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Cardiff paves way for Whitehall innovation

25 April 2018

Professor Delbridge delivering presentation

The Open Innovation Team have been introduced to the Cardiff Innovation System on a visit to Cardiff Business School to understand ways in which research can be utilised in the Cabinet Office.

With an opening presentation from Professor Rick Delbridge, University Dean of Research, Innovation and Enterprise which covered Cardiff University’s approach to promoting innovation and included a VR tech tour of the University’s forthcoming Social Science Research Park (SPARK), proceedings got underway.

Professor Delbridge was joined by Rhys Thomas, Head of Innovation System and Engagement, and Sally O’Connor, SPARK Programme Manager, who elaborated the Innovation system approach.

The Team also heard about the Responsible Innovation Network from co-founders Professors Tim Edwards and Luigi De Luca.

As well as considering the responsibilities involved in research Professors Edwards and De Luca shared their work on Big Data and innovation.

Professor De Luca delivering presentation

The group were joined for lunch by the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Hywel Thomas, and Professor Phil Brown from the School of Social Sciences to hear about the review Professor Brown is undertaking for Welsh government on digital innovation and skills.

The afternoon session followed with presentations from Professors Rob Morgan and Joe O’Mahoney, and Sarah Lethbridge on Management Consultancy, and building the capacity for innovation through Executive Education and Professional Development.

Ms Lethbridge, Director of Executive Education at Cardiff Business School, also introduced the team to the University’s Leadership and Business Administration programme, one of a suite of open programmes which seek to offer new perspectives on a variety of business and management issues.

Discussion turned to regional innovation and entrepreneurship led by Professor Robert Huggins from the School of Geography and Planning. The closing session was led by Professor James Lewis of the School of Social Sciences, and focused on Y Lab, a partnership between Cardiff University and Nesta, which seeks to address major public services challenges in Wales.

Looking forward

Professor Rick Delbridge said: “This was an excellent day of exchange on areas of shared interest...”

“We heard about the key areas of activity that the Cabinet Office team are working on and Cardiff colleagues spoke about some of the terrific work that is being undertaken at the university.”

Professor Rick Delbridge Professor of Organizational Analysis

“I hope there will be a number of follow up conversations that can lead to further collaboration and exchange of ideas.”

VR tour of SPARK

The Team are set to follow up with Cardiff academics about possible visits to Whitehall where they might present their research on innovation to a wider range of officials.

Stuart Barclay, Senior Policy Advisor for the Open Innovation Team, said: “Our trip to Cardiff Business School was highly informative...”

“Among other things, we heard about new ways to encourage innovation and the barriers that organisations can face. We left excited and look forward to potential collaboration further down the line.”

Stuart Barclay Senior Policy Advisor for the Open Innovation Team

Set up in August 2016, the Open Innovation Team aims to help accelerate innovation across Whitehall by deepening collaboration with academics.

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