Big issues for #SmartSpecialisation

Listening to the talks today at the Smart Specialisation conference – especially the excellent keynote by @RichardALJones – here are some big issues.

What do we do about London?

And that’s just “Inner London West”!

  • London accounts for about 23% of UK GDP, add in 15% ish for the rest of the South East – and we’re looking at 38% of UK GDP
  • Everything we do that makes anywhere “closer” to London – high speed rail, better connections makes the problem worse – from a regional perspective.

What is a Local Industrial Strategy?

  • There is a dilemma here; are we talking about national policies applied locally, or are we really going to develop policy locally that is supported nationally?
  • Everything to my mind is driven ‘top down’; Industrial Strategy, sector deals etc

I’m sure you all mean well but….

Too many initiatives cutting across each other producing a confused innovation infrastructure with little eco-system thinking. How does it all fit together, what is the logic and how does the private sector fit in?

Errr…….what’s the framework, what business model is being used, how do we know what the plan is? Not clear.

Where was the Private Sector and why no discussion?

“We were going to open up for Q&A but we’re short of time so we’re not going to do that – we’ll move on” #smartspecialisation

— Brian_Condon (@brian_condon) November 29, 2018

Strategic but not “big”

I do a lot of work on strategy. And I remember a discussion I had with the Technology Strategy Board when we proposed that C4CC became a ‘strategic partner’ for the newly named ‘Connected Digital Economy Catapult’. We were told that we ‘weren’t big enough’. And I said, ‘Well, when the Internet started out it wasn’t big either – but it was strategic!’. I didn’t mean to sound like we were trying to do something as important as that, of course, even if it could be interpreted as that. Just that one should not confuse someone big doing something with producing strategic change…