Innovation offers growth hope

The global financial outlook has looked gloomy for sometime, and this week, another blow was dealt as a new independent watchdog downgraded UK’s economic growth projections to 2.6%, from 3.25% (the estimate given in Labour’s last budget).A recent report by the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts called ‘Rebalancing the economy’ ( outlines the potential for four possible courses for the UK:

1. Business as usual, which the report outlines as too slow to deliver sufficient growth, particularly in the UK’s old industrial areas

2. Broad-based manufacturing renaissance, which the report concludes is not realistic given the track record of manufacturing growth

3. Hi-tech growth, and the development of the hi-tech sector to match the likes of Finland and Germany

4. Innovation-led, which the report concludes is the most likely to produce the rate of growth required (3.2% on average per year).

This report is the latest in a series of calls outlining the importance of innovation in helping global economies recover from the impact of the recession.However, one key problem remains: Innovation is often talked about at such high levels – commericialisation of academic research and so on – that it’s easy to overlook the part that specific businesses, departments or individuals can make. Many companies and their Boards still struggle with the concept of how they can foster a culture of innovation within their organisations.

In reality, IT departments, and specifically CIOs, have a huge opportunity to lead on innovation within organisations by opening up the IT infrastructure to enable people to innovate using the wide range of technologies (often web-based) that are now available. By developing a culture of innovation at the core of any business, growth is encouraged, and it’s through the combination of these individual steps that overall success can be achieved world-wide.