8 key trends to be on the look out for in the future
THANK YOU TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS
We're pretty clued up about the science park industry, but we wouldn't be able to properly forecast the future of the sector without help from some of the industry pros who are getting stuck in every single day.
A huge thank you to the following contributors
In the mood for a science park case study instead of an industry forecast?
Pryderi ap Rhisiart
Managing Director @ M-SParc
Operations Manager @ Liverpool Science Park
Marketing and Customer Experience Officer @ M-SParc
1. BEING PREPARED
In 2017, the British Government committed to a significant spending uplift for the science park industry which has, for the most part, continued to be delivered. Additionally, in studies by CaSE and the Government, it was revealed that investments into the science park industry had a direct correlation to the national investment with every £1 put into the sector generating 20p for the national investment.
Regardless of the economic significance the science park sector is having on the national investment, the so far unknown implications of Brexit are disrupting the political landscape to such a degree that spending promises made in 2017 can no longer be considered absolute. It is now vital to ensure that your workspace business is future-proofed financially and amenity-wise so that it’s equipped to accommodate a wide range of tenant needs and prepared for any political outcomes.
2. MATCHING EVOLVING NEEDS
Meeting occupier needs is paramount to creating an innovation-centric environment, but over the past few years, occupier needs have begun to develop and vary drastically. As a result, science park operators are struggling to keep up with their member’s increasingly complex and demanding needs.
To ensure the continuing success of your science park, it is now imperative to ensure that your operation is sufficiently prepared both from a technology and amenity standpoint to cater to the growing range of occupier needs. Through working with an experienced and enterprise-grade technology provider, operators are better positioned to deliver on customer needs. Simple and easy service delivery are essential for an excellent member experience. Offering customers access to an on-demand marketplace of products and services empowers occupiers to self-serve based on their individual business needs. Delivering this level of experience allows operators to stay competitive by offering a tailored suite of services while driving more value to their customers.
3. THE HUMAN ELEMENT
The subject of wellbeing in the workplace has come into increasing focus around the world in recent years, with countless studies highlighting the correlation between job satisfaction and business success. Much of this has been linked not just to job roles and salaries, but to flexible working, the quality and design of spaces within the workplace and also access to activities that promote wellbeing and a healthy work-life balance.
Liverpool Science Park have adeptly honed in on their member’s wellbeing through clever building designs that are not just beautiful, but also focused around wellness. They are prioritizing occupier needs with sufficient break out spaces, optimal use of natural lighting and additional amenities and perks such as fitness classes, visits from food stalls and a local independent artisanal product market.
4. TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
With the sector becoming increasingly both competitive and collaborative, the need for powerful and smarter technology is more intrinsic than ever to science park and innovation hub business strategies.
There is a new wave of occupier soon joining the workforce: Generation Z. They are innately in tune with technology and have expectations that exceed what a selection of science parks are currently capable of delivering. By implementing mission-critical infrastructure and software now, the sector has a key opportunity to enable this new workforce to be the forerunners of a completely connected, digital and collaborative innovation community.
With software-enabled platforms such as Connect and Operate by essensys, and the Gigabit Voucher Scheme run by the Government which is a strategic initiative of increasing fibre coverage and infrastructure across the UK, science parks operators are better positioned to future proof their business and provide an excellent member experience for both current and future occupiers.
5. SECURITY & RESILIENCE
With network, reliability and security becoming an integral factor for startups and SMEs choosing a workspace, operators are increasingly focused on ensuring that their IT security and compliance requirements are at the highest industry standard. Operators across the nation are expecting this trend to continue to rise over the coming year with the sector facing a fast-moving political landscape which can affect security and digital legislation in a short space of time. Ensuring that your business data and that of your occupiers is safely stored and managed is critical.
With occupier needs becoming more demanding when it comes to cyber security, implementing a technology solution that is backed by private and secure network and cloud infrastructure can be a deal closer for prospective customers.
6. BOON OF REMOTE INNOVATION
With marked improvements to technology, connectivity and infrastructure, science parks based in remote locations are fast becoming as amenity-rich as their city-based counterparts and are turning their remote location into a powerful USP. Through utilizing the community and lifestyle aspects of their locations, operators such as Menai Science Park in North Wales have been able to create a powerful connection between their site, their surrounding location and their occupiers, leading to a sharp upturn of engaged members and let rates far surpassing their initial projections.
With a vast range of skillsets in remote locations, it is becoming imperative for science parks to both aid in skill development and job creation to ensure that high level employment opportunities are prevalent across the nation, ensuring that a collaborative innovation community will be able to drive the economy forward.
7. THE COMMUNITY ELEMENT
Community is going to be a key factor on the sector’s mind over the next twelve months with Science Parks increasingly seeing their role as providers of STEM-focused events for children and older generations. Science parks such as M-SParc are already leading the way with regular coding and learning clubs for children, as well as coding and IoT clubs for adults. Combined with local events further empowering a sense of community all taking place within their flagship building, M-SParc has developed community as a focal aspect of their growth and innovation strategy.
The community aspect within the science park industry is at a stage where it can begin to drive innovation and collaboration throughout the country, chiefly when operators unify communities across different sites. Operators are leveraging enterprise-grade software and technologies to integrate the physical and digital environments across their entire portfolio, offering a wider network and community, and better experience for their members.
8. CITY LED REJUVENATION
To support the growth of new innovative businesses across the country, there has been a marked increase in unity between operators, investors and research leaders that is underpinning an enhanced collaboration strategy leading to the creation of new ‘innovation nodes’ in rejuvenated city sectors.
This trend is expected to continue over the next twelve months, with sites in newly renovated city spaces working in greater collaboration with science parks in neighboring cities or in remote locations as a completely connected innovation community drives the science park industry and in turn, the economy forward.
That's a wrap. What's next?
How about our science park case study with BioCity?
We reveal how technology is helping to drive and foster innovation at the UK's largest life science incubation hub.