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Strathclyde Business School

Taking on the innovation challenge

By Maria Lopez Carrasco - Posted on 26 May 2016

Strathclyde Business School and PwC recently held the latest in their series of Glasgow Powerhouse events which focused on innovation. PhD student Maria Lopez Carrasco attended and here looks at some of the issues discussed.

Improving productivity and enhancing business innovation are at the heart of Glasgow’s – and Scotland’s – economic strategy. Businesses in Glasgow need to have the skills to innovate and the processes to be successful: attracting and retaining innovative talent is key to Glasgow continuing to be Scotland’s Economic Powerhouse.

This event looked at the challenges and opportunities involved in Glasgow meeting this innovation challenge and took the form of a panel event. Listening to people from diverse backgrounds bringing their perspectives and different experiences to the table made a really enriching evening. The panel – Irene Graham, CEO of Scale Up Institute, Dr Luciana d’Adderio, Strathclyde Business School, Dr Rabinder Buttar, CEO of Clintec and Pauline Arnot, Risk Assurance Director at PwC Scotland - formed the discussion around three main questions:

Skills needed to enable businesses in Glasgow to innovate.

There are some specific skills needed in order to enable business to innovate - such as leadership and mentoring. These are absolutely critical once you start innovating, and should include management processes and the management board itself. Seeking some external mentoring can really help achieve clarity of views and actions for the growth of your business.

Planning ahead based on numbers has benefits as you then know where your business is heading regarding capacity and financial needs. Analysis of data comes in handy to predict innovation ensuring you are building relationships with those you may need to bring in as investors and keeping them updated for an efficient decision making performance.

Ways in which businesses can best use these skills to be successful.

In order for business to best use these skills, the Open Innovation approach was mentioned. It consists of integrating external knowledge and skills across boundaries – sharing best practice across different industries. No matter how good you have been doing in business, we all need support and assistance to lead us to a sharing economy of integrative practices.

Whether we are harnessing new technology or building networks, we must be aware of local practices, organisational culture and attitudes. It is really important to pay attention to them to ensure we are making the right investment, otherwise great opportunities could be overlooked.

In addition, having good management information and analytics systems for customer data is definitely what drives forward opportunities.

The role of Glasgow’s schools, colleges and universities.

There is increasing discussion about the need for reflection on how future managers and business leaders are educated in today’s business schools. Events like this one are great initiatives so business schools and recruiters can see what business is offering - and focus on the talent and skills they need. Engaging local universities and business schools is the best way to create and nourish a natural source of available talent.

One size definitely doesn’t fit all – but if business and higher education work together, the result will be less ‘ill-fitting outfit' and more ‘tailored suit'.

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