Dr Paul Smith and Dr Michael Pierre Johnson from the Innovation School have been successfully awarded funding as part of a brand-new pilot design exchange partnership scheme from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, in partnership with the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and the Design Museum.

A group of nature-based businesses and social enterprises has been launched by Good Ideas and Glasgow City Council’s H2020 Connecting Nature project Nature-Based Accelerator programme in September 2021. The Value of Nature-based Enterprise will support their ongoing development, their evaluative and strategic skillsets and build a collaborative enterprise ecosystem that enables them to continue to thrive, delivering social and environmental impact forGlasgow together than they could on their own.

 This design exchange partnership will do this with the Centre for Civic Innovation(CCI) within Glasgow City Council by co-designing mapping methods to frame and capture social, economic and environmental impacts for each nature-based enterprise. The vision is to develop this emerging sustainable enterprise co-system into a strategic local micro cluster by building individual and collective sustainable development strategies, inclusive of dialogue between new-start enterprises, sustainability expertise and local urban planners from the start.

 The project will be highly innovative in how it develops rigorous, novel methods to map and model sustainable growth for each nature-based enterprise in relation to their wider eco-systems of operation. In addition, collectively, the mapping of each supported nature-based enterprise will also feed into an innovative collaborative process of mapping and co-evaluatingGlasgow’s nature-based enterprise eco-system, as a whole. This aims to establish an ongoing process of design-led developmental evaluation that builds lasting relationships and shared understanding of sustainable development challenges across Glasgow that can only be addressed collaboratively.Well-designed evaluation should focus on learning and feed into policy and delivery improvement.

 The Centre for Civic Innovation (CCI) at Glasgow CityCouncil and the Innovation School at The Glasgow School of Art produced this joint commitment statement as part of their successful funding bid:

 “[We] are delighted to provide a partnership commitment for this exciting partnership proposal to support the development of newly launched nature-based enterprises and facilitate a collective ecosystem that enables them to thrive and deliver more social and environmental impacts.

 At CCI, we see this partnership and process as greatly contributing to the evidence-base that will be used to make the strongest arguments to decision-makers and budget holders to build on the Nature-BasedAccelerator pilot as fundamental to delivering GCC’s recently adopted environmental open space strategy. Our vision is for a socially innovative city where design and innovation skills are the cornerstone of our local and global communities. As such, we recognise the benefits and challenges of evidencing social, cultural, environmental, as well as economic impact for the benefit of people in local businesses and communities at a micro scale. Particularly, the proposed developmental evaluation programme would support our capacity to create an ecosystem where the city’s creative minds come together and focus on solving the challenges that face our citizens.

 At GSA Innovation School, we are committed to developing research and impact on design-led innovation that can contribute to sustainable environments and net zero targets, grounded in participatory and developmental processes. We see this partnership with CCI as a long-term opportunity to develop sustainability leadership in Glasgow, not just as institutions, but in partnership with local communities and entrepreneurs. The associate, DrJohnson, is an experienced early-career design researcher in leading ‘cluster-level’ development activities and we will fully support his professional, research and leadership development to address challenges of environmental sustainability, while embedded in local partnerships.”

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