Connected Places Podcast Episode 22: Hubs of Innovation II – Servicing the new economy with Chris Oglesby

In this next part of our series on Hubs of Innovation, we return to the question of how innovation happens in a place. What is it about a district, a neighbourhood, or a corridor that makes it possible for innovation to flourish? And how can a deeper understanding of the innovation economy inform our thinking about how to create better connections within and between places across the UK?

In this episode Prof. Greg Clark speaks to Chris Oglesby, CEO of Bruntwood, a property company that employs over 800 people and owns over £1.4 billion of commercial assets and 100 properties across the city regions of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham and Cambridge. Bruntwood provides everything from coworking spaces and meeting rooms, through to serviced and managed offices for all sorts of innovation labs, hubs, and tech spaces.

We ask how the buildings which host the innovation economy can shape a successful innovation location in how they’re designed and serviced. Do you have to be a smart company yourself if you’re a property company that’s hosting innovators? And given Chris’ strong involvement in shaping the innovation economy of Greater Manchester, we explore the link between the city regions across the North West of England and the UK government’s ambitious plans to level up the national economy.

As well as running Bruntwood, Chris is involved in a number of public and private partnerships, including the Manchester Climate Change Forum, the Manchester Oxford Road Corridor, the Greater Manchester Enterprise Partnership and the North Powerhouse Partnership. He is Interim Chair of Innovation Greater Manchester which brings together business, science academia and government.

Music on this episode is by Blue Dot Sessions and Phill Ward Music (

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Hubs of Innovation; Connected Places Podcast; Future of Innovation
Show notes:

If you would like to learn more about Bruntwood and the buildings, workspaces, innovation and science facilities that they own, let and manage, click here.

Our Hubs of Innovation series comes out of two reports that the Catapult recently published, 1) Hubs of Innovation which looks at the role of innovation hubs in the COVID-adjusted economy, and 2) the accompanying Playbook for Place Leaders, a practical guide for how to establish or grow an innovation hub. Both reports are free to download on our website.

If you’re interested the often tricky question of how to procure innovation, come along to the next event in our Challenging Procurement Series: Co-creating Innovation which is being held on 14th June. You’ll get a chance to hear case studies and best practices in procurement, and learn why citizen-led projects are often cited as a powerful tool by innovative public sector organisations. To register, click here.

To register for our next Virtual Connections Café on 9th June, click here. These SME innovation support webinars explore developments and opportunities in the built environment and mobility sectors, as well as offering support and guidance to growing businesses.

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