Five approaches in which identifying big issues is the carrot that leads the innovation process
Focusing on major issues rather than relying on people with good ideas is likely to be a good source for the 6% of businesses with hi-growth potential (- and Unicorns)
Most of the commercial supporters of hi-growth businesses depend on who turns up with a good idea: just a few focus on issues of strategic, technical or sociological importance – like basic needs, lifestyles or communities.
Several industry sectors have identified aspects of the development of their businesses and then invited interest from relevant parties, including the food and drinks industry through a meeting at the Institute for Manufacturing in Cambridge, and the aerospace industry’s more extensive National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme, which aims to support the development of some 30 innovative technologies in the short to medium-term.
In 2014 Nesta launched the Inclusive Technology Prize to inspire people to improve or develop assistive living aids, adaptations, products and systems that will make a real difference to the lives of disabled people. The challenge prize received over 200 applications, which have now been whittled down to 10 finalists, ranging from affordable 3D printed bionic hands to an open source communication aid.
The Mayor of London’s Smart London plan has identified five priority areas: Environment, Buildings and Homes, Transport, Health, Resilience and infrastructure; and has invited applications from interested parties to pitch. Short listed companies will be selected and given the opportunity to present their innovations to leading technology investors, key decision makers and thought leaders within the public and private sector. However they must already have a demonstrable product/service, which is past proof of concept stage, and a clear business case for investment of between £100,000 to £5m.
Vinnova Sweden’s innovation agency is moving towards a challenge-driven strategy, addressing essential or critical needs in society and industry, promoting new cross-sector collaborations and fostering systemic approaches – which address different social subsystems, framework conditions, political, commercial, technological subsystems, etc.
Nesta has been a protagonist for challenge-led innovations for some time, and has set out the best ways in which Prize competitions are being made effective, including a develop-ment period, which allows for:
* Hack days,
* wider public or peer commentary,
* opportunities for peer collaboration and support, and
* for users/purchasers to have an input into development. Moreover Nesta’s earlier work – with P&G – underlined the importance of having a buffer (100%Open an exemplar) between the ideamongers and their potential exploiters. Nesta’s work needs to be more widely exploited.
Accelerators attacking bigger issues?
If Accelerators can support hi-growth SMEs as well as startups, can they also be adapted to focus on tough problems and emerging opportunities in all sorts of fields? Oct 2014
Reversing a topsy-turvy approach to a better world
Focusing on major issues rather than relying on people with good ideas is likely to be a good source for the 6% of businesses with hi-growth potential (- and Unicorns) Oct 201