Dr Ben Shenoy, Director of the Business insights Lab in the Surrey Business School, delivered the closing remarks just recently at the 2016 SETsquared Open Innovation Showcase, held at Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
SETsquared, established 14 years ago, has just been ranked the world’s number one university business incubator. The enterprise partnership consists of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, and has long been a leader in university business incubation. At any one time, they support over 250 innovative tech start ups, and have strong links with the knowledge base of our five research-intensive university partners.
The full-day Showcase was an opportunity for larger enterprises to meet with, and hear pitches from, up to 30 of these research groups and companies, with the aim of understanding how their technology could feed into existing products and services. There were three technology themes: Healthcare; Digital; and Mobile; and the event featured emerging technologies, tech start ups, plus more established alumni companies. Proceedings closed with Ben’s remarks, a drinks reception, and the announcement of the winners in several pitch categories.
It made sense for the CoDE team to have a significant presence at the Showcase – at CoDE, our main focus is helping technological advances cross the ‘Valley of Death’ between Invention and Innovation (the successful application of Invention to business) by helping everyone from start ups to large enterprises with re-imagining business models for the Digital Economy. Our initiatives in the Business insights Lab are acting as a ‘wrapper’ for research, education, problem solving, and brokering – none of which has the luxury of functioning independently anymore.
Surrey, along with its SETsquared partners, has traditionally focussed solely on research. Now, research institutions are being squeezed into an uncomfortable absorption of enterprise and innovation challenges. We are having to get used to a different type of education – asking questions like, ‘What is the need?’ and ‘Who is the audience?’ If research is ‘rubbing two ideas together,’ then brokering, education, and problem solving can be called ‘rubbing two people together’! And if CoDE is the ‘wrapper’ for this effort, then SETsquared is playing a valuable role by adding the ‘luck factor’ that connects the businesses that need each other.
If your business could make use of some insight, ideas, and a little luck too, please get in touch.