KTN's online platform helps you to make the connections you need

 

The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) has refreshed its online platform to intelligently connect you to relevant events, funding, thought pieces and specialist staff to help your business innovate and grow.

You can discover content using your area of interest, from Digital Creative to transport; from space to health – all major UK economic sectors are covered. Once you have selected your interests, using our intelligent tagging system, we will then display rich and relevant content related to your area, often from surprising sources.

An example might be new satellite technology from the space sector that is applicable in the agri-food sector. KTN-UK.co.uk will help you form these unusual and valuable connections.

All content on the platform has been carefully curated by our team of innovation specialists – not by an automated algorithm – so you can be confident that KTN is connecting you to the most relevant cutting-edge information.

 

The move also marks a closer alignment with our main funder, Innovate UK , with the website branding making a clear visual link. Knowledge Transfer Network is Innovate UK's innovation network partner, and also works with other funders to provide innovation networking services and fulfil our mission to drive UK growth.

We link new ideas and opportunities with expertise, markets and finance through our network of businesses, universities, funders and investors. From agri-food to autonomous systems and from energy to design, KTN combines expertise in all sectors with the ability to cross boundaries. Connecting with KTN can lead to potential partners, horizon-expanding events and innovation insights relevant to your needs.

Visit our people pages to connect directly with expertise in your sector.

Visit the KTN refreshed online platfom here

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Hyperlocal sustainability: you'll get more for £1k than you will for £50k

Next week, the 165 applicants, including myself, to NESTA's Destination Local project will find out if they have been successful. To my knowledge it's the first time a substantial amount of funding has been on offer to the hyperlocal sector, which still struggles with the question of sustainability. While welcome, the Destination Local project has highlighted a need for a more relaxed approach to stimulative investment in this nascent sector.

 

One reason for the rise of hyperlocal websites is the ease of publishing. Within minutes, anyone can become a publisher whether using social media like Facebook and Twitter or blogging platforms like WordPress and Tumblr. Certainly, technology is not a huge issue for hyperlocals looking to become sustainable.

 

In his Here and Now report, Damian Radcliffe spoke of the need to choose the right platform but said, "Increasingly, choosing the right platform is the easy part" and that "getting bogged down in which platform to choose can frequently distract you from some of the more important human considerations."

 

The Destination Local project correctly identified that the use of mobile technologies is on the rise. In focusing the criteria on using mobile technologies, however, NESTA have limited the benefit that such investment can have on individual hyperlocal sites, who do not tend to struggle with technology.

 

Many sites, such as Blog Preston, are already delivering their content to mobile devices with ease using services like Amazon's Kindle platform. HTML5 responsive design is being used by companies like Twitter and WordPress to deliver a mobile experience without the need to develop separate, native mobile apps and this is filtering down to services like WordPress.com and Tumblr which automatically provide a good mobile experience.

 

There is no doubt that some interesting services will come out of Destination Local but what independent hyperlocal websites - those who mostly operate on a volunteer basis with little to no funding - need is a leap of faith.

 

An injection of just £1,000 to a hyperlocal website could pay for equipment such as a smartphone or tablet computer to help with quality, mobile reporting. It could pay for training in media ad sales to provide the site owner with the skills necessary to generate much needed income. It could pay for recruiting volunteers to reduce the reliance on individuals, or go towards expenses so that volunteers are never out of pocket. It could help pay for insurance, against legal threats that many hyperlocals are understandably so very fearful of.

 

All of these things, though small, are issues that hyperlocal sites face on a daily basis and present barriers to sustainability. An injection of a small amount of cash that can be used to address these core issues will do far more for the longevitiy of the hyperlocal sector than a tranch of 'cool' new mobile apps.

 

Instead of offering £50k for a business plan that doesn't address the core issues of sustainability to people who often don't have business skills, let's give £1k to hyperlocal site owners and just see what happens.

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