Obstacles to Innovation

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Obstacles to Innovation was a document drafted for consultation with Professor Philip Tasker Vice Chancellor, DeMontfort University. The purpose of the document was to lay out case history evidence of the “obstacles to innovation” prevalent in the regional and UK economy. There are many obstacles to innovation but the area that interests us most is regional economic development and the capacity to turn design innovation into new industrial employment. The growth of higher education and the role of the Higher Education Funding Council has been well documented over the past decade. This growth has led to a UK roster of approximately 50,000 UK University researchers with a nominal salary overhead of £50,000 each in an economy that has seen industrial shrinkage of 2% per annum for a decade. As design graduates we are pro education and pro research but if the UK is interested in wealth creation then it should take a look at the HEFCE model and its profound lack of contribution to UK wealth creation. Government and Ministerial expectations include fundamentally flawed expectations of science. Despite renewed commitments and investments in this sector, private sector industrial employment will be very slow to respond to such priorities. The beauty of design is that it is already surrounded by overwhelming volumes of new science and technology perhaps more today than at any other time in human history. The opportunity is to grasp design and design innovation and direct its focus on sustainable products for sustainable industrial employment.

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