Innovation in East London: Tech City Map

TECH CITY, is an entrepreneurial cluster which has has grown up around Shoreditch and Old Street in East London, extending to reach the Olympic Park in Stratford.

The Innovator’s Dilemma (Management of Innovation and Change)

Tech City Profile

It comprises start-ups, multinationals, academia and venture capitalists. A number of big players (Cisco, LinkedIn, McKinsey, Imperial Innovations and Atos) have ‘presence’ and are actively working on various innovation and business development initiatives therein.

Profile of the Tech City Innovation Cluster

Figure 1 – Profile of the Tech City Cluster

The cluster is essentially ‘organic’ (i.e. not specifically engineered around academia, as was largely the case with the Cambridge cluster). There has been assistance from central government, but much of the entrepreneurial success pre-dates this involvement.

Tech City Map (Figure 2 below) is a ‘window’ on the interaction between companies within the cluster. A high-level analysis of the map and interactions between participants leads to a number of conclusions about the cluster’s make up (Figure 1). It is safe to say it is significantly heterogeneous. There are a number of primary participant groups:

  1. Creatives and design companies – the vanguard of Silicon Roundabout?
  2. Hybrid businesses – creatives combining design, PR, web tech and promotions
  3. Social enterprises – not for profits etc.
  4. Academia – e.g. the Digital Media Innovation Centre at London Metropolitan
  5. Traditional businesses providing core services (legal, accounting, business support etc.)
  6. Financial services and Fintec – in niche segments and through the City of London and investors such as Barclays
  7. Shared service providers – an interesting function supplying ‘economies of scale’ within the cluster for certain commodity functions (printing etc.)
  8. Physical and virtual spaces – e.g. The Trampery, The Cube and portals such as Space Projects
  9. Founding Partners of Tech City map – Thomson Reuters, Cisco, Atos, LinkedIn, Playgen and social analytics specialists, Trampoline Systems
  10. Digital media companies are pervasive (across video, animation, music, games, and mobile tech)
  11. Meet ups, and ‘drink ups’ are popular and a small industry has ‘sprouted up’ aimed at ‘entertaining the cluster’ and offline networking
  12. Consulting companies and journalists are present in smaller numbers

Innovator’s Solution, Revised and Expanded: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth

As I watch conversations flow across Twitter’s wires on the Tech City Map I’m intrigued to better understand:

  • Is the map widely used by those within the cluster?
  • Are the links and conversations which the map ‘surfaces’ representative of the ‘real’ connections and conversations between companies?
  • Given the physical ‘intimacy’ of the cluster, what are the value relationships in both online and offline networking.

Tech City Map

Figure 2 – Tech City Map – The social graph of Digital Shoreditch

Further Reading on Tech Hubs