Question Time takes on a whole new meaning in the first summit of its kind to explore what has to happen to boost future innovation and leadership across Cumbria.
Why is the county too often at the bottom of performance league tables, despite its massive energy presence, supply chains, state-of-the-art AI and robotic industries, manufacturing prowess and internationally renowned visitor economy?
Providing a platform to probe these and a plethora of issues, Cumbria Beyond 2025 is set to bring business owners, leaders, entrepreneurs, academics and decision makers together for a unique in-the-round gathering.
University of Cumbria and Cumbria Innovations Platform (CUSP II) event organisers promise there will be no ‘death by powerpoint’, speaker domination, but a level playing field aimed at creating conversation and sparking ideas.
CUSP II's Sarah Allison said it was well-known that some people found operating in the county a challenge because its sheer size, connectivity and transport complications, while others thrived in a landscape revered worldwide.
She added: “There are mixed opinions and rightly so. We wanted to share them in a very different sort of experience so we can consider what needs to be done in the future.
“We know we are living in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. Leaders are facing unprecedented demands and need to move at a fast pace, while also driving innovation and fostering resilience.
“How can Cumbria thrive and how do we help those in the driving seats? What needs to happen to support growth? What’s missing, how can we make this terrain work for us?
“The questions are as endless as they are vital if we want to properly address these matters and have a solid understanding of key factors impacting on business today, tomorrow and beyond.
“When we know and understand this, we can then work together to create an eco-system for collaboration towards shared goals.”
Ms Allison said the impact of Covid could not be ignored, adding for many it had signalled restarts, adaptations, even annihilation.
She explained: “Some people are hanging on by a thread, so this event is timely, especially with the current levelling-up agenda. Uniquely, we are putting delegates at the centre of the conversation to take stock, share experiences and talk futures.
“We want to hear everyone. It’s far removed from the loudest voices getting heard. Speakers from business and innovation backgrounds are there to trigger debate. This isn’t chalk and talk, but all-round conversation.”
Dr Steve Gibbs, from the university’s Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership said: "As we move from a structured world towards a fluid network society, transforming organisations into places that are empowered to build long-term profits through these networks is critical.”
The free event is being held at the Crown and Mitre Hotel, Carlisle, on November 10, from 9am to 3.30pm. There is a restriction on numbers and booking is essential on: