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Demonstrator

What we've done so far

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. 

Building on past experiences we embarked on this project knowing that many of Peterborough's SME's work in isolation, unknowingly accentuating the challenges they face in relation to economic viability and environmental sustainability.

The aim of the project was to improve the resource efficiency of the Fengate business cluster, an industrial area in the east of the city, by working with them to understand the challenges they face across a whole host of systems and invest in shared solutions.

A core group of 12 businesses was formed (SME's: Walters; i3 Media; Greenwheel Cycles; PPS Print; Tee-Kay Packaging; Global VTech; Masteroast; Lindum Group and larger companies: Perkins Skanska; Viridor; Amey) and now the network encompasses more than 100 businesses.

In partnership with the businesses, we have been developing a sharing economy platform: Share Peterborough. The purpose of this B2B platform is to enable local organisations to maximise the use of resources by exchanging goods and services that are under-utilised or no longer needed; to promote local organisations and to build a collaborative business community in the city.

The project has been so successful in Fengate that it is now being scaled up across the city and will be fundamental in our application of a circular economy approach at a city scale. 

Results so far:

  • The companies identified their individual and collective key challenges
  • Developed a programme of work to overcome these challenges including sustainable transport projects; development of a digital platform to support business collaboration; the development of a SMARTool to provide businesses with the opportunity to measure their sustainability performance and receive a roadmap of how to improve this

  • Strong network of businesses providing a solid platform for growth and further opportunities to implement a circular economy approach across the city
  • Businesses have had the opportunity to test bed new technologies coming through from the Innovation strand which provides them with a competitive advantage
  • Innovate UK funding helped attract further European funding from the Recommend project of £15,000