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Sunday, 14 June 2009

Focus On Innovation

If the general economic slowdown seems to be doing one positive thing, it's to focus industry's minds on innovation.  That's not to say that business in general is not innovative.  Without innovation, there would be no development.  Without development, there would be no business, no competition, no economy.  So why all the fuss about innovation now?

Innovation and creativity go hand in hand.  And creativity shines through in a recession.  When budgets are challenged and the big bucks solution is no longer an option, creativity comes to the fore to discover the big idea, the ambitious plan.

We work a lot on innovation and the interplay between innovation and sustainability.  These last couple of weeks we've attended a number of events which couldn't have made the point on innovation more strongly.  Firstly, research publisher Science Business' event on the Innovation Economy which featured business, policymakers and academics from around the world looked at how innovation can be strengthened in Europe.

Then an event we were involved in making happen - a debate on 'Can innovation lead us out of the climate crisis?' organised by environmental news service ENDS and sponsored by the European chemical industry.  Here speakers from a range of backgrounds, hand-picked by Sustainability Consult, gave their views.

The various conclusions?  "Innovation is part of the answer, a big part of the answer, but to think it is the whole answer would be a mistake" from the European Commission.  "Innovation is part of the answer but innovation needs a market" from a carbon market expert.  "We also need social innovation" from an environmental NGO and "We need innovation in policymaking" from a representative of the European white goods industry.  We'll be posting a video of the various viewpoints in the coming days.

Finally, at the interact congress for the online advertising industry, a whole bunch of high-level speakers from the internet industry (Google, Microsoft and co) stressed the need for innovation and creativity in these tougher economic times.  The message is clear - innovate to survive!

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