‘Because life begins at 60’: Clive Dutton goes solo
Former Birmingham and Newham regeneration guru Clive Dutton discusses retirement and setting up a solo consultancy
Why are you launching a consultancy? Because life begins at 60. I want new challenges and it’s time to step up again. The timing is good. The biggest kick I get is making projects move from concept to inevitability. To reach a point where commitment is beyond the point of no return. That it may then take years to build something is not the point. Others can and will take the credit once the last rivet is driven in. That’s fine and my loved ones will know that, back in the day, I was amongst those that made it happen.
What services will the consultancy provide? It will be an open door for collaboration with like-minded people involved in projects that will make a difference. I have a great list of contacts, so there will be opportunities to draw into a wider pool of talent on the same wavelength. The motto is: make things happen/get things done.
Will it be UK focused or international? The demand became strong from home and abroad from the moment I let the ‘retirement’ genie out of the bottle. Since I announced I was leaving local government, interest has come from Africa, the Middle and Far East and Europe as well as here, with a range of things in London.
Do you have any specific clients or projects in mind? Only that the people I collaborate with should be fun to work with. You can’t do creative things without that ingredient. As for projects, the emphasis is on game changers – irrespective of scale – that improve the human condition.
Will it be a big change from your previous work as regeneration chief at Newham and Birmingham? My regeneration DNA remains the same, but clearly I won’t be 100 per cent employed in the public sector. I have worked in the private sector before, and the voluntary sector. Whether the ‘client’ is public or private sector or voluntary they want the same thing. What’s important are the results on the ground.
What will be key themes in UK regeneration in the next decade? Firstly, the economy. It is unacceptable to have one million young people out of work and education. A national economic strategy might help and much more pragmatic approaches to stimulating economic growth are needed, particularly in the creative and knowledge economies. Secondly, London’s continued domination and retention of its ‘capital of the world’ status. Thirdly, igniting economic potential outside the capital remains a nut to crack. Only those with ultra-radical solutions need apply. Fourthly, the ‘Aerotropolis’ phenomena and fifthly, resilience in all senses of the word.