Catherine Makin

Responsible innovation in the smart city: Developing commitments for digital inclusion

Bristol City Council’s City Innovation Team are working to develop a set of commitments or principles which aim to ensure that people across Bristol can become involved with digital developments in different and relevant ways. We want Bristol to become digitally well-connected and data-enabled. Our focus is to use technology for public good. We want communities to influence how technology is used in the city, become more connected and be included in the social and economic benefits brought by digital technology.

We need to adopt an ethos of responsible innovation to keep sight of the ethical, societal and regulatory challenges of smart cities. Our commitments will seek to embed ethical data practices and equitable use of technologies, alongside digital inclusion, skills and community engagement.

This short talk will share our progress and learning to date, offer insight into the process and where inspiration has been drawn from, and (hopefully) provide tips for other cities looking to do the same.


Catherine Makin is leading Bristol City Council’s City Innovation Team’s work on digital inclusion. As technology becomes increasingly prevalent in all aspects of modern life, digital inclusion alongside ethical and responsible smart city design and development will help make sure Bristol is a liveable, sustainable and prosperous city for everyone.

Catherine has previously delivered challenge-led innovation projects, working in partnership with the Department of Health, NHS, local authorities and communities to design and test solutions. Before joining Bristol City Council, Catherine was a social enterprise business advisor supporting social businesses to raise investment and deliver social impact at scale.

A Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellow (Entrepreneurship 2017), Catherine’s Fellowship explored factors effecting innovation and entrepreneurialism within city governments. Catherine holds a degree in Anthropology from Durham University.