Open Innovation challenges launches in Manchester

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22/01/2018 

Open Innovation challenges launches in Manchester to help transform city with smart technologies

CityVerve Open Innovation challenges led by Cisco and Manchester Science Partnerships to work with SMEs to help combat issues in healthcare, transport and energy

True Innovation comes from collaboration. This belief sits at the core of the Open Innovation challenges launched today by Cisco and Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), who are on the search to work with some of the UK’s best Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with a vision to transform Manchester through smart technologies. Convened by CityVerve, the UK’s smart city demonstrator, the challenge will see eight SMEs selected to participate in an eight week initiative in Manchester to combine technology, data and creativity to tackle some of the city’s biggest problems in healthcare, transport and energy.

Commencing in March 2018, the initiative gives SMEs the opportunity to work with partners from public sector, corporate and academic worlds who are part of the CityVerve Internet of Things (IoT) test bed. The eight selected SMEs from across the UK will have the opportunity to put their innovative solutions to the test, in a real-life situation.

The Open Innovation challenges involve collaborating with organisations in Manchester to understand their needs and focus on issues such as sustainability, inclusiveness, traffic congestion and long-term health conditions. To address these issues, four challenge briefs have been created for SMEs to respond to before entries close on 14th February. The four briefs are:

CityVerve is collecting and sharing data from across the city to create a range of solutions to benefit Manchester, and the people living and working there. The Open Innovation challenges will build on this, creating IoT solutions that can be tried and tested in Manchester, but ultimately be applied in smart cities across the world.

Nick Chrissos, Director of Innovation at Cisco in Europe says: “Without collaboration, any effort to solve the challenges facing society today fails at the first hurdle. No one organisation can truly do it alone. The answer lies in co-innovation, and this approach is fundamental to the Open Innovation challenges. This is an exciting opportunity not only for our country’s best SMEs to test their technology, but for us to work with them. We are looking forward to seeing what solutions are created to help solve challenges facing Manchester not only today, but in the future.”

Selected SMEs will be given unparalleled access to industry leaders in the smart city and IoT sector. Additionally, Cisco will be offering the opportunity to scale solutions through its global sales channels, while MSP and Growth Studio will provide product development and business masterclasses as well as access to investors in the smart cities space. SMEs will receive a £5,000 grant and the opportunity to showcase their technology to industry leaders at the CityVerve demo day later in 2018.

Anne Dornan, Head of Innovation and Partnerships at MSP said: This is a hugely exciting part of the CityVerve demonstrator project where city partners have the opportunity to source and co-develop genuinely innovative solutions and trial them in a real-world environment. We hope to attract some of the most innovative technology SMEs in the UK to work with the support of committed civic partners and global industry players to deploy some market leading smart city solutions which not only improve key services in Manchester, but can be exported to cities globally.

Today’s launch follows Cisco and MSP opening the Mi-IDEA Innovation Centre at Manchester Science Park in September 2017, which runs a number of innovation and growth programmes  for start-ups. Mi-IDEA is based in the heart of Manchester’s innovation district and is designed to support the growth of digital tech start-ups in the North of England.

Today’s announcement is the latest example of Cisco’s commitment to support digitisation in the UK and an addition to its core innovation programme. Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) strategy is a long-term partnership with government, industry and academia to deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively for the country.

Applications for the four Open Innovation challenge briefs close on 14th February 2018, and fast-track selection days will be held on 15th and 16th February 2018. The final selection day will be held on 5th March 2018, and the challenge will commence on 19th March before ending in May. For more information and to apply please go to: cityverve.org.uk/open-innovation