We now know that the UK is officially in recession, for the first time in 11 years, as are many of the global communities economies right now. The Covid-19 pandemic-induced slide is likely to saddle the UK with yet more fragilities, adding to those still in play since the 2008 global financial crisis. The North of England and the Midlands are already seeing the greatest unemployment rises and, fuelling further inequalities, lower-paid young people and women are among those most affected.
An essential tool to help lift the UK’s economy out of the recession remains innovation – not just in the creation of new products and services, but business processes, policies and strategic partnerships.
Funding these innovations, and ensuring their success rates are high is a priority if we are to push towards a more inclusive society. Innovation has proven to create resilience as well as growth (including new jobs), and now is the best time to kick-start the process.
Despite the UK’s spend on R&D being lower than many of its counterparts, the commitment is there and promises of increasing budgets by 2025 are providing a boon to equality and creativity.
For many, innovation is considered the domain of tech companies and consumer goods businesses, but areas like education, retail and social care are now investing heavily and re-inventing business models and operating systems that are more productive, inclusive and value-generating. Given the historic size of these sectors, small incremental innovations lead to big increases, so now is the time for them to use innovation to lift themselves out of the quagmire.
Further uses innovation market research to support the innovation process and help businesses ideate, test and develop new ideas and concepts. Taking a more inclusive approach to R&D has also been the remit of our sister agency Versiti, during times when many businesses have – to their detriment – omitted the voices of minority communities. People now want to see innovation and change that benefits the many, not the few, across the country, so it’s an exciting time and one when the UK’s expertise comes to the fore.
(Image by Anna Jimenez Calaf)