London has become synonymous with innovation, especially in the decade following the 2008 crash, which arguably marked the beginning of the city’s upward trajectory in tech. Buoyed by support from political, financial and academic institutions, it has cemented its position as one of the world’s biggest and best tech cities.
Though London’s tech scene has evolved considerably since its early days – it retains its buzz. A truly collaborative spirit exists in the capital, bolstered by the rise in co-working spaces, accelerators, WhatsApp groups, meet-ups, and more.
Today, the city’s tech sector accounts for a £64.11bn turnover from 51,690 businesses and 263,000 employees according to the 2019 Tech Nation report.
For all that, public services aren’t benefiting fully from the tech and digital solutions being developed here. Historically, public and private sectors have been at odds with each other, each innovating separately. With the Government setting ambitious targets for the UK’s position in the artificial intelligence and the data revolution – and public servants expecting the modernisation they’ve experienced as consumers – this can no longer continue to be the case.
Now, the public sector is actively starting to look for partnership opportunities. This marks a significant shift. We are no longer seeing ‘disruptors’ out to impose their ideas onto cities come what may. Instead, we are in a more exciting period of ‘constructive’ tech, with innovators actively seeking to work with city officials to make beneficial impact.