Manchester City Council

Inside Innovation

Today is ten hours locked in Urbis working with a diverse group of people working on how we make Manchester more innovative.

Why is it important - modern economies are no longer simply an equation between capital and labour. The days of huge factories employing thousands of people will never return and Manchester doesn't sit on vast pools of natural resources, except that is the people who live here. Modern economies' ingredients are connectivity, skills, quality of life, enterprise and increasingly ideas. Doing new things and doing things differently. If Manchester is going to be competitive in a global economy then it has to be at the forefront of creating new products and new processes, we have to innovate.

It's a very full on day. No breaks, food taken on the run, and a large number of tasks, some individual, some in groups, all done in tight and strict time limits, and all looking at how we get a super-innovative Manchester in three years. Everything is filmed, photographed and sound recorded with a lot of writing and drawing on movable white walls. Just in case any group does try to overrun, very loud music makes conversation impossible. An amazing number of people with Blackberry/mobile phone withdrawal symptoms and instead of clusters of people going out for a smoke, desperate participants sneak out for a radio communication fix.

By three in the afternoon, tiredness and tension are setting in but we are struggling to some conclusions including the need for a new, cellular innovation system for the city - I'm charged with getting that delivered so you will no doubt be hearing more later. Other participants " volunteer " for a range of tasks but the real test will be in three years time when we see just how and how fast the economy of Manchester is developing.

Then with Easter weekend coming up it's a couple of hours back in the office catching up on paperwork and e-mails that I'd managed to ignore all day on my Blackberry.

There are 2 responses to “Inside Innovation”

  1. Claire Says:

    Being hooked in by the word innovation I read your blog to find out more but it didnt really tell me what the event was about or who was involved just that it was a lot of diverse people locked in Urbis. so once hooked I googled innovation and got a link to and got more info. this told me that there was a network of innovators in the business world that was looking at ways to sustain and develop and thinking creatively, not suprisingly a lot of it is around science and technology developments and organisational change management. you rightly recognise that manchesters natural resource in terms of its innovation is its people so I wondered if it included them and if not that the next event has an open door for residents rather than a locked one. also why not have one for manchester kids with the business running hands on workshops.
    I thought I would include a link for interested people
    By the way there's an article in there about the innovativeness of blackberry so maybe it would have been ok to keep them on and use them creatively as part of the events communication !

  2. Roland Harwood Says:

    Richard. I'm delighted the day went well and was only sorry I couldn't be there. I blogged about Manchester's innovation heritage recently here:

    inspired by Steven Johnsons excellent book Emergence. I'm also particularly looking forward to the cities panel at the Innovation Edge conference where I believe you are also speaking.

    Regards, Roland



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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