Prof. Jon Fairburn

About Prof. Jon Fairburn

Professor of Sustainable Development. EU projects have been funded under INTERREG, GRUNDTVIG, FP7, ERASMUS, TRANSVERSALS

Volunteering at the Stone Food Festival

By Grace Hurst L6 Events Management student

As the first weekend of October approaches, it’s not just the locals who anticipate The Stone Food and Drink Festival every year. After going virtual in 2020, with no live events taking place at all, it was a pleasure to volunteer at this year’s 2021 festival. Volunteering opportunities have been sparse over the last 18 months and many small businesses have taken a huge hit, meaning many events need all the help they can get, so I’m here to talk about my experience and how to get involved as an event volunteer yourself!

Stone Food and Drink Festival is located at Westbridge park in Stone and has been running since 2004. It’s a not-for-profit community event that supports local businesses, giving them a platform to showcase what they do and providing a fun filled event celebrating all things food and drink. The festival has a wide range of options to suit anyone, from local craft beers and liqueurs to street food and desserts in the Gourmet Marquee (which can all be enjoyed alongside volunteering!).

Grace (centre) in the Chefs demonstration tent
Grace (centre) in the Chefs demonstration tent

I represented Staffordshire University as an event marshal and as a third-year events management student. I spent the majority of the day networking with local businesses in and around Stone or helping out at the Demonstration Kitchen and the Talks and Tastings tent. This included encouraging guests to join the live events in each tent, handing out samples and being a friendly face for attendees to approach and ask general questions to.

The vendors and organisers were grateful to have a helping hand on the day and it was a lot of fun being able to watch demonstrations from business owners and to gain an insight to what an event looks like behind the scenes.

Tent
There is a huge amount of cover at the festival which means even with rain people can have a great time
Flamin’ Rooster is just one of many great food stalls at the event

Small Business Spotlight

  • Joules –Joules Brewery are the main sponsor for the festival, who have recently opened a new venue called The Crown Wharf which opened in July 2021 and is located on Crown Street in Stone. The taphouse has become extremely popular with locals due to the friendly staff, lively atmosphere and of course, great beer! The new project also aims to bring a community theatre to the establishment calledThe Crown Wharf Theatre as there is currently no purpose-built event space in Stone where local arts and community groups can join to enhance their creativity and passions. They are looking for volunteers here.
  • Ten Green Bottles – Ten Green Bottles is a gin and craft beer bar who currently have two venues in Newcastle-Under-Lyme and Stone. The business attended the festival to talk the latest drink trends alongside Stafford Distillery, sharing their knowledge of quality cocktails and recommending the best ingredients. As well as handing out samples of their cocktail containing lychee gin infused with passionfruit liqueur and tonic (yum!), they also had a pop-up bar and a stall to purchase their products from. To check out all things cocktail, visit their websites linked.
Gin bar
Gin bar

Community events such as this one are so rewarding to volunteer at, as well as being a lot of fun to be a part of, particularly for students interested in areas such as events management like myself. At the event I gained valuable experience to put into practice at future events I either volunteer at or host myself and am looking forward to the next project! If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer for next year or just want to attend yourself as a guest, visit Stone Food and Drink Festival’s website

If you’re a student at Staffordshire University looking for volunteer opportunities ask your tutors and try the Careers service

Get in touch with Grace through her linkedin profile

Business Research Seminar Series 2021-2022

The Research Seminar Series during the period October 2021 – January 2022 will be centered around the topics of innovation and entrepreneurship and will include the talks by Ema Talam, Dr Frederick Nyakudya, Professor Geoff Pugh and Dr Nebojsa Stojcic.

