10th September – Next Gen Skills campaign member and innovation body NESTA today published a new “case for innovation-led growth” – called Plan I. This represents a major contribution to the debate around our future economy which Ukie members should be aware of.

Plan I sets out 12 recommendations for innovation in the UK, including a section on Education (recommendation 11). The concept of innovation is considered in a UK context, noting that the UK government has not invested in future innovation as much as it should do. The Plan aims to stimulate a debate, culminating in the publication of the Manifesto for a creative Economy in 2013.

Plan I seeks to define innovation in the context of emerging economic theory, the advent of the digital revolution and policy initiatives such as the Hargreaves Review of IP and Growth. It calls for a new approach to our infrastructure to be base around innovation as well a substantial investment in R&D.

Video games are mentioned a various points in the report, in relation to skills and problems identified with the growth of UK businesses. They are signalled out as a strength, but also as a part of the economy where value has been created as well as captured by foreign intermediaries.

Education

The report notes moves to incorporate Computer Science into the English Baccalaureate, and adds a number of specific recommendations:

- Britain has one of the largest education sectors in the world. There should be more use of technology to improve the effectiveness of education, giving pupils and teachers new opportunities to interact and learn online. NESTA proposes an ‘NHS-style commissioning process’ across the UK to develop a platform where persistent learning challenges are posted to an open group of suppliers who are incentivised to respond. NESTA also proposes to stimulate collaboration in areas which can deliver high-returns for learning, for example in partnership with the games industry, with ‘challenge’-style prizes for firms and educators.

- Young people’s education should be stimulated by the experience of making digital products, not just using them. Making digital things involves the application of principles learnt in the classroom, this can be achieved by implementing the Next Gen recommendations and transforming understanding of the digital world by a re-booted BBC-style Computer Literacy movement, similar to the one in the 1980s. Recognising the importance of formal and informal learning, a system of ‘digital badges’ should be created and integrated into the education system.

Responding to the recommendations, Next Gen Skills said:

“We welcome NESTA’s push to place innovation centre stage in UK economic policy. Key to this is innovation in our schools, with pupils taught Computer science from an early age, and much more collaborative learning through the use of technology and online resources.”