Novel Ideas to Tackle a Seaside Resort's Challenges

Published Aug-21-16

Breakthrough:
Citizens in the UK propose bold and creative ways for a city council to save money.

Company:
Brighton and Hove City Council, United Kingdom

The Story:

Novel Ideas to Tackle a Seaside Resort's Challenges Through open innovation projects, citizens can make a big difference to their towns, cities, villages and neighborhoods.

Governments tap into a citizenry's collective intelligence to tackle problems that may be too big for them to solve on their own. This gives members of the public a greater say in what goes on in their countries. At a more local level, crowd initiatives provide people with a forum to put forward ideas to improve their communities.

The City Innovation Challenge

Faced by funding cuts for local services, the leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Counsellor Warren Morgan asked residents for innovative ideas on how the council could bring in new revenue to fund services as well as invest in the city and its communities.

Between 2016 and 2019, the council has to make £68 million (approximately USD $87 million) of savings. That's a big whole in Brighton and Hove's finances.

The open innovation initiative was split into five categories according to who was submitting the ideas. The categories were: individuals, young people, council staff, businesses and the community and voluntary sector.

More than 150 ideas were submitted and judged by a panel that included the leader and chief executive of Brighton and Hove City Council. Ideas were assessed for their practicality, the impact they could make and whether they were an innovative concept not currently a part of the council’s plans.

"The City Innovation Challenge was in itself an innovative and new approach to harnessing the talent and imagination in Brighton and Hove, aiming to bring together the best minds in the city to tackle the immense challenges and opportunities we face," said Counsellor Morgan.

And the winners were…

The young person award went to Josh White, 16 for an idea to create an online platform for young people in the city to share ideas and promote events.

The winner of the individual category was Vic Stevens for an idea for awards to recognise responsible HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) landlords.

The community and voluntary sector award was given to Rhian White, the founder of a Facebook group called Dogwatch that campaigns against cuts to the council’s animal welfare team and plans to help the council with its animal welfare work.

The council staff award was presented to Peter Huntbach, the older people's housing manager. He suggested a 'give' button for the council’s website, allowing residents to donate money, time and/or resources.

Emily O'Brien was the winner of the business award for an idea that would see libraries and community spaces used as new market places.

Each winner received a check for $1,000.

The Future

At the time of the awards ceremony in April 2016, there was no official word on whether the winning concepts would be adopted by the council. But previously, the local authority stated that it may use any of the ideas submitted to the contest, and it urged residents to keep on innovating.

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