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Open ideas days: the products

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A few weeks ago, we told you about the Open Ideas Days that Policy Lab was planning to support the Deputy Prime Minister’s Northern Futures project. They took place on October 16th: check out a moment-by-moment account here and a summary here.

What happened at the ideas days was great. But the main thing was the many interesting and innovative ideas produced by the participants who kindly brought their time and energy to discussing their communities and region and what they thought it needed to produce a Great North by 2030. This post is just a selection to show the themes and thoughts that came up across all eight cities. You can see all the ideas on the Northern Futures platform and watch the videos from the day on the OPM Youtube account.


Infrastructure ideas

Sheffield’s #NCUK: focusing northern assets on building up cities by leadership, employment from improving infrastructure, and sustainable growth.


Manchester’s Connect North: an integrated transport and communications plan to position the north as a global hub.


Hull’s ‘4 Cs’: cooperation, communication, creativity and commerce coming together to create a supportive road, rail and internet environment for business.


York’s Rubic North: utilising existing spaces and leveraging technology better to allow flexible working.


Community empowerment ideas

Sheffield’s resilient connected communities: creating cities where decisions and support come from the community.


Lancaster’s what is different about the north: harnessing local strength to build a northern identity and engage with our sense of place and community.


Newcastle’s spark: an innovation hub collecting people and wisdom to develop and deliver solutions to issues like sustainability, ageing, life sciences, and other new markets.


Liverpool’s empower: leveraging local assets to develop sustainable community-based power generation.


Business and entrepreneurialism ideas

Manchester’s retaining young talent in the north: a business- and industry-led careers service and employer network to help young people to get the jobs they want in the north.


Hull’s careers gateways: creating a lifelong record of achievement as part of an online network helping young people to understand their potential and connect with small businesses who need them.


Leeds’ Maker Library Network: dynamic creative spaces to help people learn and practice making skills, including digital and 3D printing equipment and training.


York’s retain excellent graduates: using planning to create more affordable accommodation so young people can live, work and start businesses in city centres.


Newcastle’s Northern Lights: a business-to-business trust providing financial backing and skill support to one another.


Governance and democracy ideas

Lancaster’s constitutional reform: introducing local and regional government that allows people and their needs to be at the heart of decision-making.


Liverpool’s Magnetic North: a formal body representing and supporting northern cities, selling them nationally and globally as a great place to work, live and invest.


Technology ideas

Leeds’ LUSH open innovation platform: an online and real-life space to spot talent in community spaces and help them to access and design services.



The DPM’s Summit is happening tomorrow (Thursday 6th November) in Leeds. You can read and rate the nine ideas being pitched, check out the event agenda and watch the livestream (Thursday 6th only), and follow along on Twitter.


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