10 October 2015
Manufacturing is everywhere in the news these days. It is generally alleged that we were once good at it, but lost our way and that the future prosperity of the United Kingdom is dependent on regaining our prowess at it. But what actually is manufacturing?
12 June 2015
With the increasing political emphasis on innovation-fuelled growth, the question of how to turn the UK’s scientific capability into commercial success is becoming more and more important. With past efforts largely unsuccessful, what is the relationship we need to build between universities and companies to enable a successful UK economy?
07 May 2015
Disintermediation is a word that sounds like it was made up. But it is also a word that scares people in many markets, and with good reason. Disintermediation is the reason why there are virtually no record shops anymore and a diminishing number of bookstores. It is what people call the effect of digital services on a supply chain. And it has not finished its work.
01 May 2015
Being asked to give a short keynote at the New Energy & Cleantech Awards made me revisit some of my thoughts on the area, and on the introduction of new technologies generally. Here is what I hoped to say!
10 March 2015
Last week I attended a very nice “networking dinner” in London. The location was excellent, the food was very good and the cross section of experts collected to discuss the issue were amongst the brightest and best in the area. The people paying for the whole event were interested in how this field of technology would play out – and how they could be involved. I am not sure they got what they wanted. It got me thinking about the various ways I have seen people try to predict, or at least anticipate, the future so that they could prepare for it.
04 February 2015
I have been using the word “innovation” since 2004, when I started working with the Department of Trade and Industry as they developed their plans for what became the Technology Strategy Board, but I’m not sure I ever used the word before that. Throughout my career in the chemical/materials industry, we carried out “research and development” or “product development” or “process development”. To my knowledge, the word innovation only really came to be used to describe these activities somewhere in the 90’s.
29 December 2014
It must be my age, but meeting old friends and colleagues often dredges up the beginning of beliefs and insights I frequently use but whose provenance I had forgotten, and which have been added to over the years and repeatedly demonstrated their value. So it was that lunch with the (long ago) ex Group Communications Director of ICI took me back to the genesis of my interest in branding in unusual places!
09 December 2014
Being healthy is one of the basic needs of humanity. For centuries we have treated illness once it occurs but are increasingly aware that we could prevent it and preserve good health. Meanwhile the risks to health are changing, our understanding of diseases is increasing and the tools of technology are evolving to meet our needs, so we ought to have a plan.
11 November 2014
One of the joys of being out in the wild is that I meet a wider variety of people and learn more – and from a different perspective. Several recent conversations have caused a number of ideas I have run into over my career to converge. The final trigger was a presentation on “subtractive” manufacturing – it was about advanced machine tools. That we have to rename the past to accommodate a potential future struck me as worth thinking about.
22 September 2014
There seems to have been a revival of interest in “state intervention” lately. There are well-argued economics texts and derivative newspaper articles – and politicians vying to lead us into the new prosperity. What most seem to have in common is that they cite Concorde as an example of successful state involvement. Despite just spending 6 years working for a complete Concorde enthusiast, I am still not sure it represents the sort of state intervention that will lead directly to growth.