Percy Emmett Puts Zim Creatives Through Their Paces

March 15, 2016

Renowned creative industry advisor, Percy Emmett, recently conducted the Nesta Creative Enterprise ‘Train the Trainer’ Workshop for the first time in Southern Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe. Fifteen carefully selected Zimbabwean creative practitioners participated in the four-day training on how to turn creative ideas into profitable income.

NESTA, a UK-based innovation charity that brings individuals and organisations’ ideas to life, in partnership with the British Council, HIVOS Southern Africa and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Zimbabwe, provided funding and technical support for the training.

The full potential of Zimbabwe’s creative sector remains largely untapped due to several factors, but most importantly because the importance of the sector to the national economy is largely underrated. The creative industry in Zimbabwe, as in many parts of Africa, is regarded as a sleeping giant. Despite a deep pool of talent, it lacks the infrastructure and capacity to commercialise. 

Against this background, the aim of the workshop was to share the training methodology behind the globally successful Creative Enterprise Toolkit with Zimbabwean creative trainers. The Toolkit is a set of creative and practical tools which teach enterprise skills to individuals who are in the initial stages of setting up a creative business. It was developed for, and features case studies from, creative business focussed on areas such as fashion, design, filmmaking and music.  By attending the workshop, participants gained a better understanding of how to help new creative entrepreneurs set up their new businesses.

To date, the NESTA Creative Enterprise Toolkit has been introduced around the world to early stage creative entrepreneurs in countries such as Brazil, Nigeria, Russia and Turkey, amongst others. 

Emmett, who is also an Honorary Enterprise Fellow at the Coventry University School of Art & Design, took participants through a range of practical exercises and techniques that can be used to share knowledge and aid understanding when training creative professionals.

Emmett describes his training method as Socratic because it poses the trainees questions instead of giving them answers. The idea is to model an inquiring, probing mind by continually boring into the subject with questions.

He challenged the creative practitioners throughout the training, making them carefully think through how to make the Toolkit relevant for Zimbabwe’s creative industries.

Participants had to dig deep into themselves to find the answers, with Emmett acting as the equivalent of the inner critical voice that the mind acquires when it develops critical thinking abilities.The long-term benefits of the training include new networks that participants will form, access to teaching materials, and increased project management skills.

In this video, Emmett explains to participants the importance of having a holistic thought process behind their businesses.