BIMA Breakfast Briefing – What is Innovation?

Last week we hosted the BIMA Breakfast briefing at HOME Manchester on a subject that’s very close to our hearts. Innovation.

For any business to grow, scale and cater to the needs of ever-changing customers, innovation must be front and centre.

But what truly is innovation? Does it mean the same thing for all businesses and how can it be harnessed to make companies better?

We posed these important questions to our expert panel.

The panel

We were lucky enough to welcome four expert panelists and thought leaders from the digital and tech scene in the North West. Each was able to express their thoughts and views, all providing valuable insights into what innovation is and how businesses can make it a daily part of their operations.

Our panel consisted of:

Naomi TimperleyNaomi Timperley is an Honorary Industry Fellow at the University of Salford Business School, Co Founder of Tech North Advocates and Chair of investment platform Capital Pilot

Jazz HanleyTech Nation empowers ambitious tech entrepreneurs to grow faster through knowledge and networks. We help the UK compete globally to bring jobs, skills and higher productivity to the nation and build an economy fit for the future

David Edmundson-BirdDavid is Principal Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he runs a number of digital communications programmes, and is also the Associate Director for Digital Innovation

Claire RobinsonClaire has been working over the last decade to embed startup thinking and working practices into large corporates like AXA UK and Lloyds Banking Group and into traditional third sector organisations such as GirlGuiding UK, UNICEF and Cancer Research UK.

What is innovation?

We had to start here. It’s not something that can be easily defined. And it doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing for all businesses.

Here’s what our panel view the intrinsic nature of innovation to be. Spoiler alert, for each panellist it was something different.

The customer wants things quicker and cheaper, that’s what innovation is to me.” @DigitalJazz

Get the right people in the right room, and ban their mobile devices!@robbolina

Innovation isn’t expensive, you don’t have to have a lab. Why not meet regularly to talk about new ideas?” David Edmundson-Bird

Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean new technologies or hardware. It can be a new mindset, cultural shift or way of thinking.” @joshcolebolland

“Sometimes innovation isn’t about coming up with a brand new idea, it’s just coming up with a better way to do things.” @naomitimperley

How innovation can be harnessed by businesses?

It’s one thing understand what is meant by innovation. The next step is for businesses to gain an insight into what it means for them and the power of it to bring around change for their specific operation.

Businesses need to first believe change possible and second change their mindset to ensure that change is realised. Here are the key insights from our discussion.

What are the methods businesses can adopt to encourage innovation?

Once a mindset change is brought about, businesses need to encourage innovation daily. Each member of the organisation needs to buy into the ethos and look beyond the day to day.

Here is what Claire believes is an essential method believed to be of key importance.


Final thoughts – remember the connect the dots!

At J B Cole, we help transform ambitious businesses through people-first technology and innovation.

You can learn more about our client approach and results through our case studies, as well as our approach to innovation at one of our upcoming events.