Challenging the norm for a smarter city

May 3, 2018

In our April Breakfast event we enjoyed hearing from 2 interesting and knowledgeable speakers.


First up was Kevin Doran, ex-history teacher turned economist who is now Chief Investment Officer for AJ Bell Investments and who has been a strong supporter of K-Club since its inception.

His talk focussed on business leaders challenging the ‘norm’ in their industry and he drew parallels with several sporting figures including the Jamaican bobsleigh team and racehorse owner Jeff Seder.  He asked the audience to take a critical look at what they do in their industry and to review those common perceived wisdoms.

Kevin also shared some of the innovations used within his business to encourage ideas, atmosphere and innovation.

K-Club Breakfast 19.4.18 - Speaker Kevin Doran


Next, we heard from Tim Griggs, Associate Director of Arup, a business who have been involved in the design of several iconic structures around the world, including the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, Waterloo Station, the Sydney Opera House and the Marina Bay Promenade in Singapore.

Talking on ‘Smart Cities’, Tim explained that their work comes through analysis of data, research and design, factoring in a huge amount of external influences.  History has shown that in the past, the development of a city has clearly been reactive to the needs of an area, and industry has had to work around poor planning decisions that don’t stand the test of time.  The world is changing, as is the way we use our cities and transport, and Manchester needs to plan now for the future.  We need to be better at using the data we have available, such as looking at the data on journeys taken daily on the M60, which can be used to develop and improve the roads and transport systems.

Cities thrive when innovation is encouraged – just look at the number of start-ups in the region – and in this world of ‘digital economy’ there are many jobs that have been automated.  In the future around 15 million jobs will have shifted and been taken over by data-driven services.  Tim reminded us, however, that it’s important to strike a balance of ‘people versus automation’ so that the people in our communities have something to do.

Our audience participated in the usual Q&A session before we closed yet another buzzing event.

K-Club Breakfast 19.4.18


To find out more about our past and upcoming speakers, please click here.