InnovationManchester

Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category

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!

The course is being run by The White Room, in partnership with Manchester City Council, MMU, and Cornerhouse, and applications close next Sunday, 21st February.

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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?

Take a look at this video care of Ideas Project

“I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface yet of understanding how to leverage the power of these social dynamics, but I think a key to unlocking the potential is going to be through developing better tools to visualize our human capital, which would be a combination of our strengths, our skills, and our social connections.”

What are the eight things that you need to know about collaboration?

Well Dale Arseneault believes that these are the important ones

1. Collaboration is over used and mis-used and is becoming a buzzword for business people and technologists alike

2. Collaboration isn’t the same as cooperation or coordination – each have different processes, practices and depth of engagement

3. Collaboration is a human process – throwing technology at people won’t magically/automatically create collaboration

4. Meaningful, productive collaboration won’t happen without mutuality of desired outcomes, shared values of transparency and information sharing, compassion, compromise

5. Collaboration implies that “the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few or the needs of the one” and sometimes people aren’t really interested in living by that principle

6. Collaboration isn’t always the best process

7. Collaboration is not equal to Web 2.0

8. Collaboration can be a source of real value in the face of complex environments and situations where no single person has the right answer

Havard Business school and Insead and Brigham Young University have just completed a six-year study of more than 3,000 executives and 500 innovative entrepreneurs and have identified five skills that drive innovation.

The five skills that are seen as separating the blue-sky innovators from the rest associating, questioning, observing, experimenting and discovering.

1.Associating: The ability to connect seemingly unrelated questions, problems or ideas from different fields.

2.Questioning: Innovators constantly ask questions that challenge the common wisdom. They ask “why?”, “why not?” and “what if?”

3.Observing: Discovery-driven executives scrutinize common phenomena, particularly the behavior of potential customers.

4,Experimenting: Innovative entrepreneurs actively try out new ideas by creating prototypes and launching pilots.

5.Networking: innovators go out of their way to meet people with different ideas and perspectives.

What do you think?

In an interview with America’s CNN,one of the researchers,Hal Gregersen said

“The way they act is to observe actively, like an anthropologist, and they talk to incredibly diverse people with different world views, who can challenge their assumptions, adding

“For them, everything is to be experimented upon — for example, if they walk into a bookstore and they’re used to reading history they might try psychology. All these behaviors are powerfully enhanced by a capacity to ask provocative, challenging questions of the world around them.”

 

The full study can be seen in December’s Harvard Business Review

I have just come across this cartoon thanks to Stefan Lindegaard’s Continous Innovation Group.

As he says,”Internal forces are often the worst enemies of innovation.”

Innovation Cartoon

Innovation Cartoon

The UK’s economic success will depend upon its ability to commercialise and profit from research and ideas and to innovate in the service sector and creative.

Innovation was responsible for nearly 2/3 of private sector productivity growth in the UK between 2000-2007

That’s the conclusion of NESTA who earlier today launched its innovation index.

According to the research,UK businesses invested £133bn in innovation in 2007,representing 14 per cent  of private sector output. More than three-quarters of this came from “hidden innovation”, in areas other than research and development.

The index showed that a significant part of  innovative performance came not from the tradition area of R&D but areas such as design,organisational innovation and the development of innovative skills.

There was also a firm link between innovation and growth.

The study surveyed 1500 firms in the UK across nine sectors.

You can download a PDF of the full survey HERE


Innovation Manchester

Innovation Manchester is a dynamic and diverse network of innovators and entrepreneurs, working together to make Manchester a better place to do business. We’re making Manchester a global innovation leader by creating: - new connections - new business opportunities - radical city-wide solutions Be part of the innovation conversation - all you need is enthusiasm and original thinking.

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