A NEW study has revealed that the UK economy witnessed a “lost decade” of innovation.
The report by Nesta (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) found that investment into new products and ideas fell by £24bn since the recession hit in 2008 and unfortunately it has not recovered.
Nesta’s study also found that businesses had a crisis of confidence in the 2000’s prioritizing cash over investment in innovation.
These findings really need to be wakeup call for businesses. Investing in innovation is critical and the only route to long term, sustainable growth and I feel very strongly that allowing businesses to unlock their innovation potential will be a major factor into getting us out of this recession.
It is understandable that in 2008, when the recession hit, many businesses simply lost the time to spare and the funds to explore their innovative ambitions. But innovation is crucial to businesses long term sustainability. It is what makes the individual business stand out in the market place and more importantly prevents it from becoming stagnant.
I understand that businesses can be apprehensive to innovation perhaps because many presume it relates to risk taking and therefore massive organisational change. In reality the contrary is often true; to win big you need to start out small and then progress one step at a time. Also it does not mean creating a brand new product or service out of thin air. Innovation is not invention. Invention requires knowledge to create something new to satisfy a need or desire that would otherwise go unmet, innovation is an ongoing, evolving process.
Maintaining a promise to commit to innovate ultimately keeps businesses moving forward and can reduce waste, increase profits, improve efficiency and attract not only new customers but also new staff, which in turn will make the business a success and contribute to the region.
As chairman of the North East Business and Innovation Centre and because of our commitment to regional growth we have launched the Innovation Programme. Supported by the European Regional Development Fund, this programme will allow businesses to explore their own innovative potential and will bring wider benefits to the regional economy.
The programme seeks to support small businesses in the North East to achieve significant step changes in their performance through the introduction of innovative strategies.
Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity...not as a threat.
John Anderson CBE is chairman of North East BIC