15 December 2010
Whenever anyone talks about “markets” these days they tend to put the word “global” in front of them. The truth is that, with the almost instant communications we enjoy from the Internet and the reasonable easy transport systems that encircle the planet, if you really want to, you can find out about products around the world, buy them and have them shipped directly to you. That means that any company that is planning to develop and sell new products always has an eye to selling them beyond their home country.
12 December 2010
Since we started to focus on challenge-led activities, we have thought long and hard over how we can simultaneously build the technologies necessary to deliver the answers to the identified challenges. It is never a good plan to wait until the challenge is clearly defined to start work on the answer. It is better to develop those technologies where we have UK strength and fine tune the linkages between these growing strengths and our evolving definition of the challenges. So that is what we have done over the last 3 years
04 December 2010
I think of myself as a scientist. My degree even has the word “science” in it so I must be. Yet no job title I have ever had has the word “science” or “scientist” in it. I have been described as a “technologist”, or the word “research” has been involved, but never have I been described as a scientist. Part of that is because I went straight into industry after my PhD and no-one really thinks people in industry “do science”. That’s what people in universities do. Or is it?
16 October 2010
A couple of meetings this last week made me go back to work I was involved in a few years ago and revisit the basic ideas. We are well used to thinking about running out of oil – there have been articles and books written about it for at least 30 years now. We are getting used to the idea that we are running out of the capacity of our atmosphere to absorb different gases and not change its properties. The one we mostly don’t think too much about is running out of the stuff that makes up our planet.
26 September 2010
Innovation is a precious thing. It needs constant support while it develops and then help into the commercial world. Providing the right sort of support is important. Different markets work in different ways and at different timescales and so the support mechanism needs to be appropriate. However, getting started in almost any field basically needs money to make things happen. That money starts the process of development.
28 August 2010
There has been a fair amount said about the innovation “ecosystem” (also referred to as “infrastructure” or “landscape”) recently and, as we talked about it within and without the Technology Strategy Board, I realised that most people have a different opinion about what it is and how it operates. That is why many of the discussions I have listened to recently failed to achieve any degree of closure!
17 July 2010
I have written before about the potential synergy of design and technology, and how we are gradually finding ways to engage with the design community more in our activities. One consequences of this is that we have been invited to join the Home Office Design and Technology Alliance. This, in turn, has allowed me to go and learn more about both design and crime!! The one thing that quickly becomes apparent is that the elements of design must be built into the situation from the beginning, not added as an afterthought.
10 July 2010
A few years ago, I attended an EPSRC organised presentation where an American professor was “proving” that all major technological developments had started in scientific laboratories. He had an impressive list of examples and was doing well until someone asked the simple question “what happened to all the ideas that didn’t get developed?”
04 July 2010
Now that we are almost 3 years old, we are beginning to accumulate the data we need to check that what we are doing is having the intended effect. One thing we have always tried to do – even in the DTI days – was to apply criteria to find those areas and activities where there was an opportunity for UK based businesses to compete effectively. In the case of Innovation Platforms, we achieve this by working closely with Government Departments who are driving policy in the area and examine the likely impact of the policy implementation on the market and then use that to inform those who could contribute towards addressing the challenge the policy is aiming for.
11 June 2010
There is no doubt that, as a species, we are addicted to travel. A cursory look at the figures confirms this diagnosis.