Innovation and changeDigital TransformationHertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership turns to tech to address Grand Challenges

Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership turns to tech to address Grand Challenges

Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is turning to technology and private sector partners in a bid to find innovative ways to can tackle Grand Challenges.

Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is turning to technology and private sector partners in a bid to find innovative ways IT and cloud strategies can tackle the Grand Challenges across the county.

The Local Enterprise Partnership’s Envoy Programme partnered with BRE, the building science centre, to host a workshop that brought partners together to help them understand what long-term IT and cloud strategies are already in place and how these solutions can support future innovation. The workshop also allowed attendees to share IT best practice models and facilitate greater collaboration between the private and public sector, which it is hoped will help to bring the Government’s Industrial Strategy to life.

The Industrial Strategy sets out four Grand Challenges – AI and big data, Ageing Society, Clean Growth and Future of Mobility – to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future. Local Enterprise Partnerships have an important part to play in developing Local Industrial Strategies for their areas. Thanks to their private-public partnerships, they are uniquely placed to identify some of the key challenges and opportunities locally.

Workshop success

Chief Technology and Chief Information Officers attended from across a wide range of public sector and private sector organisations including Hertfordshire County Council, the districts and borough councils; Hertfordshire Police; NHS and the University of Hertfordshire. The event was driven by Hertfordshire LEP Business Envoy Chris Luff, Chief Executive, Watford and West Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and founder of Freedom Communications.

To maximise the effectiveness of this workshop, 1:1 consultations were carried out prior to the event to collate a high-level view of county-wide infrastructure and cloud strategies, as well as priorities for the next 12 to 18 months, innovations in the pipeline and barriers to growth.

Helen Webb, Director of Webb Strategy and former UK Managing Director of lastminute.com, gave an overview on the day of the social, economic, and technical mega trends that are fast changing our lives at work and home. Oliver Thompson explained how organisations and individuals can achieve smarter ways of working with growth mindset.

Ageing Society focus

The main focus of the workshop was based around round-table discussions to canvas opinions on what the barriers and challenges facing our public sector organisations are – and what IT can do to facilitate better partnership working.

As a result of these discussions a number of initiatives have been put forward for further exploration. It was agreed that there was potential for collaboration in relation to the Ageing Society Grand Challenge. A number of possible tech solutions were raised such as using video to tackle stranger danger and reduce feelings of isolation; the use of smart technology to improve health monitoring and big data sharing across the police/NHS and councils to facilitate early intervention.

The next steps for Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is to take these initiatives forward as part of its Local Industrial Strategy consultation process. Those organisations present that wish to take this opportunity further will be invited to take part in more detailed discussions.

Former Hertfordshire LEP Chair John Gourd is overseeing the development of a Local Industrial Strategy. He said: “The Local Industrial Strategy is very much a call to arms, asking people to get involved, bring their networks, their knowledge and their expertise to help the LEP formulate its strategy and find solutions to some of the wider issues the Grand Challenges raise. This workshop was a case in point and we were delighted to help broker these partnerships by getting the right people in a room and start making things happen.”

A full report on the workshop can be found here.

Towards a Local Industrial Strategy

Local Enterprise Partnerships have been tasked with developing Local Industrial Strategies to help create more prosperous communities and tackle the vast regional and local disparities that exist across the UK.

A Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) should bring together a strong, well-informed evidence base about an area’s economy and outline a long-term set of priorities that capitalise on existing opportunities in the economy, address weaknesses and resolve an area’s needs.

The Grand Challenges are strongly future facing. They are developments in technology that will transform industries and societies around the world and in which the UK could play a leading role.

As part of this process, Hertfordshire LEP is hosting a State of the Economy event on 30th November when it will be:

  • presenting the latest economic evidence;
  • outlining the specific opportunities the Local Industrial Strategy can bring;
  • launching a business survey and wider consultation process to understand more fully the current and future needs of businesses.

The next phase will be the development of its strategy, co-designed with Government and shaped by businesses and key stakeholder groups followed by a full public consultation, which is expected to take place during summer 2019. All Local Industrial Strategies must be agreed by Government by 2020.

Keep up to date with progress here.

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