All our research seminars will be held on the last Wednesday of the month (detailed schedule is provided below) between 12.00 – 13.00 via Microsoft Teams

12.00-13.00, 27th October Innovation policies: How to enable firms to innovate more? – Speaker Ema Talam, Lecturer in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Staffordshire University

12.00-13.00, 24th November The effect of gender and resources on entrepreneurial activitySpeaker Dr Frederick Nyakudya, Senior Lecturer in Innovation and Entrepreneurhip, Staffordshire University

12.00-13.00, 15th December Promoting innovation by SME’S in traditional manufacturing industries: Why and how? – Speaker Geoff Pugh, Professor of Applied Economics, Staffordshire University

12.00-13.00, 26th January The spatial impact of entrepreneurial zones: Firm, city and inter-city evidence – Speaker Dr Nebojsa Stojcic, Vice Rector for Business affairs, University of Dubrovnik and Visiting Professor Staffordshrie University

Please contact Ema Talam (organiser of the series) if you have any queries ema.talam@staffs.ac.uk

Ema Talam and Dr Frederick Nyakudya both work on the new Help to Grow project linking research with knowledge exchange to regional businesses. Sign up now if your business would benefit from training and mentoring.

New Air Quality Guidelines from the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization has released new air quality guidelines (the first since 2005) which show that most people live in areas with poor air quality for one or more pollutants.

The new standards are the result of an enormous scietific review which has taken place over the last few years. The headline changes can be seen in Table 1 below

New Air quality stanards from WHO

I’m pleased to say I had a small part in the process attending a couple of international meetings to discuss and report on a systematic review that was carried out for WHO namely:

Fairburn, J.; Schüle, S.A.; Dreger, S.; Karla Hilz, L.; Bolte, G. Social Inequalities in Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution: A Systematic Review in the WHO European Region. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health201916, 3127. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173127

The UK along with many other European countries had already been struggling to meet air quality standards agreed years ago with actions by the Commission against 18 member states.Of particular note are the new standards set for Nitrogen oxides and Particulates (PM2.5) which will be especially challenging.

The situation is already so bad in many UK cities that Clean Air Zones are either in place or being planned for many cities including Stoke on Trent, Bristol, Birmingham , and Manchester.

A large number of research programmes are examining ways to deal with this issue including Transitions Network (I chair the Advisory Board of this project), BioAirNet, Breathing City, CleanAirV, HEICCAM, and TAPAS.

The EU has already stated that they will be placing greater empahsis on the WHO standards and have recently opened a consultation on cleaner air.

Good practice exists particularly for some cities in continental Europe – the problem in the UK has long been a lack of political will to deal with the problem BUT radical measures will be needed to get the UK anywhere near to these standards and so reduce the 40,000 premature deaths due to air pollution which happen in the UK every year.

WHO Guidelines for air quality 2021

WHO AIR QUALITY GUIDELINES 2021

Resources

Air pollution data for every European country 1990-2019

Costs and health aspects of air pollution in the UK

State of Global Air and profiles for lots of countries

I maintain an air quality list on twitter here and you can follow me @profjonfairburn

You can read about some of my recent work with the World Health Organization here

Beth’s guide to Stoke and Staffordshire

By Beth Bairstow-Morris

Staffordshire University is my home university, and, in September, I’ll be heading into my third and final year of BA (Hons) Events Management. Having lived in Staffordshire for almost all my life, I’ve tried and tested the best places for students to eat, drink and visit, and I’m here to tell you all about them!

Let’s start with some on-campus student union run facilities and the two favourite hangouts for my uni friends and I: Ember Lounge and Squeeze Box. Ember Lounge serves classic pub food and drinks and is the perfect place to spend a break from studying or grab some food with friends after a day of lectures. Squeeze Box is my favourite place to head for a bite to eat in the morning, along with either a takeout coffee or one of their infamous freshly squeezed orange juices or smoothies!

Lots of individual shops as well as events and gardens to see at Trentham Gardens
Lots of individual shops as well as events and gardens to see at Trentham Gardens

Moving on, we have the lovely Trentham Estate, an important local attraction to mention for many reasons. Firstly, their Event Volunteer programme, if nobody has told you already, it won’t be long before your lecturers and industry pros are emphasising the importance of volunteering to gain experience ready for your placement and graduate job applications, whatever course you’re taking. Trentham have a fantastic volunteer programme and last year I successfully applied and have worked on several events including the Christmas Fairy Lights experience, the summer concerts and market research for Trentham Live 2022!

