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Connected Innovators Guidelines

The Connected Innovator application form will require you to explain how you plan to develop your idea, outlining your project timeline and a realistic budget for your project.

Connected Innovators can be one person or a partnership (of up to two people), including limited liability partnerships and registered companies limited by guarantee. However, you do not have to be registered as a sole trader, company, or limited liability partnership to apply.

Eligibility Criteria – As a Connected Innovator you must:

  • Have a genuine, positive impact on your community, sector, or industry by supporting others, working well in collaboration, exposing people to new ideas, and/or having a social impact beyond your practice that benefits your community, society, and wider planet.
  • Be an established member (participant or consider yourself part) of the creative industries and demonstrate how you show leadership within your discipline, sector, and/or practice. (Creative Informatics follows the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media, & Sport’s definition of creative industries, which includes advertising, architecture, art, crafts, design, fashion, film, music, performing arts, publishing, software, TV and radio, and video games industries).
  • Propose an R&D project that will enable you to experiment and explore an idea that could have genuine impact on your creative business or creative practice (that is a tangible impact that will further develop your practice, your business, or yourself professionally). This could be an opportunity for you to develop a new information-driven product or service, bring an information driven idea or practice into a creative or cultural organisation/company you already work for, shift your business/practice or business model/way you work based on information or information driven innovation.
  • You must be prepared to talk about and share your Connected Innovator project experience with the wider creative community (which we will help you with) and through other Creative Informatics events or workshops, in and around Edinburgh. We will also help you share your story and your work through digital means such as social media channels, live events on social, newsletters, websites, and through email mail outs.
  • Be based in and/or be undertaking work that has impact for the creative industries/creative community within Edinburgh and/or the Edinburgh and South East Scotland Region.
  • Your proposal needs to meet the selection criteria (outlined below) to be considered.
  • You must commit to providing accurate information about your income, how much you plan to spend on your Connected Innovators project (as per the requirements of the application form). This includes providing us with accurate information regarding any public aid or funding you are receiving (this does not include Universal Credit or any benefits of this nature) to ensure Creative Informatics can meet its due diligence by providing this information to our funder who requires it.

Selection Criteria – Connected Innovators

Connected Innovators are asked to submit a proposal which must:

  1. Explain the idea you will be exploring or the professional development you would like to undertake through your Connected Innovators project.
  2. Align with one (or more) of the Creative Informatics Cluster core challenges:
  • How can Data Driven Innovation support access and engagement to new audiences and markets? (Engagement can mean putting on work for them, working with audiences, community-led practice, collaborating with the public, and exploring new customers).
  • How can Data Driven Innovation support the development of new modalities of experience? (Definition: a modality is a particular way of doing or experiencing something).
  • How can Data Driven Innovation unlock hidden value in archives and data sets? (I.e. discovering hidden information that informs your practice, compiling information that you are already working with to make something new – not sure? We will help you identify these data sets).
  • How can Data Driven Innovation reveal new business models for the creative industries? (I.e. what it says on the tin)
  1. Be engaging in genuine Research and Development around data and/or data driven technologies in the creative industries, or developing skills that will enable future adoption of new R&D around data and data-driven innovation. This can include innovative applications of more established tools, techniques, approaches or business models in new contexts (or to different sectors), new types of offerings or business models, or new skills and business model development which enable an established creative business to pivot their practice.

Note: You must be doing actual research and development on information (data) or information-driven (data-driven) technologies (this could be digital or this could be analog), in the creative industries. Or you must be developing genuine skills that will enable you to share your work and ideas with the wider creative community/industries, or that could be adopted by other people/organisations in the creative industries in the future.

  1. Have the potential to be developed into a commercial or income generating product or have an economic impact on you, your work, your practice, and your future (or your business in the future). This could be through developing a new business model, new skills, or creating a new role within your business or practice that enables you to work with other people.
  2. Be completed in 1-6 months, lasting no longer than 12 months.
  3. Be supported by a commitment to engage with the Creative Informatics team on monitoring, reporting, research and evaluation work around the project. Reporting and payments schedules will be mutually agreed at the outset of successful projects.
  4. Comply with ethical and legally compliant data practices.
  5. Include a realistic budget outlining how any funding will be used during your project. (This is something the Creative Edinburgh team can also support you with).

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Q1) What happens if I become a Connected Innovator and develop the idea in my proposal but this idea fails, someone else launches before me, or I’m not able to take this forward as a business?

A1) That’s OK. We will be keeping in touch with you and you should alert us to any issues or difficulties as early as possible so that we can provide support and understand how your project is progressing. Through your engagement with your mentor and/or the programme team we may also notice that a project isn’t working and provide advice, if needed, on potential tactics to address these difficulties.

Funding for Connected Innovators is aimed at those with a great chance to take forward their data-driven creative idea, but we also know that not all of these ideas can or will be successful. The funding is awarded without the need for repayment, we just ask that you keep us informed throughout the project – so, for instance, if you find out early on that the project won’t work, we ask that you let us know as soon as possible (this also allows us to redeploy any unspent funding to other projects if appropriate).

We may, on rare occasions, opt to discontinue funding work if it is not progressing adequately and/or is not engaging with the team, mentors and reporting requirements. Further details of these requirements will be included in the contract between you and Creative Informatics.

Q2) What if my idea or product changes during the project?

A2) We expect ideas to develop and change, particularly as you will be exploring innovative new ideas. If any major change occurs, then we do ask (and this will be noted in contracts) that you provide a formal written notification or “statement of declaration of adjustment”. This notification enables us to review what you are doing and whether the change affects alignment with our selection criteria. If the project remains well aligned, funding should be unaffected. We do reserve the right not to continue funding a project if it no longer falls within our funding scope but, under those circumstances, we do aim to provide signposting to other suitable funding sources where we can.

Q3) As a Connected Innovator do I retain my IP (Intellectual Property) rights?

A3) Yes. As a Connected Innovator you retain all IP to your ideas and products/services under development.

Q4) What type of support will I receive as part of the Connected Innovators Programme?

A4) Each Connected Innovator will be placed in a group of peers that will support them throughout the programme. We work with a diverse and experienced group of creative industry professionals who can share experience and guidance over the course of the placement.

Connected Innovators will also receive a complimentary Creative Edinburgh membership, which enables Connected Innovators to also apply for an individual mentor from the Creative Edinburgh network over the course of the year. They will also receive additional Creative Edinburgh membership benefits including access to our member’s only newsletter, discounted tickets to events and the opportunity for promotion of the work across Creative Edinburgh’s digital network.

If a Connected Innovator is already a Creative Edinburgh member before they apply, they will receive a year’s additional complimentary Creative Edinburgh membership. If a Connected Innovator has the need for specialist mentoring, e.g. on an area of cutting-edge technical development, then they may also be offered an additional mentor from the Creative Informatics academic team.

Q5) Will there be the same promotional opportunities for those who have engaged more with professional development than product development?

A5) There will be an equal number of promotional and sharing opportunities for Connected Innovators that embark on product/service development and professional development. We will work with each Connected Innovator to find the appropriate sharing opportunities for them.


If you require any further information on the selection process for Connected Innovators, or have any questions about your application, please contact the Creative Informatics team.

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