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Fuzzy logic of Wilson review
The Wilson report on University-Business collaboration is fundamentally flawed. The report offers up 30 recommendations plus 24 so-called “study recommendations”. Many of the statements in the report seem to be broad statements based on perception not fact, offering little by way of clear policy recommendations. What a wasted opportunity – see my full article for why I think this..
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Alliance innovation survey
Allianz Insurance has recently reported on a survey they conducted with 500 UK CEOs. The good news is that innovation is seen as a key factor in business success the vast majority of UK business leaders. However, while recognizing that innovation pays off and improves performance, the challenging economic climate means that innovation is not immune from cutbacks. Nearly a quarter of the CEOs reported that the recession has impacted their innovation programmes with the research suggesting that over the past year, innovation spend has been reduced with this downward trend set to continue over the next few years. It’s been our experience that the recession presents a great opportunity to outperform hesitant competitors with new creative ideas that have the potential to change the game. If you would like to know more please see full article on this or call for a chat.
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R&D tax credits
The Government has just announced a review of the R&D tax credit scheme. This scheme needs a substantial overhaul as it no longer meets the innovation needs of the UK. Here is my input to the consultation process.
Click here to read my input
The Hauser Report
Two recent reports recommend the government acts to establish technology centres for exploiting UK scientific research. The Hauser report focuses simply on technology innovation centres (TICs); but in Dyson's report they are one facet of a more wide-ranging consideration. How will these recommendations help UK companies innovate and bring new products to market?
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Drayson to focus research
At a recent meeting of the Foundation for Science & Technology, Lord Drayson proposed that research should be focused on areas that had the potential for commercial exploitation. This seems to me to show an appalling lack of understanding of the difference between scientific research and commercial exploitation of new ideas (innovation). My recent article in Research Fortnight (18 February 2009) explains why I think he has got it wrong and what Government should be doing to help Business.
To see the full article click here.
Boston Consulting Group annual survey
Just published is the 2008 survey. The report suggests that there is rising dissatifaction with the return on innovation investments. In my experience this is usually due to poor planning and poor project execution. Understanding the job the customer is trying to achieve, objectively comparing ideas with competitor offerings, seeking out collaboration to deliver something new/ innovative and strongly managing the implementation to ensure successful exploitation should be demanded by CEOs before any investment is made. I would be happy to work with any CEO to increase the success of their innovation investments!
For the full BCG report please follow this link .....
UK R&D tax credits
What possible basis is there for the recent Treasury suggestion that R&D tax credit for SMEs will increase by £80million pa? In fact if you look at the actual support claimed by SMEs it has fallen from £210 million in 2002-03 to £180million in 2005-06 (the latest published figures). By contrast, the amount claimed by large companies has risen from £180 million in 2002-03 to £420 million in 2005-06. Large companies are obviously getting better at claiming the tax credit because during this time actual company spend on R&D did not increase at all. A high profile debate is now required to quickly determine the most effective way for government to support business growth in the UK, particularly small innovative companies. I hope that the major industry organisations—the CBI, IoD, EEF, TUC, BCC—will put this issue high on their agendas.
To view the full commentary click here
Innovation Nation white paper.
Three cheers for the new White Paper on innovation, Innovation Nation, published on 13 March by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) —because at the very least it increases pressure on government to do more on innovation policy. The paper does cover a wide range of important issues and, for the most part, the direction outlined looks right. Having said that, however, the paper lacks detail, is very light on tangible actions, falls short on a pace-setting agenda and does not yet demonstrate that DIUS really understands how business operates. I expand on this in a fuller article which first appeared in the Research Fortnight magazine on 19 March 2008.
To see the full article click here.
New broom sweeps innovation into a corner
What will be the impact on the UK’s science and innovation of the government changes that the new prime minister announced last week? We are, of course, lacking substantive details on these announcements but already some critical questions are emerging. There are real concerns that government policy on innovation will end up in a cul-de-sac. This article first appeared in the Research Fortnight magazine on 4 July 2007.
To see the full article click here.
Value added Scoreboard
The 2007 Value Added Scoreboard has just been published by the DTI. It again demonstrates that wealth can be created through innovation strategies which are not necessarily measured by R&D expenditure.
For a fuller commentary click here:
Government support for Enterprise & Innovation
Are Britain’s smaller businesses really worth all the government money that’s being spent on them? This provocative question was posed when February’s Cambridge University Centre for Business Research (CBR) conference on Enterprise and Innovation unveiled the picture of the enterprise economy painted by six successive CBR surveys in 13 years. So now instead of continuing to hand out hefty tax breaks – like R&D tax credit and the zero rate corporation tax – alongside funding for training and other such government support expenditure that now totals a hefty £7.9 billion, shouldn’t the government be asking for its money back? Or at least asking what it,and the British economy, is getting in return? It’s a question that does not surprise CBR director Alan Hughes: “It’s true we are spending an awful lot of public money – the equivalent of £220 per year for every person of working age in Britain,” he says. “And what is more, it’s being spent through a very wide range of government departments and through lots of different programmes. Individual support programmes, especially in the DTI, are carefully evaluated. But what is not clear is whether anyone has asked what we are getting back in aggregate for all this spending, and whether we should be spreading the funding so widely. The time is right for the question to be asked, should business support spending be more focussed?” ................... Well, let’s see if the forthcoming Budget answers this very important question.
University/ business collaboration
For some time I have been advocating that we need to focus more on exploitation of research if we are to achieve the UK's full wealth creation potential. This means moving away from the old model of technology 'push' from universities. I am increasingly seeing other thinkers advocating a similar approach and Professor Tim Wilson put it most eloquently in a recent speech which he called 'New thinking on competitiveness'. Summarising his lecture he said, "We must respond rapidly, with radical thinking and bold leadership. It is time not to challenge the paradigms of research-led innovation, but to change them. It is time not to challenge the traditional models of a university, but to change them. It is time for business to open its mind about working universities and for universities to open their doors to business. It is time for government to re-balance funding for research and funding for innovation. For universities, business and government it is time to get out of the comfort zones of old 1990s thinking.
Click here to see Tim Wilson's full speech
Latest thinking on innovation
Innovaro is one of the most exciting innovation consultancy groups around. Their insights are always stimulating and if you are looking for some inspiration you are likely to find it on their website. They keep an up to date ‘reading list’ and reviews of the latest books on the topic of innovation. Great place to look for the latest thinking on the subject of innovation.
Click here to for more.
IBM - Global Innovation Output 2.0
This is the second review that IBM has undertaken to look at key global issues affecting business. This one concentrates on the future of the Enterprise, Transportation & the Environment. In particular this survey examines the opportunities emerging at the intersection of technology, business and society. In my view this reinforces the remarkable opportunities that are now available to businesses that have the vision to build on their strengths in collaboration with others. Strategies need to be tailored to an individual business.
Click here to download the full report
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