With so many events, restaurants and attractions on offer, Trentham Estate is a great place to head for a day or evening out with friends and a fantastic place to catch up with family when they come to visit. Who wouldn’t love a trip to the Monkey Forest to get away from assignments for a while!? There’s even a Premier Inn on site you can recommend to your parents so they don’t have to crash in your flat!

A few weeks back, I headed to The Crepe & Waffle House in the Shopping Village for a catchup with my Aunty, which certainly suited both our sweet tastes!

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are filled with arts and culture, so what better place to take you to next than the Cultural Quarter in Hanley? Piccadilly and the surrounding area are home to a variety of entertainment venues including The Regent Theatre, showcasing phenomenal touring productions, and The Sugarmill, a great place to head to for local music and small gigs, as well as some great restaurants and cafes like The Slamwich Club and The Quarter.

Most recently, I visited The Quarter for lunch with my friend. Their menu is split into a Daytime Menu and an Evening Menu and the range of options is HUGE, with traditional classics, all-day breakfast and brunch and even Mediterranean style platters! I ordered the egg and salmon sourdough from the all-day brunch menu and my friend had the battered cod with chunky chips from the selection of main dishes. (My friend said she was still dreaming of the battered cod days later!)

Just a little further along in the Cultural Quarter, you’ll find the Mitchell Arts Centre, a small local theatre with a Café-Bar and even a dance studio and meeting rooms to hire. As someone who’s heavily involved in the local amateur theatre scene, I’ve spent a LOT of time here: watching performances, taking part in performances and volunteering (yes, more volunteering!) as Marketing & Events Officer for Stoke Amateur Theatre Society.

Last but not least, it would be incredibly remiss of me to not mention the UK’s largest theme park, the Alton Towers Resort. Of course, this is a GREAT place to have right on your doorstep, whether that’s for a thrilliant day out with friends or for some fantastical escapism with the family when they visit. You can find some great student offers on admission here!

It’s also a great place to work as student, with plenty of seasonal opportunities on offer, particularly if you are studying Events Management or Visitor Attraction & Resort Management. I currently work as a Team Leader on the Guest Excellence Team and have gained invaluable experience and loved every minute of working at the Resort!

For Events in Autumn 2021 have a look at Jon Fairburn’s blog by clicking here


University wide clearing – 0800 590 830

Courses available in clearing at the Business School

Call our friendly team of Clearing experts on 0800 590 830 who are on hand to support you through the process, or sign up to one of our free events: www.staffs.ac.uk/clearing

Events for Autumn 2021 in Staffordshire

Here’s a pick of some of the great events available if you are joining us at Staffordshire University this Autumn. There’s also a list of venues and other information sources at the end for more events

Sept

3-5th Trentham Live featuring McFly, The Vamps and Alfie Boe at Trentham Gardens

7th Nick Cave and Warren Ellis at the Regent Theatre

11th Sept to 17th October British Ceramics Biennial , all things ceramics with events all over the city. The main location is the Good Yard just round the corner from the Stoke campus. (I wrote about the longer term plan for the Goods Yard here).

18th LOL Comedy Club at the Regent Theatre

18th and 19th Balloon Festival at Uttoxeter Racecourse

23rd The Vaccines at the Sugarmill

26th Potteries Arf Marathon get your running shoes on or just watch

October

1st Manic Street Preachers at Victoria Hall, Hanley

1st – 3rd Stone Food Festival (the best food festival in the region). Take a short train journey from Stoke to Stone or cycle along the canal path weather permitting.

4th Comedian Josh Widdicombe at the Regent Theatre

8th Scarefest at Alton Towers

8th – 9th Oktoberfest in Hanley Park right next to the Stoke campus

November

9-13th Derren Brown Showman at the Regent Theatre

22-23rd Love Cheese Live at the Staffordshire County Show Ground

23-24th Comedian Jimmy Carr at the Victoria Hall

26th Modfather Paul Weller at the Victoria Hall

Useful entertainment links

University wide clearing – 0800 590 830

Courses available in clearing at the Business School

Call our friendly team of Clearing experts on 0800 590 830 who are on hand to support you through the process, or sign up to one of our free events: http://orlo.uk/VJY7l

Just one of the many great events on this Autumn
Just one of the many great events on this Autumn

New book – City Regions and Devolution in the UK

David Beel (MMU), Martin Jones (Staffordshire University) and Ian Rees Jones (Cardiff University) have a new book out.

