It is useful to model elements of creative industries as being positioned along a highly simplified spectrum, between ideas that are copied randomly among people as fashions, and ideas that are selected for inherent qualities. Characterizing innovation along this fashion-selection spectrum gives crucial insight to the dynamics of how certain behaviours increase or decline. As the spectrum becomes broadly defined, the approach can be made incrementally more complex through incorporating additional model parameters tested against industry-supplied empirical data.
Conceptualised this way, the study of creative industries can take advantage of sophisticated tools from epidemiology, population genetics and other culture evolution models in all their variety. For the ‘selection’ end of the spectrum, we have a wealth of models of independent decision-makers who weigh the costs and benefits of their options, while subject to various biases of influence. This applies well to behaviours that serve some adaptive purpose, i.e., that matter to human values, or the spread of a useful idea. Even a display of fashion, if it carries some meaningful signal (e.g. mating potential), can be seen as subject to cost/benefit decisions.