Innovating out of recession workshop summary

With innovation seen as a key way for businesses to navigate the recession, the Innovating out of Recession workshop at our Annual Conference brought together an interesting mix of speakers and delegates to discuss innovative practices, measuring innovation and how innovation may change the industrial structure of the West Midlands.

Cliff Dennett from thoughtengine, co-author of Innovation in a recession (chapter 7 in the Fit for the Future book ), kicked off a series of presentations covering a range of innovation related topics. Cliff’s presentation focussed on ways in which we can explore cost-cutting but value adding activities.
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Engaging communities in the new economy – Observatory conference debate

Engaging communities in the new economySupport the community organisations who are working on the ground, was a strong theme in both workshops on ‘engaging communities in the new economy’ at the Observatory’s 2009 Annual Conference.

The workshop heard from voices working with communities in the region who articulated their frustrations in having to fit their work around funders’ requirements, rather than funders coming to them and saying ‘how can we support you to do what you do?’

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Roundup of workshop on skills for the emerging economy

Skills graphic from chapter 5 of Fit for the Future book‘Skills for the emerging economy’ was a lively and well-attended workshop held at the Observatory’s Annual Conference on 20th October 2009.

Steve Sawbridge, from the Association of Colleges, chaired the workshop, which featured presentations from Mike Beasley, Pat Jackson and Andy Phillips.

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Environment and economy: Fit for the Future?

Environment & EconomyThe 2009 Observatory conference, West Midlands: Fit for the Future?, provided a forum for debate on economic recovery in the West Midlands.

One element of the debate concentrated on how to link the environment and economy better, based on chapters 4 and 9 of the Fit for the Future? book.

Delegates at the Environment and Economy workshop discussed Green Infrastructure, leadership and the value of the environment, aiming to understand how to embed the environment into regional policy making more effectively. Discussions ranged from the best way of doing this to overcoming what’s currently standing in the way.

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What will be the key drivers for the West Midlands’ future? Notes from ‘Regional Drivers for the Future’ workshop at the Observatory’s 2009 conference

Chap-3_v1.0_image_ONThere was little disagreement from workshop participants with Gill Bentley‘s opening suggestion that ‘this recession is almost tantamount to war’ in terms of its impact on the region’s prosperity.

Dr Chris Upton‘s account, in chapter 1 of West Midlands: Fit for the Future? (PDF, 5.7mb), of the devastating impact that the 1790s war with France had on the region’s manufacturing industry served as a fitting backdrop for the workshop debate, which asked participants to address the question:

‘What will be the key drivers for the region’s future?’

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Presentations and speeches from Annual Conference

Rosie Paskins, Richard Hyde and Richard Woolhouse at the West Midlands Regional Observatory's Annual Conference 2009

Left to right: Rosie Paskins, Richard Hyde, Richard Woolhouse

We held our Annual Conference, titled ‘West Midlands: Fit for the Future?’, yesterday in Sutton Coldfield.

The focus of the conference was on the economic recovery of the West Midlands, rather than the recession, and how we best position the West Midlands for the economic recovery.

The conference followed on from the book West Midlands: Fit for the Future? we launched back in July 2009.

The speeches and workshop discussions generated a great deal of debate, challenges and ideas on steps for the region’s policy makers, and those supporting policy with evidence, to now take forward.

The workshops generated a lot of content, which we’ll share on this blog over the next few days (slides, questions, and ways forward).

Here are the presentations and audio from the four speakers in the main conference room:

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Live blogging the Observatory’s Annual Conference

West Midlands: Fit for the Future?Our 2009 Annual Conference, titled West Midlands: Fit for the Future?, takes place tomorrow in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.

You can keep up-to-date with comments and tweets about the conference as it unfolds on the day using this CoverItLive liveblog (replay the liveblog here).

You can add comments directly in the liveblog itself or by sending a tweet containing the hashtag #wmroconf09.

All the content surrounding the conference—slides, photos, useful links, videos, blog posts, tweets, and so on—is being aggregated on this Pageflakes. Again, tag any content you want to share with wmroconf09.

The conference is on Tuesday, 20th October. The liveblog will open at 10am.