About the book

Rich in case study insights, the book provide a critque of city-region building and considers how governance restructuring shapes the political, economic, social and cultural geographies of devolution. Case studies include Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Swansea Bay City Region, Cardiff Capital Region and the North Wales Growth Deal.

Book cover

To purchase the book follow this link

An open access EPDF and EPUB is available on this link

Martin Jones is Deputy Vice Chancellor and Professor of Human Geography at Staffordshrie University. He works closely with colleagues in Staffordshire Business School on regional industrial startegy and the political economy. He tweets @spatialityjones

Webinar: Air Quality Inequity for Clean Air Day 2021

On Clean Air Day 17th June 2021, the Environment Agency will be hosting presentations and panel discussions on environmental equity and presenting interim findings from the ‘Joint Air Quality Health Inequalities’ project. Join us to hear the latest air quality and inequity updates with a focus on the ‘lived experiences’ of those most effected by inequity.

Date: Thursday 17th June 2021 Time 10:00 – 12:00

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84418088277?pwd=L09oU0grYkYraFBVeEVMbTJWTkp2QT09

Meeting ID: 844 1808 8277 Passcode: 7ARbT0

Overview:

At a population level air pollution presents the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. Air pollution can lead to both short and long term health term issues for all, but impacts on some groups more than others, such as the young and elderly, minority ethnic communities, those living in areas of high deprivation, those with existing health inequities and those working in high exposure jobs. We know that the inequities gap is widening and that these inequities have been exacerbated by Covid-19.

Webinar 1# : Inequities, Challenges, ‘AQ Inequalities Project’ Summary & Review

Overview: Framing key issues and the main challenges that exist, as well as presenting interim findings from the ‘Joint Air Quality Inequalities’ project.

Time: 10:00 – 11:00

  • Presentation on ‘Joint Air quality Inequalities Project’ – Joe Swift & Julian Watkins (Environment Agency)

Webinar 2#: Lived Experiences – Outcomes/Actions/Solutions

Overview: NGO and community action and lived experience; exploring success stories; interventions and innovative projects.

Time: 11:00 – 12:00

  • Panel discussion

#CleanAirDay

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84418088277?pwd=L09oU0grYkYraFBVeEVMbTJWTkp2QT09

Meeting ID: 844 1808 8277 Passcode: 7ARbT0 Time 10.00-12.00 17th June

Author details

Jon Fairburn is Professor Sustainable Development at Staffordshire University. He maintains an air quality list on twitter here. You can access his publications here.

Email jon.fairburn@staffs.ac.uk

Clean Air Day 2021
#CleanAirDay 2021

Research on SME innovation especially in traditional manufacturing regions Part 2

By Prof Geoff Pugh and Prof Jon Fairburn

Part 1 of this article can be found here

  • Radicic, D., Pugh, G. and Douglas, D. (2018). Promoting cooperation in innovation ecosystems: Evidence from European traditional manufacturing SMEs, Small Business Economics. Accepted 01-08-2018. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-018-0088-3

Abstract

We investigate whether public support for innovation increases the propensity of SMEs in traditional manufacturing industries to cooperate for innovation—in particular, for incremental innovation—with other firms and external knowledge providers. Using data from seven EU regions, we find that support programmes do not promote cooperation with competitors, marginally promote cooperation with customers and suppliers and strongly promote cooperation with knowledge providers. These findings suggest that, in this case, the role of public policy is systems conforming rather than systems creating. Innovation support programmes can assist SMEs in traditional manufacturing industry to consolidate and/or extend their innovation ecosystems beyond familiar business partners by promoting cooperation with both private and public sector knowledge providers. Finally, our findings suggest that evaluation studies of innovation support programmes should be designed to capture not only input and/or output additionality but also behavioural and systemic effects.

