The UK is an innovation leader and has been historically, because of the new products, solutions and inspiring work created by our world class inventors and entrepreneurs. The UK does not have a monopoly on creative thinkers. For example Walt Disney, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs are listed here alongside other Brits on 7 Great Creative Thinkers in History. And this list of THE 12 GREATEST INNOVATORS OF ALL TIME adds Bill Gates and The Wright Bros. It’s notable in these lists how US and Euro-centric the lists are. Some claim, we undervalue the rest of the world, for example, the great Chinese inventors, listed here, such as Sun Song should feature far more prominently. I would add Sun Tzu who whilst a military strategist is the father of all writing on strategy. Even so….with 0.9% of the world’s population the UK enjoys 3.2% of the world’s R&D expenditure in universities and businesses according to Innovate UK and our research base is responsible for:
- 140, 000 papers a year
- 16% of the world’s most influential academic papers
- 10.9% of citations in patents worldwide
A History of Innovation – The Industrial Revolution
From 1760 for around 80 years Great Britain led the world in terms of innovation and industrial growth. This is very well covered by IN OUR TIME from BBC Radio 4. And also The Consequences of The Industrial Revolution from the same programme. What I found most fascinating, listening to the programme, was the fierce debate and disagreement between the expert professors as to whether the UK was first and best to experience the Industrial Revolution, at the time, due to circumstances or to innovators. One of the radio programme’s contributors would not have it that personality and brilliance played much part! She said it was down to environmental factor including:
- Reliance on economic debt
- Our geographic position
Whilst Melvyn (Lord) Bragg, tried to persuade her that whilst this played a part, surely the great engineers and inventors played a pivotal role, people such as:
There tends to be a view favoured by conservative, free marketers recognising the entrepreneur as a hero figure. And I would favour this view. But recognising the vital need for supporting infrastructure. Britain, perhaps has in its character an eccentric, creative, rebellious streak which encourages innovation! But as part of the current wider business innovation support team in Dorset, I recognise the need to encourage talent.
There are key organisations who encourage and foster ideas. As one of the founder directors of Dorset Business Angels we recognise the crucial role played nationwide and globally by UK Business Angels Association UKBAA. The UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) is the national trade association for angel and early-stage investment, representing over 160 member organisations and around 18,000 investors. Business angels in the UK collectively invest an estimated £1.5 billion per annum and are therefore the UK’s largest source of investment for startups and early-stage businesses seeking to grow.
Dorset – One of the UK’s fastest digital growth areas
A couple of year’s ago, Bournemouth, coming from a very low base, became the UK’s fastest-growing city in the digital economy, with digital start-up incorporations rising 212pc between 2010 and 2013 as was widely reported at the time. Innovation is supported in the area by a number of agencies and organisations including:
- Dorset Business Angels – “Where talent and Investors meet” – here
- Silicon South – Dorset’s not for profit accelerator for startups and growth companies
- Dorset Growth Hub – Financing your Business. Financing your Business · Raising Finance · Invest in Dorset · Support Schemes · Local Banks & Accountants · Managing & Operating Finances see here
- Dormen – Dorset Business Mentoring Programme – here
- Wessex Entrepreneurs – presents regular opportunities to meet on a business and social level with like-minded entrepreneurs – here
The UK is an Innovation Leader and Dorset Plays an active Role
The UK is an innovation leader, and has been historically, because of the new products, solutions and inspiring work created by our world class inventors and entrepreneurs. Dorset plays an active role in this exciting future.
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited