As the Cowgill Holloway team gets ready for The Digital Manufacturing Show in Liverpool, we take the time to consider the role of innovation in manufacturing – and vice versa.
Innovation is a key word of our time associated with globalisation, competitive advantage, progress, especially in the scientific, technological and creative industries. Innovators are celebrated in the Dragons’ Den and Facebook generation with hubs such as Silicon Valley and companies such as Microsoft and Google being world-renowned for their innovative cultures. It’s perhaps because of this high-level Hollywood, and dare I say, in some places over-use of the term, we sometimes struggle to adopt an innovative approach in everyday business.
The pursuit of a culture of innovation within many organisations has proven elusive but it is something every business can do – and probably does already. Innovation is problem solving and finding new ways of doing something. Sometimes this is a simple tweak or product improvement and in others it will be considerable research and development to bring a new solution to life.
Closer to home
Take Graphene as the example. I recently read about Manchester’s ambition to become a Graphene City but it’s taken some time to develop commercial applications for this wonder substance and we need to retain that magic in our region. To do this, our focus should be on educating, training and inspiring the next generation of engineers, technologists and manufacturers to ensure we can turn brilliant ideas, inventions and discoveries into commercial realities.
Making the difference
Of course, the region has a history of manufacturing and making things happen and we continue to see new ideas being developed and made in our region. Businesses I meet in the north west have a confident, can-do attitude and our clients are ambitious companies making a real difference to their sector and the economy. As well as looking ahead to new sectors and industries we should be looking to how we can continue to re-invent traditional industries for which our region first established itself as an industrial powerhouse.”
Credit where it’s due
Theresa May focused on research and development (R&D) at this month’s CBI conference, saying it should be a priority for businesses. To encourage companies to do this, the Government must ensure the tax system continues to, and perhaps goes even further to support with tax credits and funding.
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