Most pleasurable part of yesterday was first the pulling and then the drinking of the " first " pint at the beautifully restored Memorial Hall on Albert Square, formerly the Square Albert and now the Albert Square Chop House. Most interesting part of the day followed a short tram ride to the Quays for a conference organised by Nesta ( National Endowment for Science, Technology and Arts - that's everything isn't it? ) on innovation in the north west.
I'd been asked to speak on Manchester and Innovation but I was preceded by nine short presentations on particular projects all supported by Nesta. A couple like our fabulous Fab Lab and FranchisingWorks I already knew quite a lot about. A couple which I won't name were interesting but not particularly innovative. Most were either supporting innovation or were genuinely finding new ways of doing things better. A mention for People powered health, an excellent presentation from Stockport Council's Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services, but my favourite was the one from the Chief Executive of Shared Lives on Tyze, essentially a way of providing joined-up support for carers. Innovation is often seen as something to do with business or academia. These two projects demonstrated that there is as much, if not more, scope for innovation in public services, something we are going to very much need if we are to get through the next few years. We've worked closely with Nesta over the last five years, and the morning showed the value of having an endowed organisation that can help us create and improve welcome ideas.