Creative Step Programme

The Creative Step, a practical programme designed to help shape your business for the future.

We want to make the county’s creative sector the fastest growing in the country by supporting the next generation of creative businesses and retaining local talent.

The Creative Step

At this time more than ever Creative Lancashire want to provide you with advice and practical support to navigate the current crisis.  

These times are challenging but we are working with the Creative Step programme leaders, partners and organisations across the county and beyond to share and develop resources that can translate into effective help. Even small changes can result in major impact. We will keep you updated via this page and our newsletter.

Creative Lancashire is on a mission!

We want to make the county’s creative sector the fastest growing in the country by giving the next generation of creative businesses the tools to thrive in the future. Our aim is to build an internationally renowned creative community that is built on local talent.

So, we have launched The Creative Step, a development programme dedicated to the specific needs of the sector and founded on the understanding that the unique qualities and requirements of creative enterprises are not currently met by mainstream business initiatives.

Having proven the programme offline prior to the pandemic, we’re now fully functioning remotely having used our own tools and techniques to create an equally compelling online experience.

The programme runs for three weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 12.30pm. NB: It is essential that participants can attend all six sessions.

Programme overview:

The Creative Step experience is hands-on, practical, and interactive; you work directly on aspects of your own business while collaborating with others throughout the programme. Through a deep understanding of the needs of creative entrepreneurs, the programme has been carefully structured to support you and your business, whether you are starting out, are planning for your next stage of development or responding to changing market forces. It builds on leading tools and techniques that support creative businesses globally, including aspects of the Creative Enterprise Programme run by Nesta and the British Council.

The pilot programmes were researched, developed and delivered in 2019. Participants on the pilots, diverse groups ranging from start-ups to established agencies, artists to photographers and brand specialists found that the programme helped them focus on the future, clarifying the purpose and activities of their creative enterprise, putting them in control and giving them confidence on what actions are needed to support and develop their business. The collaborative nature of the workshops encourages the sharing of peer-to-peer practice over and above the world-class programme content.

Over the six sessions of the programme, creative enterprise owners get an opportunity to step back from their day-to-day activities in a safe and supportive space to reflect, review and refresh their business. 

It really helped me understand and prioritise what needs to be done in my business. The workshop held up a mirror to my business and I enjoyed the opinions from all the other participants.”

“For anyone feeling like themselves or their business needs more direction, confidence, a stronger story, or even a new and diverse network of business contacts – this is the programme. It makes you think about the important steps your business requires and gives you the time and space to consider and act.

Hannah live scribing - The Creative Step 1 @ Society 1

The programme is co-developed and delivered by Catherine Docherty (Journey Associates), who works with Nesta and British Council to deliver creative business support globally, and Jonathan Ball (Designmine) a design associate for both Design Council and a lead instructor for LUMA Institute, Pittsburgh. Both programme leaders are design associates for the V&A Dundee.

The programme is open for applications now!

The Programme in detail:

The programme is delivered over three weeks with two sessions a week (Tuesdays and Fridays). As a participant on The Creative Step, you will work alongside a select group of peers, having the opportunity to share and learn from others:

  • Week 1: Your Aspirations: this day explores what drives you personally, your business values and connects these to your business purpose and future aspirations. This provides a solid foundation for guiding your business and communicating confidently.
  • Week 2: Your Customers: here you explore stakeholders who can affect the success of your business with a particular focus on customers. You will also be introduced to practical approaches to customer research and create a plan to gather meaningful data to strengthen your business offer.
  • Week 3: Your Future: on the final week you have the opportunity to share the learning from the research and delve into the core components of your business. You will then identify actions to take forward, prioritise these and create a high-level action plan to help you make the necessary changes to support your business.

There is light ‘homework’ between each of the sessions to ensure that you get the most out of the programme and that the group can move at a pace allowing for experimentation and feedback on the use of the tools and techniques.

On completion of The Creative Step, you will receive materials used in the workshops to allow you to use them in the future and to share them with your team. 


If you would like to be considered for the next programme cohort or would like further information please contact:  

Jonathan at Designmine:, or Catherine at Journey Associates:

For an informal conversation or more information about Creative Lancashire and other sector specific programme contact: Ed:

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