Innovation Plan Aims and Strategy
Building on Lancashire’s 2017 Innovation Plan, a refreshed Lancashire Innovation Plan (LIP) has been produced by Lancashire County Council and partners, supported by Steer Economic Development, to drive forward innovation across the County.
Since 2017’s Plan, there have been significant socioeconomic shocks and longer-term changes in technology, ways of working, and trade priorities. COVID-19, Brexit, war in Ukraine, the continual and rapid digitalisation of industry, and shifts in political and social priorities towards low/net zero carbon together mean that now is the right time to refresh the 2017 Plan.
Some key opportunities are developing in Lancashire, which this LIP looks to build on; these
• National Cyber Force. Securing the UK’s headquarters for military operations in cyber space in Samlesbury in 2021 was a huge win for Lancashire, which will directly employ 2,000 people in Lancashire by 2023. There is real potential for development of a Cyber Corridor in the North West, centred around Lancashire;
• Smart specialisation – Staying Ahead. Lancashire has key, evidenced strengths in Aerospace, Nuclear and energy production, and clear opportunities to specialise in Chemicals and Materials, Digital, Cyber and e-commerce, and Health. This LIP sets out actions to ensure Lancashire ‘Stays Ahead’ in these areas;
• Smart Specialisation – New Routeways. The clear strengths in Lancashire’s innovation ecosystem and the unstoppable transformation of our economy through technology advancement presents opportunities for Lancashire to identify and enable innovation in the County at technology-industry ‘convergence zones’ where new routeways to specialisms can be capitalised on;
• Net zero is a clear national government priority area with potential for innovation across most sectors at a business level and in the generation of energy. Lancashire has strong capabilities in clean energy and nuclear, which the refreshed plan seeks to enhance and make more pervasive.
The Strategic Framework
The LIP’s Strategic Framework, addresses these key challenges and opportunities around a Strategic Framework comprising the flowing components:
• A Vision which describes the County’s long-term innovation intent;
• Four Strategic Aims which, define those objectives the LIP is seeking to realise:
– Grow: How Lancashire will capitalise on its existing innovation capabilities and its
potential new areas of innovation capability
– Broaden: How the number of businesses actively committing to innovation can be
developed and widened
– Connect: Recognising the need for Lancashire and its innovation assets to be
connected internally and plugged into wider UK and global innovation ecosystems
– Tell: Ensuring that Lancashire’s innovation capabilities are not only well known
nationally and globally, but also able to influence the direction of travel of innovation
• Within each Strategic Aim, a series of supporting objectives which define the broad areas
of practical activity to achieve the Aim; and
• A defined suite of 12 actions to progress the Plan
Ensuring that this LIP delivers on its objectives, strong leadership, collaboration, and willingness to deliver change will be required. The LIP itself provided a strong base for this, having been developed in partnership with public, private, and academic stakeholders, but this must continue in implementation.
Furthermore, to ensure the actions taken forward in this LIP are targeted, rather than done for doing’s sake, clear ‘condition’ indicators have been developed. This will ensure that the actions can be monitored collectively in their effectiveness at addressing Lancashire’s challenges and capitalising on its opportunities.
This LIP is intended to provide the strategic agenda for innovation in the County 2023-2028.
Market, technologies, and political contexts are likely to continue to evolve in the period, so the LIP needs to be flexible in detail but consistent in direction. The overall Vision will remain and the Strategic Framework with continue to guide actions across all partners. The development of a technology and market foresight observatory as one of the actions will in itself be crucial to guiding this.