Marc Lis is not only working towards building the new cluster but plans to raise the visibility and reputation of the sector.
Photo: Maison Moderne archives
Yes to creativity: but at what cost?
Professionals who are creative for a living deserve the same respect as in any other industry, argues Marc Lis, creative industries cluster manager at Luxinnovation.
The other week I walked into a restaurant in Esch-Belval and before being seated I asked to speak with the chef. With a worried look on his face the waiter obliged.
Minutes later the chef came to my table wondering why I wanted to see him. I tasked him to concoct something special, savoury and tailor-made as I was in the mood for a unique creation. Filled with a sense of duty he accepted the challenge and walked back into his kitchen, no doubt sleeves rolled up, to fix a blend with one thing in mind: to impress his customer.
His masterpiece was delivered by none other than himself with a timely speech about the ingredients and spices used. I tucked my napkin into my shirt and tasted a mouthful.
Quivering with anticipation, he was eager to hear my verdict. I looked up and unequivocally told him he did a great job, but that I’d now leave and would repeat the same procedure at two neighbouring restaurants. After all, I am well within my rights to challenge his competitors in order to make up my mind and decide who should ultimately get paid.
The aforementioned story obviously never happened. Why? Because nobody in their right mind would try to pull such a stunt in a restaurant. It defeats any logic and sense of ethics we carry within ourselves.
Yet creative professionals face such an unthinkable situation on a regular basis. They find themselves over a barrel because the client expects them to dazzle them with their creativity (free of charge) in order to tickle their taste buds before they even entertain the thought of paying for their service.
Don’t get me wrong: I am all for competitiveness, because creative people in particular thrive in such an environment and rise to the challenge. But would you realistically contact three accountants, assign them with your tax return calculation, ask to get a ballpark figure of what to expect, and then pull the plug on two of them?
Why? Because you wouldn’t dabble with a service you know you’d have to pay for. And here’s the key issue: creative professionals are passionate and idealistic about the work they do, which differentiates them from a lot of other professionals.
By no stretch of the imagination is the customer the sole culprit, as creatives need to show a united front and communicate that they provide an expert service (or product design) and deserve to get paid for it all the same. There is no such thing as free advice!
Marc Lis is the cluster manager of the new creative industries cluster at Luxinnovation, green-lit by the secretary of state for the economy, Francine Closener. While fostering collaborations and promoting the cluster members and their activities, Lis aims to develop and strengthen this Luxembourgish economic arm further. He is not only working towards building the cluster but plans to raise the visibility and reputation of the sector.