Keywords

SMEs; Traditional manufacturing industry; Innovation ecosystems; Innovation policy; Cooperation for innovation; Behavioural additionality 

  • Radicic, D., Douglas, D., Pugh, G. and Jackson, I. (2018). Cooperation for innovation and its impact on technological and non-technological innovations: empirical evidence for European SMEs in traditional manufacturing industries, International Journal of Innovation Management. Accepted 07-09-2018. https://doi.org/10.1142/S1363919619500464

Abstract.

Drawing on a sample of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in traditional manufacturing industries from seven EU regions, this study investigates how cooperation with external organisations affects technological (product and process) innovations and non-technological (organisational and marketing) innovations as well as the commercial success of product and process innovations (i.e., innovative sales). Our empirical strategy takes into account that all four types of innovation are potentially complementary. Empirical results suggest that cooperation increases firms’ innovativeness and yields substantial commercial benefits. In particular, increasing the number of cooperation partnerships has a positive impact on all measures of innovation performance. We conclude that a portfolio approach to cooperation enhances innovation performance and that innovation support programs should be demand-led.

From the MAPEER project:

  • Radicic, D. and Pugh, G (2016).  R&D programmes, policy mix, and the “European Paradox”: evidence from European SMEs, Science and Public Policy, 44 ( 4 ) ( 2017 ), pp. 497 – 512. doi: 10.1093/scipol/scw077. First published online: October 2, 2016.

Abstract

Using a sample of small and medium-sized enterprises from twenty-eight European countries, this study evaluates the input and output additionality of national and European Union (EU) R&D programmes both separately and in combination. Accordingly, we contribute to understanding the effectiveness of innovation policy from the perspective of policy mix. Empirical results are different for innovation inputs and outputs. For innovation inputs, we found positive treatment effects from national and EU programmes separately as well as complementary effects for firms supported from both sources relative to firms supported only by national programmes. For innovation outputs, we report no evidence of additionality from national programmes and cannot reject crowding out from EU programmes. However, crowding out from EU support is eliminated by combination with national support. These findings have policy implications for the governance of R&D policy and suggest that the European paradox—success in promoting R&D inputs but not commercialisation—is not yet mitigated.

Key words: R&D support; SMEs; policy mix; input and output additionality; European paradox

  • Radicic, D. and Pugh, G. (2017). Performance Effects of External Search Strategies in European Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. Journal of Small Business Management, 55, 76-114. First published on-line: Feb.15th 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jsbm.12328                                      

Abstract.

There is little evidence regarding the performance impact of open innovation on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially across different firm-size categories and sectors. Using new survey data from 28 European countries, we specify ordered logit and generalized proportional odds models to explore how seven individual external search strategies (knowledge sources) affect SME innovation performance across different size categories and sectors. While we find some consistently positive effects, in particular from using customers as an external knowledge source, we also find that some search strategies may not be beneficial. These findings suggest managerial and policy implications.

  • Radicic, D. (2020). National and international R&D support programmes and technology scouting in European small and medium enterprises. Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management 11(4), 455-482.  https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTPM-10-2019-0091

Abstract

Purpose. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of national and international R&D support programmes on firms’ technology scouting, defined as firms’ use of external knowledge sources.

Design/methodology/approach. Drawing on a unique data set on R&D support programmes for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in both manufacturing and service sectors across 28 European countries, this study reports treatment effects estimated by the copula-based endogenous switching model, which takes into account unobserved firm heterogeneity.

Findings. Empirical results indicate that R&D support programmes have heterogeneous effects on technology scouting. In particular, a crowding-out effect arises in the case of informal sources of external knowledge, whereas additional effects are reported for formal, strategic sources.

Practical implications. For informal sources of external knowledge, a random distribution of R&D measures would have a substantially larger effect rather than using current selection criteria.

Originality/value. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to explore the policy effects on technology scouting applying a copula-based endogenous switching model. Most cross-sectional empirical studies use matching estimators, although their main disadvantage is the selection on observables.

