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Guest blog: Let Bristol inspire your innovation

Glyn Blaize, Founder of Northstar Innovation Group, on the city’s vibrant tech community
9th March 2017

What does ‘innovation’ mean to you? Is it a symbol of creativity? Is it a sign of leadership? Is it a mark of quality?

Innovation is becoming one of the most popular buzzwords of the decade, where it surpasses the more traditional, “we offer a quality and professional approach”. Companies are bragging of their innovative approach without any real weight to back up their promises.

Although we may not all get innovation right the first time around, and often paint something else up to appear innovative, Bristol as a city has flourished over recent years to become an innovation-breeding capital.

“Bristol is a city that is an incubator of innovation in its own right”

 

It’s a city that is not only home to a number of great incubator projects but it is an incubator of innovation in its own right. A city where ideas generation is embedded into the foundations and flourishes with little effort. Isambard Kingdom Brunel is arguably one of the most famous Bristol-based visionaries, with many of his engineering feats at the bedrock of Bristol’s innovation hub.

Innovative people and places

Not only do beautiful buildings such as Engine Shed offer the prime location for technology businesses and start-ups alike, but they preserve the structural integrity of what makes Bristol great, whilst adding a modern twist. The space you work in is as equally important to innovation as the people you work with, and Engine Shed is just one great example.

Property consultancy, JLL, have recently expanded into a 15,000sq ft working environment that has been designed with innovation culture at heart. At Northstar, we have created an agile working environment that breeds innovation and this isn’t always from the physical environment but from the processes we put in place. There are hundreds of Bristol-based companies that are shaping their environment in such a way.

The city also has a fabulous community of thinkers, thought leaders, knowledge sharers, and is not something to be wasted. Websites such as Eventbrite, MeetUp.com and TechSPARK give people a cost-effective solution to connecting with a vibrant tech community.

Leading tech cluster

Together, Bristol and Bath were named one of the UK’s leading tech clusters in the most recent Tech Nation report. Less than a couple of hours from central London, why wouldn’t you set up somewhere where the rent is half the price but you can expand your business to the capital?

Bristol has even become one of the first cities to host undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. With the University of Bristol already one of the top universities in the country, it is more than likely it will become the breeding ground for a multitude of future leaders!

“An incredible 2,795 start-ups were launched in Bristol in 2016”

 

An incredible 2,795 start-ups were launched in Bristol in 2016, and I imagine this will continue to grow. Innovation-leading businesses continue their incredible journeys in Bristol; Just Eat, IBM, Hewlett Packard and Oracle. However, we must embrace this and build upon it by exposing the great opportunities at our fingertips.

The South West is continuing to grow at a stunning pace and many businesses are spilling out into up and coming areas such as St Phillips, Bedminster and more. I can’t wait to see what the next year holds for Bristol businesses but I can guarantee it will be game-changing.