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Celebrating 115 Strong: Our Ecosystem Journey at SHIFT


Katrina Kilkenny, SHIFT’s innovation manager, celebrates the recent achievements of SHIFT’s ecosystem. 

Allow me to make a toast! We’re excited to announce a significant milestone in SHIFT’s history – we’re officially 115 Members strong. 

This achievement is more than just a number; it’s a testament to the vibrant and dynamic community we’ve collectively built in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as well as the many innovators who came before us. Each Member is a crucial part of our thriving ecosystem, propelling SHIFT forward and making a real difference in combatting the climate emergency, as well as promoting health & wellbeing, and improving mobility systems.

This milestone presents an amazing opportunity to reflect on the diverse tapestry of talent, innovation and collaboration that defines our growing network. It truly has become a melting pot of creativity and expertise. 

In November 2023, this ecosystem officially launched with an ambitious mission; to cultivate connections and ignite collaborations across sectors – startups, corporates, universities, community groups and policymakers – enriching connectivity not just within London but in cities around the world.  Together, we’re working towards a world where cities are good for people and planet. 

Innovation is too often a buzzword used to imply positive change. In reality, this isn’t always the case and there’s a significant difference between innovation and good innovation.  Particularly in urban settings, positive change is only achievable when we acknowledge that in most cases, solutions must be tailored to the unique and dynamic needs of each local environment and the people who live there.

To truly make a difference, we must recognise that innovation cannot happen in isolation. It requires a collaborative approach that spans diverse backgrounds and sectors. That is why innovation ecosystems, such as those cultivated by SHIFT, play a pivotal role. By bringing together individuals from different perspectives, we ensure that innovation doesn’t occur ‘behind closed doors’; that from its inception, it has the buy-in and support from the very people it is aimed to benefit. This collaborative approach is key to driving meaningful and sustainable change for the betterment of our cities and their inhabitants. 

Abdul Rahim, SHIFT’s Chief Innovation Officer reflects on the milestone; “We’re excited to be 115 strong, but for SHIFT, true innovation goes beyond numbers; it’s about weaving a web of connections, shared experiences, and collaborative projects. We want our ecosystem to be a catalyst for positive change, shaping the future of east London, London and cities worldwide. This is a moment to celebrate quality, not just quantity.” 

Each member of SHIFT brings a unique perspective and we are eager to harness their knowledge and experience in our future activities. The growth of our ecosystem is just beginning. Together, we’re laying the groundwork for what’s to come, ensuring that SHIFT continues to thrive.

We’d like to extend our sincere appreciation to all our Members, Partners and Stakeholders who have joined us on this journey towards cities that are good for people and the planet. Here’s to the next wave of innovators, the next 115 and the next 115 after that!  

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