We showcased a wide range of our work in the Northern region, using Nesta projects and programmes as examples of the kind of things that can be achieved where innovative ideas are encouraged and well supported. This included how technology can transform public services, how to take advantage of Manchester and the North West's strength in the creative industries and how to maximise the potential of communities.
Sir Richard Leese
Sir Richard was born, brought up and went to school in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. After graduating from the University of Warwick, he worked as a teacher in Coventry and as an exchange teacher in the USA before moving to Manchester to take up a post as a youth worker. He was employed variously in youth work, community work, and education research 1979-1988 and elected to the City Council in 1984. He was deputy Leader from 1990 to 1996 having previously Chaired the Education Committee (1986-90) and Finance Committee (1990-95).
He is heavily involved in regeneration activity including being on the board of the Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company. He is Chair of Manchester Airport Group Shareholders Committee and Deputy Leader of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Chair of the Regional Leaders' Board (RLB).
Alex Connock is Director of New Business at Shine UK, the 'superindie' TV group which includes production companies Princess, Shine TV, Kudos and Dragonfly. He previously co-founded (with Bob Geldof) and ran TV production group Ten Alps, for which he was six times shortlisted as Entrepreneur of the Year. Before that worked for Planet 24 and the BBC. He is visiting fellow at Oxford University's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and at Manchester Business School, and visiting Professor at the University of Sunderland in Digital Content. He is Creative Director of Manchester Metropolitan University's Digital Innovation centre and Entrepreneur in Residence at French business school INSEAD. And he is Chair of the Royal Television Society North West. He has been a Nesta mentor twice for companies in the TV sector.