Innovation policy: Driving equity or driving inequality?

Innovation policy: Driving equity or driving inequality? The need to boost levels of innovation in the UK is at the heart of the recent Green Paper on Industrial Strategy, and few would argue with the general proposition that innovation is good for growth. New products, new services and new ways of doing business help firms… Read more

Hammond’s Productivity Plan – what’s in it for small firms?

When Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, stood up to present the Autumn Statement he had a problem and a plan. The problem combined the hit on growth from Brexit, stubbornly low productivity and stretched public finances. The plan focuses on investing to boost productivity. So where do small firms fit in? Well – unlike many recent… Read more

Is our obsession with fast growth and job creation stifling productivity?

As he stood at the Dispatch Box on November 23rd, Chancellor Philip Hammond laid bare to Parliament a problem that has been vexing economists since the 2008 crash. The UK, he intoned, has a truly dreadful productivity rate. To illustrate the point, he told MPs gathered for the Autumn Statement that the average UK worker… Read more

From Trump Towers to the White House

Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election could have consequences for the thousands of UK small and medium-sized businesses, especially as the US is the UK’s biggest export destination. During the campaign Trump made some remarks he may regret come January, but the general policy stance in terms of trade and industry is relatively clear:… Read more

Knowledge diffusion, innovation and productivity – changing the game in Wales

The current Brexit debate is important and the structure of the UK’s trading and migration arrangements with our international neighbours will influence our future prosperity. However, other more fundamental long term issues remain important for the UK around productivity. UK productivity lags significantly behind that of our main international competitors and Wales is at the… Read more

Brexit – the innovation bonus

Innovation is always risky. New technologies may not perform, or may take longer to develop than first anticipated. Customers may react negatively to new products or services and innovation may provoke a strong competitive response from competitors. Will uncertainty linked to the post-Brexit settlement increase or depress firms’ appetite for taking these innovation risks? It… Read more

Migrants start more businesses and are more ambitious to grow

The impact of migration on the UK jobs market was a major theme of the Brexit debate. The effects of migration, despite their oversimplification in that debate, are, complex. Migrants may have taken jobs that would otherwise have gone to long-term UK residents and as a consequence helped create a climate of distrust in many… Read more

Re-writing the innovation rulebook

Re-writing the innovation rulebook Have you ever heard of the Oslo Manual? Sadly it’s not a type of Nordic Kama Sutra but instead the official – OECD backed – rulebook for thinking about and measuring innovation. Over the last 25 years successive editions of the Oslo Manual have provided the definitive guide to what gets… Read more

Brexit for business?

Whether you regard today as a ‘new dawn’ or a ‘national tragedy’ short-term economic uncertainty is on the cards for us all. This is perhaps today’s only certainty. How effectively the UK can manage this uncertainty and then capitalise on the opportunities of life outside the EU will be crucial for future growth. In the… Read more

Innovation by design.

Good design is a delight. But the potential role of designers goes well beyond improving the functional or aesthetic aspects of a product. Research on design thinking has suggested there should be a design leadership effect when designers lead rather than contributing to firms’ innovation processes. But how big is this effect? Until now we… Read more