Innovation is certainly where the conversation and the action are at.
On Wednesday 8 June 2016, as part of ENGIE’s global Innovation Week programme, the company hosted a high-profile ‘Creating the Cities of Tomorrow’ conference and exhibition at the Cobalt Business Park, looking at the future challenges facing our cities and citizens, and how innovative approaches are needed to generate sustainable solutions.
Gathering together businesses small, medium and large, local public sector organisations, academics and investors, including North Tyneside Council, North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Newcastle University, Ctrl-Shift, Arjuna and Blue Prism, the day proved to be a genuine inspiration for innovation, according to Mike Hedges, Partnership Director at the ENGIE/North Tyneside Council partnership.
Over the course of the day, respected national and international speakers held a range of workshops and masterclasses for over 150 delegates from across the region, on topics covering developing personalised services, to minimising environmental impacts.
Hans Möller, Innovation Director at the North East LEP, spoke on Innovation and a Healthy Economy and how organisations need to bring in ideas from outside the business and bring together people from a variety of backgrounds to encourage disruptive innovation. The LEP’s vision is for the North East to become one of Europe’s innovation hotspots and has earmarked £100m for innovation.
Delegates heard how innovation is rarely the result of one big thought from a single corporation or lone individual. Instead, it is usually down to collaboration among organisations, communication between different people and combinations of technologies.
Putting its money where its mission is, ENGIE is investing more than £1.5bn over the next three years to support and promote innovation. It is also investing hugely in building effective partnerships that foster the collaboration, communication and combinations, which drive successful innovation.
In the North East, ENGIE UK is a key member of the local innovation network, and is working closely with North Tyneside Council, the North East LEP, Newcastle University’s Cloud Innovation Centre, Northumbria University and Newcastle City Council, among others, on regional innovation programmes to help create a bright future for the area and its citizens.
At its conclusion, delegates confirmed that the cities of tomorrow event had already established important new relationships – that is innovation at work.
For a round-up of the day, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTuwR9nFavo
On Friday 10 June, the final day of Innovation Week 2016, Hans Möller along with Patrick Melia, Chief Executive of North Tyneside Council, supported ENGIE’s showcase event held at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in London at which Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, gave a speech on innovation in front of an audience of around 200 innovators, intrapreneurs, investors, influencers and industry representatives. Hans and Patrick shared ideas and contributed to the debate, gathering further inspiration for innovation to bring back with them to the North East.