Key words External knowledge search; Behavioural additionality; Copula-based endogenous switching model; European SMEs; Technology

Email g.t.pugh@staffs.ac.uk or jon.fairburn@staffs.ac.uk

Part 1 of this article can be found here

Research on SME innovation especially in traditional manufacturing regions Part 1

By Prof Geoff Pugh and Prof Jon Fairburn

Introduction

About the projects

The two projects are the following.

  • GPrix project (November 2009 – February 2012) commissioned by the European Commission’s DG-Research. Full title: Good Practices in Innovation Support Measures for SMEs: facilitating transition from the traditional to the knowledge economy; Instrument: SP4-Capacities—CSA—Support Action; Call: FP7-SME-2009-1; Grant agreement Number: 245459. The website for this project, including aa very large number of deliverables etc., is currently available at http://business.staffs.ac.uk/gprix/en/index.htm
  • MAPEER project commissioned by the European Commission’s DG-Research. Full title: Making Progress and Economic Enhancement a Reality for SMEs. Funded under FP7-SME. Grant agreement ID: 245419. The MAPEER project website is no longer available but the results are reported in summary form on CORDIS: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/93511/factsheet/en

The two projects coordinated their questionnaire surveys to facilitate analysis and eventual publication. Together, participants at Staffordshire University contributed to seven publications arising from these datasets.

The GPrix project focused on evaluating innovation support measures for SMEs in traditional manufacturing industries. In brief, three published articles and a UNI-MERIT Working Paper arising from the project reported that:

  • the estimated effects of innovation support programs are positive, typically increasing the probability of innovation and of its commercial success;
  • although innovation support measures in the EU are mostly designed to support product innovation in R&D intensive sectors, for firms in traditional manufacturing industries a broader innovation (policy) mix is more appropriate, including support for product innovation, process innovation, marketing and organizational innovations (of particular importance), together with internationalization, design and cooperation;
  • innovation support programmes can assist SMEs in traditional manufacturing industry to consolidate and/or extend their innovation ecosystems by promoting cooperation with both private and public sector knowledge providers, suggesting that initial input and/or output additionality from public support may be propagated and amplified by behavioural and systemic effects; and
  • increasing the number of cooperation partnerships has a positive impact on all measures of innovation performance.

The MAPEER project focused on innovation support for SMEs more generally. Three articles arising from this project reported:

  • that the “European paradox” regarding SME support — i.e. success in promoting R&D inputs but not commercialisation — is not yet mitigated;
  • new evidence on “open innovation” strategies, suggesting not only some consistently positive effects, in particular from using customers as an external knowledge source, but also that some search strategies may not be beneficial;  and
  • evidence that R&D support programmes have heterogeneous effects on technology scouting – defined as firms’ use of external knowledge sources – including a crowding-out effect on informal sources of external knowledge but additionality with respect to  formal, strategic sources.

For convenience, the abstracts of all seven contributions are reproduced below

From the GPrix project:

  • Radicic, D., Pugh, G., Hollanders, H., Wintjes, J., and Fairburn, J. (2016). The impact of innovation support programs on small and medium enterprises innovation in traditional manufacturing industries: An evaluation for seven European Union regions. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 34(8) (December): 1425-1452. First published online December 18, 2015. doi:10.1177/0263774X15621759 

Abstract

We evaluate the effect of innovation support programs on output innovation by small and medium enterprises in traditional manufacturing industry. This focus is motivated by a definition of traditional manufacturing industry that includes capacity for innovation, and by evidence of its continued importance in European Union employment. We conducted a survey in seven European Union regions to generate the data needed to estimate pre-published switching models by means of the copula approach, from which we derived treatment effects on a wide range of innovation outputs. We find that for participants the estimated effects of innovation support programs are positive, typically increasing the probability of innovation and of its commercial success by around 15%. Yet, we also find that a greater return on public investment could have been secured by supporting firms chosen at random from the population of innovating traditional sector small and medium enterprises. These findings indicate the effectiveness of innovation support programs while suggesting reform of their selection procedures.

