A small group of people recently met at the offices of Orange in Leeds to test out some ideas about the role that an Innovation Lab could play in driving forward progress in the city.

We explored four strands of activity that such a lab may engage itself with:

  1. Shifting Mindsets and Paradigms – thinking as idealists and imagineers – not just as pragmatists and realists
  2. Developing Structures, Systems and Toolkits that would nurture innovation and imagination in Leeds
  3. Fishing for Big Ideas – finding the technologies, opportunities and points of pain that hold the most promise for an investment of time in innovation and creative thinking for the benefit of the city
  4. Implementation – providing a process and a context in which ideas can be quickly advanced for the benefit of the city

The lab engaged people from the public, private and third sectors and a real consensus seemed to be that more of this kind of diversity in the thinking process was essential for genuine innovation.  Less innovation within silos and more innovation based on having the ‘whole system’ in the room perhaps.

We also explored the importance of developing innovation as a mass participation sport – progress is not just left in the hands of a political, cultural or commercial elite – but becomes the business of everyone who wants to play a part.

Inevitably some of the conversation focused on the role of innovation in helping to address the immediately pressing challenges created by funding cuts.

You can see some of the work we did at the meeting below:


Some questions to ponder….

  • Who else should we involve in the development of the Innovation Lab idea?
  • What can you offer to help us move the concept forward?  (ideas, investment, resources…)