A new book outlining 50 innovations to boost the British economy was launched today (1 July) at Westminster by the network for co-operative businesses, Co-operatives UK.
Based on three years of research, The Co-operative Advantage analyses growth sectors around which economic co-operation has an edge and a fit that offers a competitive advantage. The 50 innovations dovetail with emerging trends in technology and markets - and the total economic value of the sectors examined add up to 61 per cent of overall GDP and account for 64 per cent of total employment in the UK.
The innovations range from social co-operatives, where staff and users run care services together, to data co-ops giving people control over data about them and a freelancers’ union for the growing numbers of self-employed people.
Ed Mayo, the editor or the multi-authored book and secretary general of Co-operatives UK, said: “Britain needs to nurture a new approach for economic success. A vital ingredient will be harnessing current innovation trends that encourage a far stronger dose of economic collaboration. Many of the world’s most successful firms are achieving results by embracing collaboration – creating informal networks, harnessing customers’ ideas, empowering their employees.
"In an innovation economy, where knowledge is the new currency, businesses must co-operate to compete. The co-operative advantage is realised by giving the people involved in a business – the employees, the customers, the suppliers – a stake in it. Their participation has a triple effect, boosting innovation, productivity and entrepreneurship.”
The Co-operative Advantage has been described by Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, as “a very substantial, impressive book” and Lucy Siegle of The Observer says “Ed Mayo has played a leading role in almost every environmental and ethical business initiative over the last two decades.”