Keywords

Small and medium enterprises, evaluation, traditional manufacturing, innovation support, innovation outputs

Abstract

Innovation support measures in the EU are mostly designed to support product innovation in R&D intensive sectors. To increase the still considerable contribution to regional employment and competitiveness from SMEs in traditional manufacturing industries a broader innovation (policy) mix is more appropriate. This paper draws data from a survey of more than 300 SMEs from seven regions within the European Union, as well as case studies, to address the question: How can innovation policy interventions be improved to support SMEs in traditional manufacturing industries more effectively? We claim that innovation support should be sensitive to the way SMEs in traditional manufacturing sectors innovate and grow. We find that product innovation (and support used for product innovation) is less likely to generate growth, than (support used for) process innovation. Also (support used for) marketing innovations and organizational innovations are of particular importance – together with internationalization, design and cooperation. The increasingly selective application procedures applied are not the most efficient to generate impact, since those who are supported (and those who are supported more frequently), are the ones who are most likely to take the same innovative steps anyhow, irrespective of policy support.

Keywords

Innovation; SMEs; traditional sectors; low-tech; policy evaluation; manufacturing; process innovation

Part 2 of this article can be found here

Email g.t.pugh@staffs.ac.uk or jon.fairburn@staffs.ac.uk

Resilience is the new normal

By Marzena Reska

The global pandemic has put resiliency on the agenda of every company in the world. As they cope with the seismic changes brought about by COVID-19, businesses of all sizes and types have needed to adapt to remote work, reconfigured physical workspaces, and revised logistics and supply networks. They’ve also changed operating procedures to cope with the pandemic’s risks and effects.

But what do companies do now?

The reality is that supply chain shocks are usually impossible to predict but happen with frustrating regularity. That means real value is at stake.

The promising news is that organisations can both protect against downside risks, such as pandemics, and gain substantial economic returns from increased output and productivity. 

The successful organisations  today, and in the years ahead, will redesign their operations and their supply chains to protect against a wider and more acute range of potential shocks and disruptive events. Thus, there is a need for increased visibility on both the demand and supply side.

Supply chain digitization can enable organisations to have visibility across the whole value chain—from the production of raw materials to the end customer—and better meet the needs of their customers. A bonus: it improves the agility and responsiveness of operations without increasing costs. In fact, research by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with McKinsey, shows that companies often achieve significant and simultaneous improvements in multiple performance measures when they integrate advanced digital technologies across the value chain.

Marzena Reska
Marzena Reska

Before the coronavirus hit, most companies were already accelerating the digital transformation of their customer journeys and value chains. The expectation is digital technologies to be at the core of the new normal, enabling organisations to better meet the needs of their customers, and improving the agility and responsiveness of operations without increasing their costs. Companies often achieve significant and simultaneous improvements across multiple performance measures when they integrate advanced digital technologies across the value chain. This  also allows them to build  resilience which is an internal trait, but the disciplines and strategies that support it can also have a far wider reach.

During the crisis, many businesses have been able to overcome staff shortages by automating processes or developing self-service systems for customers. These approaches can accelerate workflows and reduce errors—and customers often prefer them. 

Digital approaches can transform customer experience and significantly boost enterprise value when applied end to end.

Also, technology-enabled methodologies can significantly accelerate cost-transparency work, compressing months of effort into weeks or days. These digital approaches include procurement-spending analysis and clean-sheeting, end-to-end inventory rebalancing, and capital-spend diagnostics and portfolio rationalization.  However, the businesses will need to be smart and careful in their approach. Leading organisations are adopting increasingly sophisticated techniques in their strategic planning, assessing each resource and opportunity very carefully as the environment changes and new data emerge.

Now, with the likelihood of prolonged uncertainty over supply, demand, and the availability of resources COVID-19  represents the trigger for operations functions to adopt an agile approach to transformation.

Useful articles

‘’Risk, Resilience, and rebalancing in global value chains’’, (2020), S. Lund; J. Manyika; J. Wotzel, E. Barribal; B. Krishnan; A. Knut; M.

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/coronavirus-leading-through-the-crisis