Hubs of innovation: the importance of understanding place

How does innovation happen in a place? What does it take to create and sustain an innovation hub? What is it about a district, a neighbourhood, a cluster or a corridor that makes it possible for innovation to flourish?

In the 2021 Budget, the UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP announced a commitment “to stimulating private sector investment to create jobs, develop hubs of innovation, and revitalise local areas and regions across every part of the UK”. The innovation economy has become one of the defining features of the economic cycle, especially the role of innovation in the post-pandemic recovery and the wider ‘levelling up’ agenda. Yet there are stark differences between the innovation activity in different parts of the UK, and there is renewed focus on enabling the innovation economy to flourish right across the country.

This is the first in a series of episodes where we’ll be bringing you stories from across the UK and around the world of how innovation happens in places; creative quarters in inner city neighbourhoods, science parks on the edge of town, industry clusters, ports and converted buildings. We’ll be speaking to place leaders and businesses about what we need to be doing to create innovation hubs which can become places of discovery, growth and job creation.

Our Hubs of Innovation podcast 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.

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