Welcome to Spy Story of London Festival site

Spy has been working with the Mayor of London’s Office on the Story of London Festival.

This year the Story of London Festival takes place 1-10 October and is on the theme ‘London, Innovation and the Future’, focusing on London as a site of innovation and the value of innovation to the future of the city. A guide to the Festival has been published with Time Out and the Guardian.

We have co-programmed five Future City Keynote Debates that take place every weekday evening from Monday 4 to Friday 8 October at the British Library Conference Centre.

We have also co-programmed a number of Festival partner events on a variety of themes with New London Architecture, Design London, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, the Science Museum, the London Transport Museum, and DEGW.

This site will be used to publicise, discus and document the events.

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How do cities make the most of innovation?

The Future City keynote debate at the British Library this evening asks ‘Is London missing out on the potential of new technologies?’. The debates will examine London’s ability to take advantage of significant innovations in a way that improves the city for people. It will also consider London as a site of research and invention. And we will ask if we are distracted and dazzled by the short-term allure of shiny new technologies, and whether we have the ambition and vision to use innovation to transform the city.

On our panel are Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board; Dr Hermann Hauser, co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners; Dr Norman Lewis, chief innovation officer and managing partner at Open-Knowledge UK; Oliver Morton, Energy and Environment Editor for The Economist newspaper and author of Eating the Sun; and Adam Hart-Davis, writer and broadcaster.  Wired UK editor David Rowan will be in the chair.

Prior to the debate panelist Norman Lewis has written on his  Futures-Diagnosis blog about a ‘business culture that has become risk-averse and which is driven by short-term pragmatism and instrumentalism’, in a broader review of the report on US research and innovation ‘Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited’.

My fellow  BIG POTATOES manifesto co-author Alan Patrick has previewed his thoughts on Technology and Innovation in London on his broadstuff blog. He notes that innovative technology will only have impact if it can drive some form of arbitrage, that such economic  arbitrage is dynamic, that social vectors are needed to drive change, and that legal or regulatory barriers must be overcome. He concludes that:

London needs to be careful – there has been, and is, quite a lot of government funding being thrown at “technology innovation” projects right now, and here is a strong risk that they are hijacked by popular snake oil merchants rather than boring, useful and economically viable projects

In advice to our leaders notes he suggest that they ’make sure your advisory bodies are composed of the grumpies as well as those leading the New X charge’.

Panelist Iain Gray has also been posting Tweets on London’s innovative use of technology. His examples – which cover inventions as well as innovations – include ACIS freeflow road traffic management, Greenwich Council’s retrofit for future, the Inmarsat satellite network service, Thames Gateway for Sustainability, Wrightbus’s new bus for London, Regenology video streaming and web hosting, the Avanti Hylas broadband satellite, the Design Council Designing out Crime Hot Products, Kazoom multiplatform communications, We7 music streaming service, ixPocket mobile apps, MetaBroadcast video & audio services, The Royal Society with its 1400 distinguished Fellows, Wellcome Trust funding support, INCONSERV communications technology, UCL global research grand challenges, and PolyTherics -develop protein and peptide-based drugs.


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