Innovation: three new directions


* The latest of to-day’s co-working spaces take the Incubator to new dimensions (item 1 below).


* Experiments in longitudinal innovation in Nottingham add a Bootcamp to an Accelerator to an Incubator – in three different fields (item 2 below).


* The Cabinet Office’s three-year contracts to run Accelerators for social enterprises bring Accelerators in that field up to the scale of those of leading corporate innovators (item 3 below).

* And more below.


Applied Creativity

Briefings from

John Whatmore at

The Centre for Leadership in Creativity

May 2013


Join the discussions at



The latest co-working spaces: what makes them work?

Never has co-working been more popular: new style facilities are taking the incubator to new dimensions: they provide spaces, support and inspiration for the many aspiring entrepreneurs who are frantically seeking to fill emerging niches in a fast-changing world. (

 Join a Seminar at London South Bank University on 21 May about

        ‘Business Incubation and Universities: the latest trends’, where I shall

       be talking about Accelerators and their impact on innovation in academia.



Three different Nottingham Incubators to run snappy Bootcamps

Three-day Bootcamps to kick off Accelerators – one in IT, another in Cleantech and the third in Life Sciences will aim to help participants to develop their ideas for a business into a fundable proposal that might enable them to take space in an Incubator for developing their business.


       I shall be holding a Workshop for a small number of Leaders of

        Accelerators – to exchange experience (under Chatham House Rules)

       about  problems and opportunities – on Tuesday 9 July in Central London.

       If you would like to be a participant, please make contact with me now.

See also ‘Mini Accelerators go global. Tasters but all just a bit different’

(; EntrepreneurFirst, with its preliminaries to its Accelerator (; and Biocity – an incubator in Life Sciences in Nottingham ( See sequel Wednesday 15 May ‘Accelerators getting more choosy and more targeted’ at


In a Cabinet Office initiative, a charitable foundation collaborates with a major Corporate Accelerator in the development of social enterprises

One of the winners of a £10mn Cabinet Office initiative to support the next generation of social ventures, UnLtd, which has had considerable experience through its Big Venture Challenge of incubating such ventures, is collaborating with Telefonica’s Wayra Lab, which has the most experience of Accelerators of any corporate in the world, to work together to start up and grow new businesses to meet social needs. (

See also Bethnal Green Ventures, an Accelerator in social enterprises ( and The Young Foundation – with its programmes of support for SMEs in social enterprise (


The Royal College of Art’s Incubator wrestles with its own development         InnovationRCA, the RCA’s incubator, has ploughed a leading furrow among higher education establishments; and is contending with the issues that are raised by an incubator programme that runs in parallel to its academic programme, (which is a post-graduate programme), and that is also a part of the educational process. (

Business Learning in development programmes will become increasingly personalised

Business learning provisions are increasingly migrating to online, and for very good reasons; so business learning and business development programmes will need to include learning coaches/mentors. ( 


Financing start-ups: some current hiccoughs

* How do you structure funding for projects with very uncertain prospects?

* Early-stage investors not taking a long enough perspective?

* How do you manage the processes of funding more effectively?

* Grants as an alternative; but they have their strings.

* What is the logic of some recent very fancy prices for IT start-ups

(Instagram, Summly)



A Crowdfunding Platform for Emerging Social Entrepreneurs

A new crowdfunding initiative is set to help emerging social entrepreneurs quickly attract seed capital, build a supporter base and raise the profile of their social ventures internationally. (


The Centre for Leadership in Creativity (a ‘virus for creativity’) carries out research and provides con-

sultancy and peer-to-peer learning for organisations looking to enhance their creativity and innovation.


Copyright John Whatmore 2013

The Centre for Leadership in Creativity       138 Iffley Road,London W6 OPE           

Tel: 020 8748 2553                                                 E-mail:




Three different Nottingham Incubators to run snappy Bootcamps


Three-day Bootcamps to kick off Accelerators – one in IT, another in Cleantech and the third in Life Sciences will aim to help participants to develop their ideas for a business into a fundable proposal that might enable them to take space in an Incubator for developing their business.

A natural sequence for a budding entrepreneur with the opportunity for a hi-growth new business might be to kick off in a 3-7 day Bootcamp, followed by participation in a 3-9 month Accelerator programme, leading on to a period in an Incubator – a pathway being explored in Nottingham.

The three different incubators in Nottingham plan each to run Bootcamps, starting this summer – with supporting funding for two years from Nottingham City Council.

Biocity, the city’s well-established incubator in Life Sciences and healthcare has run Bootcamps for entrepreneurs with new businesses for several years. The one-year-old CleanTech Centre incubator, which specialises in recycling and green technologies, is running its fourth in May. And Biocity, Cleantech and Antenna, Nottingham’s incubator for Digital and web-based businesses are aiming to come together to run an Accelerator Programme later in the year, with Bootcamps as a kick-off.

Each is likely to have a different emphasis from the others: while all will deal with finance, IP and marketing, each field operates under a different regulatory regime, with different technologies, different markets and different business models. While Accelerators have attracted IT startups because of their low start-up costs, easy proto-typing and testing on customers, startups in other fields, most notoriously in Life Sciences, have a much longer and more arduous life cycle.

These low-cost, three-day Bootcamps, also supported with finance by local services and by industry, and economically hosted in local incubators, are a crash course for people up to a year before or after they start new businesses. They aim to help to develop an idea into a full-blown and marketable business concept and one that might find an appropriate place in an incubator.

For up to fifteen people, they combine workshops, exercises, and interaction; starting with a pitch, they also culminate in a Dragon’s Den-type session. The participants meet mentors, advisers and experts who have ‘done it before’ or seen it before, and there is a lot of ‘pointing where to go for help’.

Once incubatees have a fundable proposition, at Biocity they can then pitch for a further period of structured support – on a one-to-one basis for a fixed period of  6-9 months ( Their mentor provides guidance and challenge, offering different perspectives, getting the participants to challenge the market, to look for revenue sources, to make a business plan, and to iterate that plan; teaching about investors and shareholdings, helping them to pull together a package for potential investors, and to handle possible due diligence; and then possibly taking a board seat.


Evaluating processes for developing young businesses is virtually impossible – because there are so many elements involved in success or failure; and because it cannot be done until several years later. So signs and signals from experiments like these are the stuff of evolution – to be watched with great interest.