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We’re delighted that the Innovation Manchester blog has moved to a new home at the new Manchester: Knowledge Capital website. We’ll continue to blog about innovation and interesting stories from Manchester so come and join us at www.manchesterknowledge.com/our-blog
The epic journey that an entire city can go through is phenomenal. And the great thing is, we don’t just get to observe it – we can all be part of it, and help to lead it too.
It was in 2005 that Manchester: Knowledge Capital first published its vision for an “Innovation Ecosystem” approach to developing a truly innovative city region. The point of this approach was to encompass the complexity of real life. National innovation policy was trailing behind what many innovative organisations already knew: that innovation does not just happen in a laboratory, that innovators and entrepreneurs do not act in isolation, and their work is the product of social, economic, and cultural forces.
A thorough, ‘total environment’ approach to nurturing innovation means that a whole smorgasbord of inter-dependent factors has to be considered, including talented people, skills, risk finance, physical infrastructure, business support services, networks and partnerships to build up relational capital and strategic connectivity, and the intangible cultural “buzz” of the city.
In the past 5 years Manchester has moved forward in leaps, bounds, and the odd stumble. And most importantly, this is not a story of any one organisation – it never could be. It’s a story about the talent and the spirit of partnership in our great city.
We have far greater choice for business incubation, with the Core Technology Facility, Innospace, Salford Innovation Forum, and ever-developing work of Manchester Science Park; and the city has won national strategic bids such as the Biomedical Research Facility. Major city developments including the Corridor and MediaCityUK are escalating our position in the UK and internationally. There have been countless successes on the part of innovative businesses and world-leading researchers.
We’ve had a UK first in the form of the Manchester Innovation Investment Fund, supporting pilots and experiments to boost the city region’s capacity for innovation. The Innovation Manchester network and the Innovation Boardroom are steadily transforming the landscape in which our business and civic leaders can collaborate, generate great ideas for mutual benefit, and turn them into action. And in 2009 Manchester won a global award for Most Admired Knowledge City Region, recognising its outstanding journey so far.
It’s also cheering to hear people like Will Hutton, of The Work Foundation and journalism fame, extol the virtues of the Innovation Ecosystem approach and the importance of developing a knowledge-based economy. Will visited Manchester earlier this week, and is working on a report on the future of British cities for the Core Cities Group.
Despite the obvious progress, we all know that we’ve got a long way to go before we can call ourselves a truly innovative place. Anyone who’s visited one the handful of places in the world that really get it right, knows that Manchester needs at least another 10 years, focused effort, and a big dollop of serendipity before we can really say we’ve arrived.
And I think the fuel for that journey will be the loyalty that Manchester generates – it’s a great city and I know a lot of people reading this will continue to play their part in making it better and better.
Today the Soccerex European Forum opened in Manchester, and the first session was Sport: A Total Entertainment Industry.
John Skipper, Executive Vice President, ESPN is in confident mood arguing that the secret of sport is it’s unknown quantity- it’s the ultimate reality series on TV.
Brian Barwick, however warns that sport shouldn’t be complacent, as live celebrity shows like Dancing on Ice, are broadcast live and provide similar interest at less cost.
All agree that the future of sport is reliant on live attendance, but Philip Beard, of AEG Europe suggests that sports marketeers need to find innovative ways to get new audiences into the stadium eg: ground sharing, half time penalty shoot outs from schools or showcasing different different sports.
Which sports clubs do you think give you the best live experience? Do you get involved at the match? Online? or in front of the TV?
Let us have your views on the future of sports entertainment!
The Panel for this event comprised:
• Casey Wasserman, Chairman & CEO, Wasserman Media Group
• John Skipper, Executive Vice President, ESPN
• Brian Barwick, Barwick Media & Sport
• Philip Beard, Non-Executive Director, AEG Europe
• Jeff Mallett, Principal Owner of San Francisco Giants & Former President of Yahoo
• Kevin Roberts, Editorial Director, Soccerex Business (moderator)
For more information visit www.soccerex.com
Sent from my iPhone
There is some serious talent on the streets and in the bedrooms of Manchester. Young people with the kind of creativity we would give our right arm for, Manchester’s future is in their hands.
A teacher I met at the BBC 21st Century Classroom in Salford, told me about his 15 year old student (let’s call him John) who made £5 here, £10 there, by designing My Space pages for his friends. The teacher was frustrated at not having the ability to help John take his digital talent to the next level, nor access to appropriate business start up advice for this teen entrepreneur. When asked what he would do after his GCSE’s, John told the teacher that he’d follow into his father’s shopfitting business, he didn’t consider college, work in the creative sector, or starting his own business as possible options.
