News / Innovation

Identifying ‘innovation blockers’ to help businesses succeed post-Covid-19

By ellie pipe, Tuesday Aug 18, 2020

Innovation is regarded as one of the biggest strengths of the UK economy and a key element of the post-Covid recovery.

In recognition of this, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £1.25billion support package to help some of the country’s most dynamic companies respond to the crisis in April.

Yet, innovation has been in steady decline across all sectors, except for pharmaceuticals and medical products, as business executives focus on maintaining their core business activities, according to a recent report by McKinsey.

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Paintworks-based tech firm Solverboard is working with partners to unearth the blockers that are stopping businesses in the UK from innovating and provide advice on how to overcome these challenges.

The company, which published a report on Tuesday, August 18 to highlight key obstacles facing businesses, is inviting organisations to share their ‘innovation blockers’ as they seek new opportunities for growth due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Charlie Widdows, the co-founder of Solverboard, explains: “To innovate you need to understand what the problem is that you’re trying to fix. Businesses in every sector across the UK are saying that the coronavirus pandemic will change the way they do business. They want to innovate, but they’re not – and we need to understand why.

“Innovation leaders are feeling the pressure to act, and they are the ones who see the systemic challenges that block businesses from responding to growth opportunities. Getting them to speak out about their challenges is the key to unlocking the tremendous innovation potential here in the UK.”

The report highlights five key innovation blockers: fear of failure, conflicting goals, lack of innovation skills, no definition of what innovation is, disagreement over who owns innovation.

Innovate UK is working with Solverboard on helping businesses to overcome these challenges. The public body launched a £750m recovery package earlier this year specifically to help innovative businesses continue to develop exciting new products and bring them to market.

Commenting on Solverboard’s latest report, Cris Beswick, a strategic advisor on innovation, co-founder at OUTCOME and one of the experts featured in the report, says: “The initial response to Covid-19 was to hunker down and cut back. However, this isn’t just a fiscal challenge – the impact and implications of the coronavirus pandemic are much further reaching than that. Those businesses that simply focus on financial survival are going to miss the opportunity to transform and redesign so that they’re operating model remains relevant.

“To achieve this, businesses have to be honest and transparent about the challenges they’re facing. They also need to be ready to try completely new ways of working if they are to survive and thrive in a post-pandemic world. Developing new future-focused strategies, creative leadership capabilities, high innovation maturity and ecosystems will be key to this.”

Take part in the Solverboard Innovation Blockers Survey 2020 via

Main photo courtesy of Solverboard

Read more: £1.3m funding for Bristol firms driving innovation

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