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The Ecology of Innovation - Citizen Power Peterborough

The Ecology of Innovation - Citizen Power Peterborough

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Published by The RSA
The Sustainable Citizenship project is one strand of the RSA’s Citizen Power programme in Peterborough; a strategic partnership between Peterborough City Council, the Arts Council and the RSA to explore and revive notions of place and identity at a local level and investigate ways of strengthening civic society in Peterborough. The Sustainable Citizenship project contributes towards Peterborough’s existing environmental activity by cultivating a broader civic commitment to environmental activism that spreads throughout the city.
The Sustainable Citizenship project is one strand of the RSA’s Citizen Power programme in Peterborough; a strategic partnership between Peterborough City Council, the Arts Council and the RSA to explore and revive notions of place and identity at a local level and investigate ways of strengthening civic society in Peterborough. The Sustainable Citizenship project contributes towards Peterborough’s existing environmental activity by cultivating a broader civic commitment to environmental activism that spreads throughout the city.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: The RSA on Dec 20, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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The ecology of InnovaTIon
 
B K MctDmb 2010
 
2
 The ecology of InnovaTIon
TaBle of conTenTs
16
aBouT The auThor
Kerry McCarthy supports the development of public services, social enterprisesand social innovation, with a focus on learning and evaluation. Previously, asHead of Learning for NESTA’s Public Services Innovation Lab she workedwith projects to develop policy messages and practical learning. Herbackground is in criminal justice, as a researcher and practitioner, andshe sits on the editorial board of the Probation Journal for Communityand Criminal Justice.
acKnowleDgeMenTs
A draft of this paper was presented during a seminar at the RSA earlierthis year. We are grateful to all those that attended and gave suggestionsthat subsequently improved it: Alison Prendeville, Andrew Nathan,Christopher Exeter, Corinne Cordes, David Fell, Ed Gillespie, EmilyCampbell, Emma Barrett, Emma Ridgway, Jamie Burdett, Julie Rivett,Kate McGeevor, Layla Davidson, Lorraine Whitmarsh, Mark Williamson,Matthew Taylor, Michael Coughlin, Michael Hallsworth, Rachel Huxley,Rebecca Kemp, Robbie Craig, Rory Sutherland and Sam McLean.
RSA Projects
put enlightened thinking towork in practical ways. We aim to discover and release untapped human potential for the common good. By researching,designing and testing new social models,we encourage a more inventive, resourcefuland fullled society.
 
Citizen Power Peterborough
is a programmeof action bringing local people together toshape the future of Peterborough. Throughits projects, Citizen Power is establishing theconditions for people to individually and collectively improve attachment betweenpeople, participation in community activityand innovation in public services in the city.The RSA, Peterborough City Council and  Arts Council England have come together to make this happen.
 
3
 The ecology of InnovaTIon
preface
There is a gap between the kind of society we say we want to live in, andthe kind of society we do live in, based on our current ways of thinkingand doing things. This is what Matthew Taylor has called the ‘socialaspiration gap’. This is the argument at the heart of the Royal Society of Arts’ (RSA) contemporary mission. The RSA contends that to overcomethis gap, we — the citizens — need to become more innovative andresilient but also more engaged, resourceful and pro-social in ourcommunities and society at large. Only by doing this will we be betterplaced to tackle some of the most seemingly intractable social challengesfacing us today, including the need for more environmentally sustainablelifestyles.The RSA’s commitment to ‘enhanced citizenship’
I
and the potentiallytransformative impact of citizen-led change on social and environmentaloutcomes, chimes with the wider policy context. The Coalition governmenthas put the ‘Big Society’ at the heart of their vision for the country. This isa vision of devolved power from Whitehall to communities andneighbourhoods, with the public invited to take on a more signicant role inservice planning and provision, and the encouragement of social innovationto meet challenges and change. For the government, the budget decitprovides an added imperative for increased citizen involvement. When facing £6.2 billion worth of public spending cuts (£780 million of which will befrom the Department for Communities and Local Government budget),places which have capable and innovative citizens are more likely to adaptto new conditions of instability, uncertainty and reduced provision.In 2009, Peterborough City Council and the Arts Council approached theRSA about the possibility of designing and implementing a city-wideprogramme of civic renewal. This was an opportunity to put some of ourideas about citizenship, power and community into action and providemuch needed learning on what the Big Society could look like in practice.The emergent project —
Citizen Power Peterborough
— comprises a seriesof interventions that promote attachment, participation and innovationamongst residents of the city. One intervention aims to create theconditions in which Peterborough’s citizens can contribute to the city’sburgeoning reputation for environmental innovation. The
SustainableCitizenship
project — as it has been named — aims to make environmentalinnovation commonplace among citizens and communities, and contributeto Peterborough’s reputation as a centre for environmental sustainability.There are many places that would benet from 'enhanced citizenship'and environmental innovation, so why is Peterborough a good locationfor this work? Peterborough has a strong reputation for green andenvironmental industry and action. It already has ‘Environment City’status (designated by a group of environmental NGOs) along withLeicester, Leeds and Middlesbrough, but has an aspiration to become theEnvironment Capital of the UK. It is also home to a diverse cluster of environmental technology businesses which create everything from morefuel-eªcient vehicles to sustainable building materials.Alongside commercial and public sector activity, Peterborough hasdynamic charitable and community initiatives, notably those created byPeterborough Environment City Trust, such as this year's
Forest for Peterborough
project. Rooting the city’s identity as a champion of the naturalenvironment is an issue about which residents feel strongly: a recent Placesurvey shows that 63% of local residents agree that they can personallyhelp to limit the e¤ects of climate change.
ITaylor,M.2010
T fi’ t ti
The Sustainable Citizenship project aims to makeenvironmental innovationcommonplace among citizensand communities, and contributeto Peterborough’s reputationas a centre for environmentalsustainability.

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