I’m not local but…

…everything happens somewhere, that’s geography. It’s hard to think of anything that doesn’t have an inherent x, y, or z value – and that includes the businesses that exist in our towns and cities throughout GB. So, with that in mind, I’m keen to raise awareness around the positive impact that location data can play in making Winchester a great place to do business.

To put this in context, I work for Geovation, Ordnance Survey’s (OS) open innovation initiative, in partnership with HMLR. We work with early stage start-ups, supporting business ideas that need property or location information to make them work. More of that in a bit.

Back to business in Winchester! It’s likely the city faces some unique challenges whilst it strives to be an attractive place to do business. However, there will also undoubtedly be commonalities with issues faced by many other towns and cities throughout GB. So, how can geo data be harnessed as an ingredient to making improvements? Can any lessons be learned from others use of geo data, as being a key ingredient to enabling positive change?

There are both traditional, and more advanced examples of how geo data has had positive impacts on business districts that I can draw from OS. OS location data can reveal the best place to open a new store as well as the type of customers you’re likely to get, and consumer buying habits, for example. By looking for patterns on a map, it’s much easier to make decisions about profitable site planning, resourcing, and logistics. You can read more about that here, including links to some of the datasets that are often used to provide such insights.

With over 225 years of experience, it’s possibly not surprising to hear that OS are also now pioneering Smart activity, helping cities and communities come to life all over the world. Examples include being a leading partner in City Verve, an IoT demonstrator project helping the people and businesses of Manchester realise some of benefits of IoT, through to championing advancements in getting autonomous vehicles up and running efficiently.

And so back to Geovation, OS’s open innovation initiative, now nearly ten years old. We help both new businesses start-up; and existing businesses scale-up, through the provision of support and resources. Since we opened the Geovation Hub back in 2015 – over 65 tech start-ups have been supported, spanning across ten market sectors, with over 90 jobs having been created as a result.

And it’s not just ideas/start-ups that are based in London who we’re supporting – it’s a national initiative, so our community is open to citizens and businesses throughout GB. One recent start-up we’ve supported (which draws on the WinchBiz theme) is a Blackpool-based company called OFFiGO – who are looking to bring the local high street together online, so businesses can be discovered locally by sharing daily offers, events and services with consumers. We always look to support businesses who have potential to scale, and it’s clear to see how this one could do just that.

Why not have a read though the ideas that entered our recent ‘Building Greener Smarter Communities and Cities’ Geovation Challenge, as there will undoubtedly be some crossover with the conversation and ideas being discussed at WinchBiz Unconference!

Could your idea – here at WinchBiz – be the next to be supported through Geovation? Come and speak to me either at the event or reach me @luke733 (twitter handle) – to learn more!