To be clear, I am in no way critical of John’s choice. Good design is needed in the physical world as well as the digital (if not more so!). However, I do think the story raises the question of how we best nurture young talent, both in and outside schools.
I like the idea of business advisors having surgeries in schools and youth clubs, helping young people to think about markets for their ideas, before they get squelched by the ‘real world’. I’d love to hear of any case studies where this works (or doesn’t).
We’re lucky to live in a city like Manchester, where projects and partners are aiming to resolve some of these issues. Robots have been built at the MADLAB, and last year Innovation Manchester and the Manchester Innovation Investment Fund supported Creative Open Access – growing the inner geek in some of Manchester’s brightest young people.
Now a new course, also to be held at Cornerhouse, will not only nurture creativity in 18-24 year olds, but also introduce the skills to progress a career in the creative industries
At the core of the scheme, the kids at the App School will develop their ideas for an iPhone ‘app’, and they’ll work on those ideas throughout the programme. In addition, they’ll get training on things such as project management, team-working, presenting their work, and business & financial management. At the very end of the scheme, they’ll be pitching their ideas through to a panel of some of the city’s best creative companies – who, if they like what they see, will be able to offer them internships. If the ideas are good, the companies will actually create the ‘app’ as a joint venture.
If you know of any young people in Manchester, please help spread the word!
Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining personal wealth without personal responsibility. (Ambrose Bierce)
It was in the early 1900s that journalist Ambrose Bierce came up with this definition, as part of his charmingly cynical ‘Devil’s Dictionary’. At the time, society was emerging from a century of staggering changes in technological progress, economic growth and social turmoil.
Mr Bierce didn’t include a definition for a co-operative business model in his dictionary, although the Rochdale Pioneers had defined and implemented this fabulous concept in 1844. They made an imaginative quantum leap: they dreamed up a business that was run by and owned by its customers and employees, so that they had a true stake in the business.
Once again we are living in times when there is great public cynicism with big business and the banking sector in particular, and we’re heading for a period of major economic and social upheaval as unprecedented planetary changes have their effect on populations across the world.
We need some radical new ways of working and living, like the Rochdale Pioneers created – whether that is in delivering public services, or in developing businesses. Has Manchester got the talent and the chutzpah to get ahead of the curve, and become a leading centre for developing and testing bold and imaginative ways of going about our daily lives?
After a slow and snowbound start, 2010 really got going last week with the highlight of the Northwest Business calendar.
Leading Manc entrepreneurs, Mike Perls, Imran Hakim & Scott Fletcher promised us that RAW2010 would ‘change everything’ – they didn’t let us down! Run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, the calibre of the event and audience were outstanding – Manchester: Knowledge Capital was pleased to be involved.
The Lowry Centre was awash with talent and cash (according to hilarious scouse compére John Bishop) – but most importantly people met, networked, did deals and learnt. Yes they really did learn new things! Already, the President of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has been drawing me bell curves from the Ian Gotts session. Now I know about the IMPACT theory of ‘Killer Products‘ I can and will pass it on, and that viral spreading of knowledge is a real sign of success. You can get a copy of Ian’s book here and many other good bookshops, of course!
By the way, I missed Ian Gotts talk because I happily found myself in the ‘future of digital‘ session run by Magnetic North‘s Lou & Braden. Magnetic North are supplementing their digital marketing work with the *actual production of physical product* – including these cool mix-tapes. The Mixa tapes tap into nostalgia for teenage years when you would compile an analogue playlist for your latest crush. More importantly they signal a growing trend to link media and product design, and a desire for tangible things to touch and feel.
I met some great people in the cafe and Professor Lynn Martin (Director of Centre for Enterprise at MMU) found me using the spotme devices that we all had.
Yes, there’s LOTS to follow up on from that event, and lots of new people to work with in spreading the Innovation Gospel.
Who’s got time for innovation? How many of us deliberately take the time to sit back, look at what we’re doing, and think about ways to do it better or do something else?
The classic problem with many organisations is that everyone is working so hard on today’s crisis or this month’s targets that they never feel that they can take the time to think about anything else. The end result is that we end up doing ‘more of the same’ each and every day – instead of trying anything new. And that’s a not going to support our competitive edge in the long run.
Famously, companies like 3M and Google are very open about this. When you work for Google your employment contract allows you to spend one day a week on any idea you like. It’s a wide open space – a space for experimenting, exploring and developing breakthrough ideas like Google Earth and Gmail that have helped to keep that company at the top of its game.
Many organisations can’t afford to give employees that much exploration time – but the general principle is of fundamental importance to all of us.
We need to set aside time to come up with ideas and explore them, and leaders need to make sure that employees feel empowered to do this. Staring into space for half an hour can sometimes be far more productive than ‘proper work’.