Innovation is top business priority, say 58% of Welsh business decision makers polled
Investing in innovation new products, services and processes is a top priority for businesses in Wales, a poll of Welsh business owners and decision makers has found.
Investing in innovation1 - new products, services and processes - is a top priority for businesses in Wales, a poll of Welsh business owners and decision makers has found. The poll is released ahead of a one-day Innovation in Wales event to be held tomorrow (10 January, 10am-1pm), hosted by Nesta, the UK's innovation foundation.
The majority (58%) of respondents said investing in areas of innovation (non-physical assets such as training, design and research) is the priority over the next ten years, over investing in physical assets such as buildings, plant and machinery and computing hardware (38%).
Encouragingly, over a fifth (21 per cent) of those polled said they invested 16-20 per cent of revenues in innovation in the last year. In a survey of UK businesses leaders last year2, just 4 per cent of UK business leaders said that they invest to this level.
However, when it comes to looking to the Welsh Assembly to inspire confidence to invest in innovation, respondents were divided: 48 per cent said government was doing about the right amount, whilst 47 per cent said it was doing too little. Yet, 62 per cent said that public sector contracts either encourage businesses to innovate a great deal (14 per cent) or a fair amount (49 per cent).
Nesta's Innovation in Wales event at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff will celebrate and explore opportunities for innovation-led economic growth.
Topics to be explored in the event include: the future of councils, the digital creative economy and science, technology and innovation. Organisations to be featured include:
- Crucible Wales: Peter Halligan from Cardiff University on bringing bright thinkers together and seeing the bigger picture
- Monmouthshire County Council: part of Nesta's Creative Councils programme, looking at new ways to overcome public service reform challenges
- The Green Valleys: a community interest company which installs and finances hydroelectric systems
- Welshpool and Newtown: hyperlocal media service, My Town Media
- timto: a pioneering group gifting service that makes donating to charity an integral part of any celebration
Between 2000 and 2008 innovation delivered 63 per cent of the UK's economic growth1. But, with 35 per cent of Welsh graduates heading for jobs in England3 and the second lowest business start-up rate4, the country is facing tough challenges.
The poll showed that the feared 'brain drain' of Welsh graduates is a challenge that business leaders are already trying address: 75 per cent of respondents said they currently have some form of an alliance, partnership or are working with universities; and a further 20 per cent said they either have plans to do so (7 per cent) or would like to (13 per cent).
Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of Nesta, comments, "We know that innovation is a key driver for long-term economic growth but that business investment across the UK has fallen in the last few years. This makes the figures for Welsh business investment in innovation particularly encouraging, especially as they come alongside other positive indicators for Welsh economic growth5, including declining levels of unemployment and increasing productivity. Wales isn't short of innovative firms and projects across Wales - some of which Nesta be showcasing tomorrow. The challenge is to help them to grow - and to achieve as much successful innovation in the public sector and civil society as is already taking place in high tech businesses."
Nesta in Wales, Wales Millennium Centre, Bute Place, Cardiff, CF10 5AL, 10am-1pm. Pre-registration at www.nesta.org.uk/events is essential. For those unable to attend the event will be live streamed at www.nesta.org.uk/live_stream and access is free.
Notes to Editor:
- All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Vision Critical, on behalf of Nesta. The poll was undertaken from January 2nd to January 7th 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 181 randomly selected Welsh business decision makers and owners, with sole or joint responsibility for business decisions who are also Springboard UK panellists. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
- 1Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation. It defines innovation as 'intangibles': new products, processes and ways as doing things. For further detail see Nesta's Innovation Index, July 2012: http://www.nesta.org.uk/home1/assets/features/innovation_index_2012
- 2 YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 783. All board level manager/ director level and above (UK). Fieldwork was undertaken between 31st August - 6th September 2012. The survey was carried out online.
- 3For the period 2003 - 2007 from Bristow, G et al (2011) Stay, study, leave or return http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/socsi/research/researchcentres/skope/publications/WISERD_WPS_005.pdf
- 4ONS Business Demography 2011 (December 2012) http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bus-register/business-demography/2011/stb-business-demography-2011.html#tab-Business-births-and-deaths-by-UK-region
- 5ONS Wales employment figures (December 2012) and annual Gross Value Added (GVA) statistics for Wales
About Nesta: www.nesta.org.uk
Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation. We help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills.
We are an independent charity and our work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery. Nesta Operating Company is a registered charity in England and Wales with a company number 7706036 and charity number 1144091. Registered as a charity in Scotland number SC042833. Registered office: 1 Plough Place, London, EC4A 1DE.