UK cities face a huge economic challenge. This report looks at how our pilot projects in Manchester have helped set the pace for innovation in cities.
- Creating the right conditions for a city’s innovation and growth requires honest, evidence-based analysis of its strengths and weaknesses. Local Enterprise Partnerships can take responsibility for this.
- Leadership should cut across administrative boundaries, and draw in local businesses and organisations outside government.
- Cities can encourage innovation cost-effectively by connecting the ‘wellsprings of innovation’ with the wider local economy.
The UK's cities face an unprecedented economic challenge. They need to foster the economic growth necessary to recover from the deepest recession the UK has seen for decades. And they must do this at a time when public spending is dramatically reducing.
This means far less money will be available to pay for traditional regeneration and economic development projects. But at the same time, it means that cities cannot rely on the expansion of the public sector to provide growth; indeed they will have to rely on the private sector all the more, as the public sector shrinks.
Nesta has been working in partnership with Manchester City Council, the North West Development Agency, and across the local economy to learn how to transform cities’ capacity to innovate. Although it is too early to assess the full impact of the partnership, the work so far suggests important lessons with implications for local and national policymakers.