Specialisation & local growth: SIA update

This month, leading up to the publication of our inaugural Annual Report, we are outlining case studies from across the 38 LEPs in England that demonstrate best practice and good examples of Smart Specialisation.

Of course this cannot be considered in isolation; the Government’s forthcoming Industrial Strategy should, when published, be taken into account by local areas.  Last week, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark outlined what that Strategy might look like in a speech at the Innovate 2016 conference in Manchester.

Work in progress

In his speech, Mr Clark celebrated the pioneering work already being done by businesses and universities across the UK. One of the themes involved local areas innovating their region, and building resilience and diversity into their economies with a view to becoming globally competitive.

In this local context, Government has published the discoveries from the first wave of Science and Innovation Audits, to continue to explore and evidence the UK’s local strengths.

The aims of Smart Specialisation

One of the main aims of the Smart Specialisation Hub is to ensure local areas focus on these real strengths, with a broad mission that has always underpinned our activities: supporting the alignment of innovation and place. Local areas can help support this alignment internally by asking themselves the following simple questions:

  1. What are we good at?
  2. Where might we have the capacity to be world-leading – if not now, then in the future?
  3. What will that future look like – where are the cross-cutting technologies and applications which can get us ahead of the curve?

“…do what no one else can do better…”

Mr Clark said:

“Localisation enables specialisation – and that can find you a market anywhere in the world…

For an advanced economy, the ultimate guarantee of competitiveness is not to pile it high and sell it cheap, but to do what no one else can do better – or do at all…

By definition, to innovate is to acquire knowledge that no one else possesses – and thereby the potential to produce goods and services that no one else can offer.”

About the author

Kim is the Digital Communications Officer for the Smart Specialisation Hub.

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