InnovationManchester

Posts Tagged ‘Knowledge

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.

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We are!

Today, in Schenzen China, Manchester has officially been declared the Most Admired Knowledge City-Region in the World!

An international panel of experts have today named Manchester ‘The Most Admired Knowledge City Region’ at the MAKCi global awards ceremony in Schenzen, China, topping other city regions such as Bangalore and Valencia.

The judges commended Manchester’s connectivity, culture, civic identity and overall quality of life. Manchester also scored highly for the way in which it has built on its heritage and its radical, ethical and sustainable core values. Whilst remaining true to these values, as a city we have continued along a trajectory of renewal and transformation, into the highly creative and innovative city we are today, leading the way in the 21st Century.

Dr Cathy Garner, CEO of Manchester: Knowledge Capital, said:
“This award is fantastic recognition of  Manchester: Knowledge Capital’s achievements over the past five years. The Manchester: Knowledge Capital partnership enables the city region to capitalise on its outstanding universities, the creativity of its people and its capacity for world-changing innovation. Through Innovation Manchester, we are continuing to build an even stronger future for the Manchester City Region.”

An exciting and varied debate about the future, at the Manchester CoMixed discussion.

A series of provocations on the scientific challenges of our time including Climate Change, Digital Economy, Ageing, Food Security and Nanotechnology. Thoughts are remixed into a cooperative production by the Manchester Beacon’s network of people, places and knowledge.

Panellists include:

  • Warren Bramley (Creative Director at Four23)
  • Dr. Martyn Amos (Principle Investigator on Nano-Info-Bio, Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Professor Remco Polman (Director of Centre for Applied Sport and Exercise Sciences, Principal Investigator Medical Research Council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Grant)
  • Professor Callum Thomas (Professor of Sustainable Aviation, Centre for Air Transport and the Environment, OMEGA, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Professor John Whittle (Professor of Software Engineering, Lancaster Business School)
  • Kate Bailey (Senior Research Associate, Cardiff Business School)

John Whittle is currently talking about a vision of the future where we can see into peoples minds, and understand what makes them tick. A previous ‘twitter sceptic’, John now sees twitter as an early indicator of future technology that will increase mutual understanding and relationships in society.

My favourite quote so far is from Martin Amos, and his assertion that “Bio-Hacking already happens in people’s kitchens”.

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Apollo 11

Apollo 11

It is 40 years since Neil Armstrong stepped from the Lunar module into the Sea of Tranquility with those famous words to the rest of mankind.

Many people assumed then that by the 21st century space travel would be an everyday occurrence with holidays to space station hotels and the Moon as well as excursions to Venus and Mars.

Despite the innovation of the 1960’s which turned JFK’s dream into reality in less than 10 years,man never returned to the moon.

The  shuttle disasters showed us that space was a dangerous game and our discovery of the solar system has been left to unmanned probes and powerful telescopes.

Yet there are lessons to learn from those halycon days and over at Mind your own business, Guy Kingston writes about the six lessons from the Apollo programme.

They apply as much to innovation today as they did 40 years ago

1   Set definite objectives, with a timescale, and stick to them. President Kennedy’s 1961 proposal that America should put a man on the moon by the end of the decade is the model of a clear Mission Statement.

2   Expect setbacks. NASA faced disaster after disaster, above all the fire that killed three astronauts and nearly killed the Apollo Programme. They persevered.

3   Courage is rewarded. A computer warning suggested that Neil Armstrong should abort the landing at the last moment. He did not – as a result, everyone remembers Armstrong, no one remembers the computer.

4   Trust enterprise. Although NASA is a government organisation, most of its technology was developed by innovative private sector contractors.

5   “Blue Skies” research is a good investment. Technologies developed for the space programme influence almost every aspect of engineering and computer science today. Research which might seem theoretical at the time can yield huge returns later when its practical applications are discovered.

6   You will never convince everyone. Even today, there are people who say that they believe that the moon landings never happened – in the same way, even if you really do offer the best product in the world, there will always be some who refuse to believe you. It may be irritating, but you just have to accept it.

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Today a star was born!  A star shaped somewhat like a Quasi-Independent Brain Trust (only kidding – kind of!).  That star shall henceforth be known as… Manchester: Knowledge Capital Ltd (drumroll please!!) – or M:KC to you and I.

M:KC was launched around 5 years ago, when Manchester saw the need to stride with confidence into the new knowledge economy, and capitalise on the incredible assets such as the Universities and wonderful citizens that reside within the Manchester City Region.  For those 5 years M:KC has sat, like the precious egg of an Emperor Penguin, sheltered from the arctic winds, on the big webbed feet of our larger, stronger partners.  Today, we broke through our shell and came out (maybe a little fluffy) as an independant company into the buzzing heart of Manchester. Ok, Ok. So there were WAY too many metaphors there, but hey – this is MY FIRST EVER BLOG ENTRY, and it’s 22.55pm and I’m cramming them in before bedtime.

Today was also a great day, as our CEO, Dr Cathy Garner (I’m wondering if she’ll let me call her ‘the Boss’?) landed from her trip to NYC. Wearing shades & crinkly Issey Miyake parka, looking every bit the part. V.cool.  Cathy had been in New York, with others from Manchester’s Great & Good, for the launch of Manchester International Festival (MIF). Apparently, it was Fabulous- though one expects nothing less from the perfectionist Mr Poots.

Whilst in New York, the guys also visited an inspiring Fab Lab (we’ll soon get one here in Manchester!) and Cathy hosted a really fruitful business breakfast with some innovative business leaders over there, expertly organised by our Comms Manager, Jude.  Cathy & Sir Richard Leese had a VERY interesting meeting with a nice lady (whose name I forget at this late hour) at the Rockefeller Foundation. The outcome of that important meeting, and more details on the other NYC events will definately follow in later posts.

By the way, my name is Coral, and I am an Innovation Activist. No-one, including me, appears to have met one of those before, so it seems I have the opportunity to define the genre!  I’ve been at M:KC for ONE MONTH today and to a degree, I’m still working out what precisely what a successful Innovation Activist will/should acheive – but if, though this blog, my colleagues and I can bring you some news or thoughts, and stimulate some ideas and discussions… well, I hope that this can be a part of it.  And if, through this blog, you are encouraged to join us in helping Manchester reach, nay, exceed (!) it’s potential in knowledge and innovation, well, that’s certainly part of what success looks like.

I’m off to bed now, it’s been a busy day for a little penguin.

Good night.


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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