Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Mark Coulman Leeds inventors group 16th June 2010

Mark is an Innovation Specialist heading Business Link’s Innovation Team. He works with businesses who see innovation as important and in this meeting wanted to look at what exactly innovation is.

In an interactive session he demonstrated that innovation is a process involving teamwork. Views were expressed that it usually involved something new, or putting things together in a new or different way. Mark said that a new product in itself is not innovation, an idea in itself is not and making change may not be. The important thing is implementing new ideas – innovation is a process and not one individual thing. You can have an idea and do nothing with it, but exploiting the idea is innovation. It’s important when making changes that if you do change things you are improving them.

The group then looked at what the results of innovation can be. Various suggestions were made – such as improvements in products, saving time and money, increasing employment and market share.

It’s important to think about what you want at the end of the innovation process and everything you do should be related to this – people often spend too much time on the idea without thinking about where it’s going. Research and development is one part of the innovation process and doesn’t always have a particular end result in mind. It has been suggested that R& D is the use of money to create knowledge whereas innovation is using knowledge to create money.

Mark summed up by emphasising that having a clear idea of where you’re going is vital. You can then determine how you’re going to achieve it and how sustainable it might be.