Leeds can’t keep a lid on innovation!

Innovation has always been the lifeblood of companies. As a marketing agency, we know that being the first to launch a product, the fastest to create a new process, the earliest adopters of a new philosophy, all generates lucrative marketing opportunities. But now Leeds is going beyond innovation at a company level, to create something very exciting for the city and the North of England: the Leeds Innovation District.

ThinkOTB is an innovation and marketing agency. We combine the power of innovation consultancy and marketing expertise to help some of the largest companies and organisations in the UK to adopt a culture of innovation. We are normally invited to a company to facilitate a series of workshops which unlock fresh thinking on a specific project. When the value of this new approach to problem solving is realised, many companies ask our team to train up innovation champions in their business, consult on adopting innovation management systems and develop internal marketing campaigns.

By embedding the understanding that everyone across the company can have great ideas, it creates an environment where innovation is invested in, ideas are well-managed, and innovations are developed to dramatically change the products, services, processes and mindset of a company. What’s more, an innovation culture is a proven way to enhance productivity and retain staff, because staff feel loyal to a company when they are listened to and that they have a way of changing the things that prevent them from doing their job well.

Leeds canal and high rise buildings

An innovation culture for an entire city

Rather than innovation at the company level, the whole of Leeds city is becoming focused on innovation with the launch of the new Leeds Innovation District (LID).

This exciting project will “create a world-class hub for research, innovation and entrepreneurialism in sectors such as health and life sciences, creative and digital, data, engineering, advanced infrastructure and urban services.” By 2025, this flagship project will “provide a base for entrepreneurs, start-ups and scale-ups to mix with established hi-tech businesses and tap into the expertise of world-class education institutions to create innovative new products and services”.

The District will incorporate the existing Leeds General Infirmary site and spread to the north of the city bringing together the Leeds NHS Trust, University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds College of Art and Leeds City Council, along with cutting-edge technology and data businesses who already call Leeds their home.

ThinkOTB are proud to be working with one of the NHS Trusts involved in LID to help them embed best practice techniques for innovation in the organisation. One of the first developments we’ll see in the Innovation District will be an estimated £450 million investment in developing Leeds General Infirmary. The funding will enable the latest technologies, treatments, and research to be used, will create theatres and critical care for the adults’ hospital and provide a new site for Leeds Children’s Hospital.

Thanks to entrepreneurial tech businesses such as Sky, BJSS, Crisp and EMIS, who have seen the opportunity for growth outside of London, Leeds is already a leading UK city in the digital and data landscape. Pre-pandemic figures show the digital sector in the city employed 102,000 people and had the fastest scale-up growth in the North.

Leeds has been the home of ThinkOTB for over 30 years and so we are keen to see how we can continue to be a part of this exciting development, if an innovation culture has the same effect on a whole city as it does on a company, and how Leeds Innovation District will take this incredible city from strength to strength.

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