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Bradford University School of Management – business school makes innovative links

Victoria Tomlinson posted this on

Northern Lights came up with the idea of an Innovation Club with Dr Nigel Lockett, Bradford University School of Management to help the School build relationships with the region’s leading businesses.

Contacts were invited to a private dinner where chief executives and directors talked about their innovation challenges.  Directors paired up and visited each others’ companies to identify

  • Sources of innovation in the company
  • Barriers to innovation
  • Good ideas for their own businesses

Ideas that impressed the business leaders and are being discussed for them to develop include

  • All the businesses stressed the importance of encouraging all their employees to suggest new ideas.  At Foster’s Bakery every suggestion is given time and lab space – and the failures of ideas are as important to learn from as the successes
  • Having a dedicated place for employees to get together and test out and discuss new ideas
  • At Foundation, they focus on the 90 per cent that is successful, rather than allow the 10 per cent that doesn’t work so well to dominate discussions and meetings
  • Premier Farnell has a rule that if anyone suggests a new idea, no-one is allowed to say anything negative for three minutes
  • Several businesses have close relationships with local prisons to support and train offenders and recruit to fill skills needs

Members of the group to date are Arco, Arena Group, Bettys and Taylors, Foundation, Foster’s Bakery, Gordons, Hallmark, NG Bailey, NetConstruct, Pace, Premier Farnell, Suma, Systagenix, Tunstall, WebAnywhere and Yorkshire Water.

Now the Club is starting to look at a major challenge for all those involved – how to identify the next big idea ahead of America or the Far East.

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