
content, based on a richness of physical and virtual platforms.
Fast, omniscient Internet connections and new portable and
powerful devices with space-saving touch screens and interconnectivity to whole ecosystems create the foundation for new
platforms that again enable new business models and delivery
channels for customers (see the rising announcements of home
entertainment consoles). Technology companies become principals of content to promote their technology (e.g., Netflix and

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Amazon produce TV series, and car manufacturers produce

games to promote environment-friendly driving). Products of
other industries get mediatized. Today, in-car systems or
television devices are platforms to stream music and videos or
play games. Since the latest game console generation and the
announcements of various companies to produce new game
consoles, such devices will transform into media centers with
new content libraries (e.g., games, movies, TV series, music
platforms). This means that the work of creative professionals
requires their content to be more contextualized to a specific
platform, while this content becomes a critical factor to
promoting new technologies in other industries. The platform
variety seems to increase steadily.
The second important aspect we did not anticipate in this
dimension is the creation and use of user-generated data (not
content) that emerges while the audience watches movies
online, plays games, switches music streams, pushes the likebutton, or simply browses through the websites. For the first
time in recent mass media content, producers see directly
what, how, and when recipients consume content. Big data
today change the way media products are produced. The game
industry, as a pioneer, is already strongly affected by the issue
of metric-driven design (Whitson, 2012). With advanced
data tools, player behavior is analyzed if quests are too difficult,
when players are willing to pay for in-game purchases, and if
and how long players recognize in-game advertisements (ElNasr et al., 2013). In addition, for the movie and television
industry, tracing data such as at what time code recipients
switch off a movie or which personal preferences the recipient
gives in exchange for consuming media content, gives a clearer
picture of the target audience and hence the possibility to tailor
content to preferences. For the competences of creative
workers, this has far-reaching implications. The creative act,
which before was a black box, can now be judged immediately.
Social media analysis (e.g., Twitter, blogs, Facebook) gives new
evaluation possibilities for creative work. In the extreme case of
online games development, a whole industry has evolved
around how games content must be created for monetizing
games in the best way, sometimes with ethic-questionable
For creative workers, this means that creative intuition,
as the core ability of artistic intellectual creation, is
challenged by technological possibilities to generate and
interpret user data. However, this technological progress
also enhances creativity because the availability of data can
help create better future content. This indicates fuel for
conflicts between the commercial and creative activities in
creative firms.
When projecting the future, we did not expect that
data-driven design as a result of the technological process
would and will continue to unleash such an impact on
content production. Regarding the topic of the oftendiscussed clash of commercial and creative activities, the
technological dimension needs to be discussed more prominently. To judge and interpret generated data-metrics,
further technological knowledge is necessary. Hence, we
see a major technological impact on the competences of
creative workers, not only from a perspective of how to
spread content across technological platforms and use the
necessary equipment, but also how to use technologyenabled information systems such as big (use) data for


the creation and management of creative content. Possible

reasons why these blind spots occurred could be that
estimated developments build new connections. This leads
to non-anticipated effects on a more hidden level. We were
well aware that technological competences will play a larger
role in terms of new digital production technologies which
was (and still is) a big issue. But these more obvious
consequences mask the following side-effect. New technologies do not only affect the production process (content),
but also the generation of information during consumption
process (and its value for the producer). We also think that
data-driven design become relevant because of the increasing variety of platforms and content which increases the
competition among content producers. Data-driven design
is a strategic reaction to reduce uncertainty in such
competition to reduce project failures. This development
can be seen in combination with the emergences of venture
capital which is heavily invested in new business models
and technologies. Such data processing becomes a way to
judge and justify creative decisions in a more performancedriven environment and thus impacts on the creative work.
For the integration of competence development in the
scenario approach this means that technological change
needs to be considered not only from the production side but
also from the consumption side. But the consumption side
does not only mean estimating the customer needs that are
fulfilled once the product/service is sold. In addition to this,
it should be considered what implications arise when the
customer uses the sold product/service. For future scenario
constructions this needs to be carefully projected and
7. Conclusion and implications
In this study, we address the future development
perspective of individual competences as a cause of industry
change. While most foresight studies focus on technology
development and its impact on the strategic organizational
level, the individual level of workers and professionals
within the firms is often neglected. We argue from the
perspective of the multi-level theory of human capital
resources (HCR) (Ployhart and Moliterno, 2011; Nyberg
et al., 2014; Wright et al., 2001) that foremost knowledge
and competences of employees or managers are the key
resources for firms to create dynamic capabilities to adapt to
external changes (Teece, 2007). We see this as an argument
to develop a complementary perspective in foresight
literature that centers more on the individual level. We
advocate the view that foresight activities should equally
regard the triangle of future technological development,
customer needs and competences.
This research attempts to take up and connect the different
research fields foresight studies, strategic (human) resource
management and (creative) labor. Due to this combination our
approach addresses the need of firms and education providers
(universities and colleges) to think about which future
competences are required to cope with upcoming sectoral
changes. In other words, for firms, the picture of the future is
incomplete if they only adjust their foresight activities toward
technological and market developments and neglect the
interlinkages to strategic human resource development.

