The UK is at an important inflection point in its ambition to create world-class hubs of innovation – places fuelled by the technologies, the trust and the teamwork to become genuine destinations of discovery and drivers of new skills, good jobs and broad-based opportunity.
Covid-19, Brexit, Net Zero and Levelling Up provide a compelling set of reasons to focus harder than ever on what it takes to really marry innovation with a mission for a place.
As those of us already working in one of these locations can testify, it is an art more than a science to continually bring forward the right pro-innovation physical spaces with the networks, tailored support, services and amenities to match. At the same time the task is to inspire the institutional buy-in and the confidence and involvement of communities. It takes time, patience, and dedication. Yet the rewards are tangible – more capable clusters of mixed companies, a hot bed for start-ups and more diversified investment, greater appeal as well as opportunities to ‘grow-your-own’ talent, and more of a lasting sense of local pride and belonging to a place.
As our recently published Hubs of Innovation Playbook shows, up until now there have been many more attempts to build and foster hubs of innovation in the UK than there have been successes. Perhaps only a handful of locations have achieved the kind of scale, sustainability and enduring impact that they have the potential to. Yet we now see many highly promising innovation-driven places where partnerships are starting to tackle big challenges facing their city, region and the wider world. The UK’s domestic and global aspirations need more of them to make the journey to full scale and whole place success.
There are four main lessons in the handbook that are worth drawing attention to in particular… Read more