Kate Cooper

Kate_March2016I’m the woman who started The New Optimists . . . for that story see here, and for why I’ve done what I’ve done, see here.

The rest of this page is something about who I am.

I came to Birmingham as a student in the late 60s and, although I’ve worked all over the place, I’ve always had my home here and brought up a couple of now-adult kids here. Both of them are now parents themselves and, yes, all those cliches about how wonderful it is to be a grandparent are true, at least in my experience. Four infants are now at the centre of my life though, thankfully, not the everyday centre of my personal living space.

I’ve worked in the EU, the United States, Hong Kong, Malaysia and South Africa as well as the UK advising blue chip companies on how to foster innovation and enable effective communication since the early-1980s. I am also an experienced facilitator.

I held a Senior Fellowship (1998-2000) and then Associate Fellowship (2000-05) at the Warwick Manufacturing Group where I was subject leader for innovation. From 2007-08, I was interim Secretary to the modern-day Lunar Society.

One of the spin-offs of the Birmingham Scenarios Project is the Birmingham Food Council, which Birmingham Public Health asked me to set up, and I now chair. It’s a CIC, incorporated in March 2014, and does great stuff.

Since 2006, I have been a Trustee of Lench’s Trust, an almshouse charity founded in 1525, one of the oldest charitable organisations in Birmingham, and was Bailiff (i.e. Chair of the Board of Trustees) 2011-13. After 10 very happy years there, I left the Board in April 2016.

In the noughties, I was instrumental in instigating the Alan Turing Institute, now CICADA and helping the University of Manchester get their £3M initial funding. My unique contribution is to bring together academics — here mathematicians, engineers and computer scientists with industrialists and enable them to see fertile common ground.
(Photo of the Pi in the Sky cafe, Turing Building at the University of Manchester reproduced here with kind permission of Professor Nick Higham FRS.)


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