Bringing Business' together

Who, what, how, when, why interview


Dr Liz O’Driscoll, Managing Director, Exeter City Futures CIC


Liz leads Exeter City Futures (ECF), a shared city organisation bringing together some of the largest employers in the City - Exeter City Council, Devon County Council, Exeter College, the University of Exeter, Global City Futures and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust - alongside a wide range of business and community partners. Exeter City Futures works to identify and implement programmes of social innovation and investment focused on sustainable outcomes. ECF's goals are directly linked to the UN sustainable development goals of no poverty, health, clean energy, decent work and growth, reduced inequality, cities and communities, and sustainable consumption and production (SDGs 1, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 respectively).


Liz knows Exeter will only be able to achieve its carbon neutral ambitions if organisations and individuals work in partnership together. Trust, cohesion and a culture of sharing - priorities, data, and knowledge - are key drivers of successful and enduring change. The development of Exeter City Futures considers the city as a large and complex organisation.

Inspiring individuals and organisations to commit to delivering a shared vision is the first step. Ensuring that the benefits of this change are widely understood and align to individual values was a key factor in securing membership of the Board as well as the commitment of community and business partners. Liz initially assumed that if we worked together to identify clear challenges, innovators would respond - but that did not happen. To address this, Liz established Exeter Velocities in December 2017 with a mission to accelerate development of commercial and social enterprise who are responding to the most pressing global environmental and social challenges that contribute to the creation of a vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive Exeter.


Liz led the launch of Exeter City Futures in February 2016.


Community, sustainability, collaboration - all values that are close to Liz’s heart. Her expertise was perfectly formed to lead the push to transform Exeter into a sustainable, carbon neutral city. Cities have a responsibility to address the challenge of climate change through decisive implementation of new policies and through embracing programmes of investment and innovation. As more people wake up to the reality that climate change is going to directly impact each and every one of us, Liz knows that any truly transformational change will require action from everyone, and inevitably lifestyle and business choices will need to be made that will affect us all. Long term sustainable change will only be achieved by considering new models of governance and engagement to ensure that the widest possible set of people.


Exeter, United Kingdom


Environmental, Local Government