Steve Tinsley, director of business innovation at Innovate KPI
A new business launches today which will create the first network of Open Innovation Centres (OICs) across the UK. The OICs will boost innovation and knowledge exchange practices for businesses and regions.
Innovate KPI will create a series of regional training and support centres across the country which will support businesses to implement a culture of innovation, generate new ideas and turn them into new products, services or processes. The regional clusters will form a national network of businesses committed to open innovation, where organisations combine internal and external ideas to develop new products, services and technologies.
Innovate KPI is seeking creative forward-thinking businesses to be the founding OICs partners in key cities across the UK.
Stephen Tinsley, director of business innovation at Innovate KPI, said: “Traditionally, businesses were very guarded about their innovation, research and development; believing that this was how to get to market first. Developing products and services behind closed doors leads business leaders to believe that they alone would profit from their workforce’s creativity and that they could control the resulting intellectual property.
“Today’s market leaders understand that they can benefit far more by tapping into the collective knowledge and expertise of talented individuals who don’t all work for them. OICs bring together talented, innovative experts from a wide range of sectors to develop original ideas. Smart business leaders understand that they can generate more ideas by collaborating with other organisations and individuals to generate incremental, as well as, radical innovation outcomes. OICs play a vital role in aiding business to become more innovative, increase profitability and contribute to regional economic growth.”
Individual OICs will bring together all businesses and industry sectors with other regional development partners. The centres are designed to facilitate business culture change and enable innovative practices to flourish by providing innovation training across all industry sectors. They provide customised regional business innovation and skills needs and are able to react in an effective and flexible way to meet new industry challenges and changing business environments.
Innovate KPI will support the OICs from a central hub, providing innovation training materials and support services and creating pathways to deliver skilled, innovative workforces and sustainable economic communities.
Steve Tinsley has previously held positions as vice principal of corporate development at Edinburgh College and director of the Centre for Enterprise, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer at the University of the Highlands and Island. He also has experience of creating a pilot OIC in Edinburgh. He says this has reinforced his belief that OICs are a vital concept for furthering regional innovation. The Edinburgh project also created a template for the development of such centres across the UK.
The Edinburgh OIC pilot engaged all major employers in three key industry sectors - engineering, life sciences and finance. Science, technology, engineering and maths development programmes were established, and innovation and skills pathways were created, linking schools to businesses. Business innovation and knowledge exchange initiatives were devised in consultation with the key business group. Training courses and local curricula were customised to meet business, regional and national skills and economic development needs.
The Edinburgh project, which included partners such as Siemens, Standard Life Aberdeen, the NHS, RBS and MacTaggart Scott, was hailed by many participants as successfully championing a change towards a more innovative and entrepreneurial business growth and community economic development mindset.
Businesses and organisations which are interested in finding out more about becoming a founder partner for an OIC in their area, or would like to become involved in the benefits which a regional OIC can provide can register their interest by visiting www.innovatekpi.com/contact
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