Creative Economies

Summary (in English)

Lake Constance Region’s Creative Economy – Value Creation between Culture, Economy and Technology


What does a transnational view of the creative industries in Lake Constance Region show? How is this economic sector organised in rural areas? What are its largest submarkets? How many people are employed in the creative industries, how many in the creative professions? These questions guided this creative economy report on Lake Constance Region. Considering the region as a whole, the report attempts to empirically capture the phenomenon of the creative industries outside the large centres and to identify sustainable business models, initiatives and ideas. We address this complex situation through a research approach informed by four different perspectives.


First, the report analyses the region’s culture by examining its cultural and economic history and its important educational institutions in order to demonstrate the specifics and the emergence of the regional creative economy.

Second, and central to the report, statistical data on the creative economy of a border region comprising four countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein) is presented. This statistical view is threefold. First, a “classical” approach, based on sectoral logic, is taken to the creative industries and its submarkets. Second, the sectoral and occupational statistics of Lake Constance Region are crossed for the first time, which enables covering the so-called creative economy. Finally, in addition to official statistical data, Open Data and Web Data are used to map the region using OpenStreetMap.

Third, to include the actor perspective, creative professionals provide insight into their entrepreneurial strategies, practices and motivations.

Fourth, the potentials and synergies of the creative industries for and with tourism and cultural tourism are discussed — based on a mixed-method approach (data survey and media analysis).


Nearly half a million people are employed in Lake Constance Region’s creative economy. Our statistical approach provides, for the first time, important comparative figures and reveals the contours of the creative industries and their regional significance. Not quite unexpectedly, Zurich is proportionately larger than the other parts of the region. The software industry (41 %) and the advertising market (23 %) have the largest number of creative economy professionals. In Lake Constance Region, these two submarkets account for around two thirds of all creative economy employees and companies. According to the latest available data (2015), 270,000 people — the equivalent of 4.6 percent of the overall economy — worked in creative occupations. The results also indicate that every third employee of the creative economy is located outside the defined submarkets.

The individual cases portrayed reflect both the region’s and the sector’s heterogeneity. They enable specific “deep probes” and provide insight into the the sector’s self-image and that of its workers. A look at the relationship between tourism and the creative economy reveals that while these sectors are closely linked, their potential for cooperation is not exhausted.


Based on its fourfold approach, this report draws a portrait of the creative economy in Lake Constance Region that on the one hand works out representative patterns and characteristics, and on the other indicates gaps where in-depth discussion would need to begin. Beyond the snapshot of the “as-is” state, which has been established for the first time, continuous observation and further exploration are needed to monitor developments in the field. In terms of methodology, this report lays a foundation that could be updated on a regular basis.

This research was made possible by the International University of the Lake Constance (IBH), which funded the project over a period of around one and a half years. This report has been prepared in close cooperation with the participating universities, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), the CreativeEconomies research venture as well as HTWG Konstanz — University of Applied Sciences. The Statistical Office Canton of Zurich contributed to the project as a field partner.

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