In 2012 the Government's innovation agency, Innovate UK, launched a UK-wide competition challenging cities to change the way they run. Cities were called upon to shape smarter and more sustainable places by developing and testing innovative ideas.
With a bid developed in collaboration with public, private and third sector, Peterborough came 2nd and was awarded £3million. The ‘Peterborough DNA' programme was born: to implement the ideas, innovations and new systems that were put forward.
Peterborough DNA is demonstrating accelerated routes to create a step-change in how the city works, delivering new integration and synergies between partners to make urban systems more effective. It reflects the integrated nature of Peterborough's assets, and provides a linking and holistic mechanism for mutual and exponential benefit for all in the city.
The starting point was to assess the key challenges the city faces and embed long-term change by working from the inside out.
Two priorities are central to our approach - integration and grassroots collaboration. Effective human interaction complements the power of data and information and all initiatives work together to foster mind-sets' change towards an efficient and sustainable future.
It enables the city to think creatively and take risks. It has accelerated a broader understanding of how different sectors can work together and focus their efforts to reach the fundamental goal of growth, innovation and sustainability.
The programme focuses on delivering what people wants through four interlinked strands of activity: Living Data; Innovation; Sustainable Businesses; Skills for our Future.
As one of the largest cities without a university, Peterborough faces significant challenges in its skills base. It is clear that the city needs to retain and attract inspired and ambitious young people with the right skills to enable businesses to prosper and meet its challenges.
Leveraging existing pioneering work in this area in the city, Peterborough DNA wanted to take a comprehensive and exciting approach to skills provision.
Peterborough Graduate Scheme
Peterborough Graduate Scheme was set up to offer 11 graduates the opportunity to complete an exciting 6 month sustainability placement working in some of Peterborough’s most pioneering companies. The aim of the Peterborough Graduate Scheme is to create a local network of recent graduates working with local businesses and organisations to boost their own employability whilst increasing the productivity, sustainability and capacity of local host organisations and businesses.
The Peterborough Graduate Scheme has been developed specifically for the DNA programme, in partnership by Change Agents UK and University Centre Peterborough.
Graduates worked for a range of companies including agricultural, manufacturing, technological and consultancy.
Outcomes of the project:
· Six of the graduates have been offered extensions to continue their excellent work in providing sustainable and innovative solutions to their businesses and the remainder are all in full-time employment 6 months after the end of the scheme.
· The placements have had a positive effect upon the local businesses’ environmental performance due to our graduates supporting a variety of sustainability projects whilst on placement. For instance:
o Premier Kitchens and Bedrooms will reduce their carbon footprint by 2% in 2015 through their graduate’s introduction of a new Environmental Management System
o The graduate at Queensgate shopping centre engaged the retailers in a scheme to reduce their environmental impact, which led to an average cost saving of 31%.
This programme was developed to nurture home grown talent with funding for four residents to study an MSc in Sustainability. Creating opportunities for local people and re-investing new skills back into the city to drive Smart City approaches.
Nilam Patel and Jennie Orrell were the first Peterborough DNA bursary scheme beneficiaries, both are now working in local Peterborough organisations using the knowledge and expertise gained through their studies to tackle city and business sustainability challenges. Nilam is now the Water Innovation Network Co-ordinator at Opportunity Peterborough and Jennie is Project Officer at Peterborough Environment City Trust. Clare Foster and Robin Eagle were the most recent recipients of the bursary scheme and are currently finishing their studies at Anglian Ruskin University.
“The Peterborough DNA opportunity has been invaluable for me. I’ve learnt so much, widened my horizons, and built an incredible UK-wide specialist network. Now I’m bringing all that back to the city and helping local businesses work smarter.” Nilam Patel, MSc Bursary Scheme participant
Major global companies such as Perkins, Travelex and BGL, are based in Peterborough, however, the city's economy is reliant on SMEs. We have a powerhouse of innovating and entrepreneurial companies and individuals, but many new ideas are often frustrated before they've managed to take off.
One of the key objectives for DNA's innovation strand was to bring people together (local SMEs, academia, entrepreneurs and communities) to spark open collaboration to address some of the challenges faced in the city.
In order to address this, Peterborough DNA developed a cycle of Innovation:
Peterborough DNA set up two funding streams:
Innovation Challenge Fund - Funding to develop innovative prototypes to get products and services to market
Test Bed Fund - Funding to test innovative technologies in live business environments in the city
Cities have a lot of data about population, health, waste, education and more. In 2008, Peterborough led the way with its ‘Peterborough Model': a digital visualisation of how the city was performing. Since then, the Smart City agenda has exploded, with vastly complex city intelligence systems being developed and sold. But if it is to be useful, data needs to be meaningful and accessible.
Living Data Portal
We created our Living Data Portal to model information in a cost-effective and sustainable way that would encourage greater sharing of data between partner organisations. Users could access a wide range of intelligence including census data, crime stats and health information. The portal used the Google Earth model which is no longer available. However, we now display various city datasets on the Urban Observatory. The Urban Observatory is an interactive digital platform that gives users the opportunity to compare and contrast maps of cities around the world. For more info: http://www.peterboroughdna.com/urban-observatory/
Peterborough DNA have installed 25 weather stations in 25 schools across the city. The data sourced from these installations can be used at all levels of education and across subjects, from science to technology to social behaviour studies. The information will also be invaluable for monitoring meteorological and climate activity.
"This is a hugely exciting opportunity enabling new intelligence to be monitored, shared and used. The idea itself is not new but doing it across a whole city is, and that depth of integration demonstrates how we are doing things differently in Peterborough". Richard Godfrey, Assistant Director of Digital, Peterborough City Council
To view the data: http://iotschools.org.uk/DistanceExploratory/index.php
Open City is bringing together digital, creative and ideas people in Peterborough to make our city a better place. It's a grassroots, volunteer led project, part of the Peterborough DNA programme.
We've held a series of events to develop new apps and digital solutions to increase vibrancy in the city centre and citizen engagement. The first Hackathon, held in the Cathedral precincts, saw over 20 people give up 25 hours each, equating to over £25k in volunteer time, to collaboratively develop content for the new on-street interactive city screen.
To find out more: http://opencity.io/