Innovation is key to a business's growth and can take a number of forms - the development of new products, finding better materials to make an existing product or efficiencies in the processes which make that product, or a company launching itself into fresh markets or an entirely new commercial area.

Unlike larger companies, SMEs can struggle to find the required time, resources, financing or expertise in-house to innovate. D2N2 understands this and is helping smaller businesses push their innovation agenda in a number of ways.

The D2N2 LEP has a strategic plan for promoting Innovation in its area - Time to Innovate - created by university partners in the LEP's area of Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. It defines innovation as:

..the commercial exploitation of new ideas in the form of new products and processes, new organisational techniques, new markets and new sources of supply which can be new to the firm, new to the market or new to the world."

Most innovation does not stem from a scientific or technological discovery; it will often be about improving the way a business operates and thinks or how a product or service is offered to the market. It is often a collaborative activity, with some two-thirds of product innovators and two-fifths of process innovators engaged in collaborations.

It’s a cliché, but if you want to innovate, you’ve got to step out of the box.

D2N2 Science and Innovation Audit

Science and Innovation Audits (SIAs) were launched by the UK Government in 2015. They are intended to enable local consortia to analyse their strengths in science and innovation, and identify specific areas of existing or emerging excellence, which can be built on to drive long-term productivity gains and enable the local areas to realise their full economic growth potential.

Click here to view the latest D2N2 Science and Innovation Audit (January 2018)