Published on in Public SectorInnovation

The word innovation is thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Where does
innovation come from and how does it happen?

Earlier this month I attended the Fujitsu EDE, Innovate to Accumulate, which was all about that elusive ingredient, innovation. The evening was hosted by Fujitsu’s CEO, UK & Ireland, Regina Moran.

The first speaker, award-winning Economist Mariana Mazzucato, promoted the role of public sector in driving innovation, and sought to debunk the myth that all the smart ideas and innovations come from the private sector. We need to realise how interesting and creative public sector organisations can be.

Take your smart phone for example – “What makes your ‘smart’ phone smart and not idiotic is what you can do with it. Surf the internet, publicly funded. Use GPS navigation, publicly funded. Use touch screen technology…..publicly funded!”

She called for a ‘different deal’ between public and private sector organisations, where public sector supports innovation with ‘patient, long-term, committed finance’ in contrast to ‘exit-driven’ financing from venture capitalists. We need to learn how the public sector and private sector can work together in interesting and dynamic partnerships to help build a more innovative and sustainable future together.

Mariana suggests that this is how we will achieve smarter, more innovation led growth.

We then met our second speaker, entrepreneur Josh Valman, who started his engineering career at the tender age of 10 when he built his first robot. Josh spoke about innovation from a different angle, looking at how businesses can accelerate the pace of change.

Josh shared his vision for a ‘0 miles supply chain’, something that doesn’t waste time in logistics or operations but is able to learn at the same time it delivers.  Josh’s view was that large companies typically take too long to innovate, so that new developments are obsolete by the time they come to fruition.

So, how can we move faster?

In Josh’s view, the supply chain is a key element – if it’s too long or complex, it can’t adapt to the changing environment. His innovation business has started to develop products that actually understand their environment and can learn from it. But innovation isn’t about just understanding, it’s also about action.

One business challenge Josh has been working on is accelerating shipping. His team have started to use modern technology to shrink the supply chain – one example would be “shipping” products digitally to be 3D printed locally on site.

Josh concluded by sharing his 3 key points on innovation and what it can do for your business:

  • Logistics hinder innovation – this involves not only shipping physical products, but also all the steps in making this happen; people, organisation and process – organisations need to look at how they can strip back logistics to the bare minimum.
  • You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about! – Innovation doesn’t happen without people, but people often don’t know how to innovate effectively. Therefore, how can we understand and predict people’s behaviour to support them in their quest to innovate?
  • Don’t stop innovating – A product is never finished, it can always be developed and improved.

Regina Moran closed the evening by highlighting the importance of people in driving innovation, in line with Fujitsu’s global vision. Fujitsu Is committed to innovating and supporting customer business models, demonstrated through the Fujitsu Megatrends series and projects with GlobeRanger.

For information about our future Executive Discussion Evenings visit our events page or join our LinkedIn group.

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