Tag Archives: universities

C4CC is amazing – what next?

C4CC-LOGO
The Centre for Creative Collaboration
will close on 17 December 2014

C4CC will close at noon on 17th December 2014.  For 5 years, we have supported collaborations between Universities, businesses, staff and students and creative freelancers.  In the past two years we have also worked with Small and Medium Enterprises across London as part of the London Creative and Digital Fusion project – supporting more than 200 businesses directly ourselves.  We’ve also helped to form and support 37 start-ups creating over 100 jobs.

We’ve spoken to our resident projects and partners about the closure over the past month or so – and this post will, I hope, let a wider group of friends hear the news directly from us.  To cut a very long story short – our funding has finished, the University of London has decided not to support us further and the lease on our building expires early next year.

I talked to Lloyd Davis recently and we recalled the excitement of getting the keys early in February 2010 – and how big and empty the space seemed.  The project was scary and exciting at the same time.  It’s worth remembering that, when we did the research for the project (in 2008/9) there were very few spaces in London that we would now recognise as co-working or collaboration spaces.  So it was a bit of a leap in the dark – and a testament to the vision of our early supporters, especially Sir Graeme Davies who was
Vice-Chancellor of the University of London at that time.

We will hold an event on 12 December at C4CC to share our experiences, tell stories and celebrate what we’ve all been part of – if you would like an invitation, please let me know.

My plan is to ‘to do my own thing’ again as an independent consultant and adviser; I’m looking at a number of opportunities for 2015.  I’ve learnt a lot of new (and I hope useful!) things in the past 5 years – and I will be happy to help other people and projects to benefit from my experience.  So if you’d like to talk about opportunities to work together, please get in touch.

I am on social media as brian_condon or add a comment to this blog.

Debating the Digital Economy and the Creative Industries

Beyond Text

The Connected University – Driving Recovery and Growth

“Lord Sainsbury and NESTA are launching a report exploring the vital economic contribution of the UK’s universities today, 30 April 2009.

Lord Sainsbury, Hermann Hauser, co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners and Michael Kitson, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge will debate the role of Universities in regional economic growth. Jonathan Kestenbaum, NESTA’s Chief Executive will moderate.”

I blogged the event live and my notes are here.

As a summary here is a wordle of my notes:

connected-university-wordle

Three key areas for action

Lord Sainsbury highlighted three important things:

  • Increasing the scope for technical or business Universities to interact and link with SMEs – but not all Universities should have same mission.  Sainsbury argues that there will be a ‘Top 30’ of Universities who do ‘world-class’ research.  Other Universities  should not compete but differentiate themselves. It’s not necessary to ‘create new research’ – but we do need to improve the implementation of existing research.
  • The importance of science and innovation campuses – such as RAL, Daresbury, NIMH in St Pancras. Clusters of real expertise and these places can provide tremendous opportunities but it needs government drive to succeed.
  • FE colleges are important but neglected.  Government and RDAs need to focus on this.  We need a Further Education Innovation fund (like HEIF).

Sainsbury concluded by noting “We can’t predict which sectors new businesses will come from but we can predict that they will come from the high-tech clusters surrounding our Universities.”

Who was there and who wasn’t?

Consideration of the attendees (from the printed guest list) is instructive; representatives from the case studies were there; Cambridge, Southampton, Bristol, Bath, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield Hallam, Dundee, Daresbury. And I suppose it would be a bit odd if they weren’t there.  Others: Nottingham, Oxford Brookes, Queen’s Belfast, Wales, Bangor, Imperial, Liverpool Management School, Northumbria, Greenwich, Sussex, Ravensbourne, UCL.  Oxford present through Oxford Innovations.

Various representatives of the societies (Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal…), RCUK, quangos and consulting odds and sods (like me).  A few venture capitalists.

Interesting to note the Universities not present and also the pattern of other attendees.  I assume (and it seems likely) that the Nesta invitation went out pretty widely.   Nesta has a good approach to openly promoting their events and in my experience, their events are very well run and the quality of speakers and debate is high.  For events of this type, the Nesta CEO, Jonathan Kestenbaum, is very active and visible.

Better Connections between the Universities and the economy is a UK strategic issue

Nesta is right to identify the importance of the connections between the Universities and the economy.  It’s a big issue for the UK and no matter how good we feel we are at it (and I’d say at best it’s patchy) we need to be better.  While there were representatives from HEFCE and DIUS, only 2 RDAs turned up (SEEDA and Advantage West Midlands) and no one from BERR.  No Government Ministers.

There was also much talk of the ‘Top 30′ universities. This seemed to raise a few hackles!  Eric Thomas from Bristol sounded a negative note by indicating that Universities are not ‘recession proof’ – look at what’s happening in the US.  And I think he was right in sounding a cautionary note as I felt that there was too much complacency in the room and too much of an ‘even keel’.

As far as Nesta’s report is concerned – it’s a very valuable contribution and a good source of ‘food for thought’.  But I feel Nesta ‘pulled its punches’.  I think that the evidence in the report could support a much firmer line from Nesta in pushing harder to define what the role of Universities will be in future as part of our economy, as Lord Sainsbury hinted in his remarks.  We are in the NBAU world – there is No Business As Usual and this needs to be true for our Universities just as much as it is for the rest of us.