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scenario-based approach in the creative..., Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change (2015),


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Different theoretical implications come up because of

these connections on different levels. The HCR-theory as a
multi-level perspective helps to uncover, to a certain degree,
the high complexity of innovation as interplay among
individuals, companies, technological and social trends,
and changing sector environments. The roles at the
individual level should be regarded to a greater extent in
foresight studies because they are crucial for the strategic
future orientation at the firm level. From the human
resource management perspective, we conclude that studies
of future competences are incomplete if they do not consider
industry-specific conditions. Scenario analysis provides a
more solid basis for the contextual development of competences, not forgetting that training and education already
contain a future perspective because of the time lag between
implementing new curricula and graduation.
There also remain theoretical and practical implications
in the field of creative labor. For education providers, the
temporal elements included in the approach and their
implications offer a time advantage in terms of a planning
horizon for all actors in the field (e.g., educational institutions, companies, and policies) (Havas, 2009; Harper and
Georghiou, 2005). As some studies identify competence
gaps between competence development in education and
market demand by companies (Bauer et al., 2011; Dobrunz
et al., 2006; Haukka, 2011), the question remains whether
education providers should listen so much to the companies' demands. One must also notice that the big media
companies struggled for a long time to respond to new
market developments because the shift was already in
progress. Establishing industryuniversity-cooperation
(Bartosova, 2011) is basically reasonable but simplifies
the impact of such relationships. From this point, and on
behalf of a foresight perspective rather than a marketing
perspective, we would argue that a medium distance
between industry and educational institutions is necessary
to balance the influence of economic demand, based
on technological progress to control and creative freedom
enabled through new technologies. Competences to
explore creativity and competences to exploit innovation
could hamper each other. Creative people are creative
because they think the unusual and do not conform. They
are not necessarily motivated by market demands. Such
competences can only be developed in conditions of
multidiscipline and freedom from economic pressure. In
this way, education of creative professionals needs a
sustainable foresight and a wise touch, and it should not
only be driven by short-term market trends.
The results also offer insights for the future of work in
general. The OECD continuously highlights the need for
skilled people and their competences as a main pillar for
innovation creation, diffusion and using new knowledge and
technology (OECD, 2011). Thus, education and human
resource policies should ensure an increasing level of
knowledge and skills and meeting the supply and demand
of the workforce (OECD, 2012). In an interconnected world
where technological innovation spills over quickly, there
seems to be crucial competences of a general nature
(e.g., entrepreneurial thinking, network management, strategic thinking, proactive thinking, open mindedness) that
are applicable to fast-changing sectors in general (Wymbs,

2012). Education policies should also address such changes

in an appropriate way. For companies in various fields, this
means new challenges in terms of how to handle their
professionals with these competences (see the HR future
studies of PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2009a). People with
competences and skills for fast-changing environments
require different working structures and arrangements for
which those companies must be prepared (Pongratz and
Vo, 2003; O'Mahony and Bechky, 2006). Companies should
not underestimate the challenge of how to attract this breed
of professionals and how to satisfy them.
This study has to be seen in relation to its limitations. Our
reflection shows that even well-executed foresight approaches based on multi-source data can overlook developments. Although we tried to use a more objective scenario
approach, we have to rely on expert interpretation that
occurs when using qualitative data (limited generalization,
interpretation during coding). One methodological limitation is the subjective deduction from the business environment to the need for competences. Here future research
could investigate types or approaches to structure theses
linkages. Further limitations are the overlapping of different
competences in literature and the various meanings of
similar terms, as well as the fact that the creative industries
are heterogeneous sub-markets.

This article is based on findings generated within the project
MediaEXIST, financed by the German Ministry of Economy and
Technology and co-financed by the European Social Fund. Parts
of this article were written during a research stay financed by
the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). This article
benefited from the valuable comments and suggestions made
by Charles Davis (Ryerson University) and Katharina Hlzle
(University of Potsdam). We also would like to thank the
anonymous reviewers and the journal editor who improve this
article with constructive feedback and help.
Appendix A. Coding grid

Table 6
Search grid.
Code categories


Future perspectives of creative


Key challenges for the industries

Adaptability to change
Future products and services
Interdisciplinary fundamentals
Technical know-how
Trends in technology development
Role of radical and incremental
Future employment relationship
Generalist vs. specialist
Interface competence
Development of soft skills
Attitudes and motivations of creative
User behavior

Technology and innovation

Future job requirements

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Martin Kamprath is a researcher of business management at the University of
Potsdam and was fellowship holder for a research stay at Ryerson University,
Toronto. During his practical career he worked as a project manager in a media
spin-off of the University of Film & Television Babelsberg (HFF). Here he
developed transmedia concepts to communicate scientic knowledge on
climate change. Before, he worked in strategic marketing and in business
development departments of leading media and entertainment companies.
Martin's research elds include mapping and designing of business models,
socio-technological aspects of value evaluation and creation and interdisciplinary work. He worked in various research projects in Life-Sciences, IT and
Creative Industries.
Dana Mietzner is a Professor for Innovation Management and Regional
Management at the University of Applied Sciences Wildau. She has managed
various research projects in Life Sciences, IT and Creative Industries. Dana
nished her studies in business administration and gained professional
experience in her position as a project manager and business developer in a
marketing company. After that, she worked as a senior researcher and project
manager at the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of
Potsdam in Germany for seven years. Her research interests are in technology
and innovation management, strategic foresight with a special focus on
scenario building and planning.

Please cite this article as: Kamprath, M., Mietzner, D., The impact of sectoral changes on individual competences: A reective
scenario-based approach in the creative..., Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change (2015),