Industrial strategies for secure livelihoods in East London

The Institute for Global Prosperity is leading the London Prosperity Board’s Industrial Strategies Community of Practice (CoP) - established in 2018 to act on the first wave of Prosperity Index data.

The CoP is addressing the question of economic policy and secure livelihoods in east London in the current context, and engaging with wider shifts in thinking about the economy.

For the last decades, many governments have mostly restricted themselves to fixing market failures, which means that the winners in markets determine the direction of the economy. The pressing challenges we face - from weak productivity growth to climate change - are leading people to ask if a more proactive approach is needed.

At the same time, artificial intelligence, automation and other technologies of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ are changing the nature of work. We have been used to ‘work’ meaning people earn their main income through a series of permanent jobs, usually in the same field. Often work has been an important source of identity and belonging.

As the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices has it “The labour market is changing, self-employment is rising, innovative forms of working are causing us to question established norms and how our current legislative framework fits with these developments.” It is clear that ‘work’ is changing in profound ways.

The CoP works on the assumption that any organisation that is affecting the structure of economic activity has an ‘industrial strategy’, even if they do not explicitly realise it. The London Prosperity Board’s CoP works by:

  • Employing locally-situated efforts to develop a practice of industrial strategy to deliberately shape economic transformation towards secure livelihoods for local prosperity. Crucially, this practice is place-based and people-centric, meaning bringing the local residents into development and implementation in a meaningful way.

  • Using the Prosperity Index for decision-making and evaluation, and share insights and learn from each other.

  • Trying out new initiatives and interventions that are based on Index data and new streams of research.

Programme for the coming years

The CoP will take forward an ambitious programme of research, shared learning and innovative pilots on the theme of Industrial Strategies for Secure Livelihoods over the next two years.

Secure livelihoods in the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’

London is one of many places in the industrialised world where precarious income and low-paid jobs are a challenge. It is widely believed that the nature of work and jobs are changing for many reasons, especially from disruption from technologies like Artificial Intelligence, automation and robots. This process has become known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (a term coined by the World Economic Forum).

The CoP is currently in the first two stages of addressing the question ‘how can we address the challenge of secure livelihoods during the Fourth Industrial Revolution in east London?’

Over the course of the next three years, we would want to proceed through the other stages through research, convening, designing and supporting participants in delivering, so that:

  • There are 2-5 initiatives delivered which are addressing the challenge.

  • There has been a measurable difference in secure livelihoods in east London.

  • Other parts of the UK, as well as parts of the world facing similar challenges, are wanting to learn from and transfer the initiatives (and IGP’s approach) to their situation.

  • Do this in a way that gives the people of east London an active voice and role in the process.

Enhancing impact so existing communities prosper

This strand of work will connect to the Prosperity and Inclusive Placemaking User Group of the LPB and will encompass efforts to engage businesses and foundations that target CSR, philanthropic and grant making activities in east London. This work will use the Prosperity Index to encourage data-driven strategies that can address the question of secure livelihoods and a stronger and more inclusive economy in east London.

Practice of ‘industrial strategies for secure livelihoods’

This strand of work will focus on running the quarterly CoP meetings in ways that provide members with a peer group where they can explore the issues they are facing, develop key questions, experiment and learn, with a view to continuously improving their overall decision-making and implementation approach.

Contact David Bent for further information d.bent@ucl.ac.uk