Article and TechRevolution

Conclusions and Overall Transfer Potential

This transferability study has explored in detail the Barnsley Good Practice and the policy context within which it sits along with success factors, lessons learnt and scope for improvement. It has presented a snapshot of the 6 Transfer Partners and explored their motivations for wanting to transfer the good practice along with challenges and barriers. It has set out a proposed methodology and workplan for the transfer phase along with some options for outputs to document and disseminate key learning.

The extent to which successful and material transfer will actually happen is now dependent on the energy and commitment of partners, city stakeholders and the core project team. Whatever happens it is clear that none of the transfer partners will be able to transfer each and every element of the good practice within the duration of the URBACT funded Transfer Network.

The scale and complexity of the good practice as a whole means that this is not possible. Instead, most of the transfer activity will focus on development of the ‘softer infrastructure’ – the foundations from which cities can go on to grow a successful digital economy and ecosystem. Indeed, this is probably more important, and in the long term more impactful and sustainable, than simply adopting the ‘build it and they will come’ approach’ much maligned in EU institutions.

In these fast-moving times where cities of all sizes need to better understand the opportunities offered by digital and tech and jump on them to grow higher value jobs and start-ups for local people, it is more important than ever to pool resources and learn from each other.

In Europe’s small and medium sized cities, the challenge is greater. These places are at risk of being ‘eaten up’ by their larger counterparts which act as magnets and naturally attract clusters of higher growth businesses. They are also home to industries often most prone to automation and machine learning advancement, which will inevitably mean rapidly changing economic and skills requirements.

It is hoped that TechRevolution will provide a safe, constructive, fun and honest space in which to have difficult conversations and structured exchanges about what is actually realistic and achievable in cities like these. Small and medium sized cities need to think differently about their future.

They need to dare to dream, to take informed risks, to be more agile and believe in the art of the possible.