Innovation Fitness

Advisors shared experiences and findings at the workshops

Businesses in the South West helped to be ‘fitter’ than before

New tools to help businesses assess their innovation ‘fitness’ have been rolled out to more than 60 business advisors across the region by University of Exeter Business School academics John Bessant and Allen Alexander through a series of workshops.

It is hoped that these advisors will be able to cascade the tools and techniques to help 1,500 local businesses over the next three years become better at innovating and therefore more successful overall. The toolkit is also being utilised by the public sector in a drive to become more efficient through innovation.

Dr Allen Alexander explains “The ‘Innovation Fitness’ tool provides an easy-to-use questionnaire to evaluate a company’s capabilities. With the help of a trained assessor, this is used as a guideline to offer a range of practical advice to improve innovation within an organisation.”

Speaking at one of the workshops Penny Bond of Hush Farms said “For some companies, this could be the difference between thrive or survive. The workshop has provided the opportunity to come together with other advisors so that we can maximise the value of the toolkit to businesses in the South West – I’m really excited about the opportunities.”

Devon County Council, amongst others, are backing the project and have contributed £40,000 to further the team’s research, whilst also offering 50 fully-funded business advice sessions for local companies to use. Those who miss out on the free service can still take part – local business advisers have agreed to offer the service for a fixed price of £150.

Devon County Council leader John Hart said: “We want to provide the best possible climate in Devon for businesses to grow and boost our economy. This initiative is encouraging firms to look at their business and explore how they can build and adapt. It's being led by people with considerable expertise and knowledge, so businesses will be able to access the best possible advice and support.”

Date: 8 February 2013

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