Manchester Digital Laboratory (MadLab)
Topic of the practice
incubation space; digital and creative innovation
Good Practice Information
MadLab is an incubation space for Manchester’s growing grassroots digital and creative community. MadLab, is a not-for-profit, social enterprise supporting digital and creative innovation by providing a home for these communities in the centre of Manchester. MadLab, provides an opportunity for the city-region’s commercial and non-commercial organisations direct access to the hidden talents of Manchester and region’s pool of young leaders and social entrepreneurs.
MadLab originated out of a growing need identified by Manchester’s self-defining digital and creative community. With the support of MDDA, MadLab now supports a range of community and voluntary sector programmes through provision of facilitated training and specialist events. Additionally, MadLab provides an ‘autonomous research and development space’ (Hack-space) for networks, from public and private sector, to collaborate and potentially launch innovation into the public domain – improving citizens life within the city-region and beyond.
By providing a safe, secure and structured environment to establish themselves these communities are then able to support the city‘s third sector by providing skills training for marginalised communities.
Evidence of success
MadLab, is an example of how a need identified by the community, can be satisfied through collaborative working and appropriate intervention by the local authority. Through the provision of timely and measured guidance, MadLab demonstrates how the innovative use of existing and new ICT processes, tools and practices has established it as ‘the home for digital innovators of tomorrow, in a place the city REALLY needs.’ The main indicator of success is the significant growth in the number of users of the Lab - there are now more than 50 different organisations associated with the initiative. In the past year there have been 35 active usergroups meeting on a monthly basis, 11 workshops and 9 exhibitions, festivals and other events held. This is matched by a growing online presence with 25,519 absolute unique website visits (an average of 3 minutes on the site) plus some 60,000 Flickr views and nearly 3,500 Twitter followers.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Pukul Rana Dave Carter
Annex completed on: 04-12-2011