Staffordshire Business Innovation Centre has secured funding to offer Staffordshire businesses the support of an experienced business adviser.
“all at no cost to you”
How we can help?
• Grants of £5,400 available now (40% intervention on £13,500)
• Your own personal business advisor to help develop your business
• Ongoing support
• Suite of innovation workshops
• Access to information on additional funding
• Collaboration between researchers and companies
• Specialist intensive assistance (Marketing, Finance, ICT)
• Generate ideas for new or improved products and services
“focusing on collaborations which are about transferring good ideas, research results and skills between the knowledge base and business to enable innovative new products and services to be developed”
EIT Raw Materials are seeking innovative ideas from individuals, research team, entrepreneurs and early startup for new products, process and services.
Deadline for submissions is 31 May 2017
UP to 12,000 Euros, free training and webinars and support along the way
We would like to congratulate everybody who was shortlisted for the Sentinel Business Awards on Thursday 30 March 2017 and in particular to Johnson Tiles who won the Innovation Award sponsored by the BIC:
NESTA is an independent charity that works to increase the innovation capacity of the UK. It acts through a combination of practical programmes, investment, policy research and the formation of partnerships to promote innovation across a broad range of sectors. As such it has a really good insight into what organisations and companies are researching and investing in for the future and is certainly an organisation the BIC is closely linked to.
There are 10 NESTA predictions for 2017, I previously looked at the first six Predictions which can be seen on our website and now look at the final four predictions which I hope you find of interest.
A New Artistic Approach to Virtual Reality
As artists blur the boundaries between real and virtual, the way we create and consume art will be transformed in 2017. AR and VR are also being embraced beyond the gaming industry, as museum curators and artists start to explore the potential these technologies have to help them better engage with their audiences and art creation will become more collaborative and playful .
The technologies behind virtual art will also have an impact on the artists themselves as they will need certain skills to reproduce them beyond their artistic skills. Questions will also arise – can a virtual painting or sculpture be stolen, hijacked or pirated? Who will own the art? The artist or the technology provider who enabled the realisation of the work in the first place?
Hopefully it won’t destroy traditional visual arts – after all, photography didn’t wipe out painting as an art form. Quite the opposite, it will blur the boundaries between real and virtual and provide new avenues for artistic expression until the next radical art-enabling technologies emerge.
Computer Says No: The Backlash
In 2017, public disquiet about the decisions that algorithms make, the way they affect us, and the lack of debate around their introduction, will become mainstream. An algorithm is a step-by-step sequence of rules that sets out how to make a decision about something – computer programs are nothing but complex algorithms that tell computer hardware how to make decisions. Algorithms have replaced human decisions in huge swathes of life. While removing human biases can make decision making fairer in some cases, it is not necessarily always the case.
In the coming year, the backlash against algorithmic decisions will begin in earnest. The trigger could take many forms. It could be a politician forced to resign over fake news pushed by a news algorithm. It might be a murder committed by a violent thug released on bail thanks to court software. It might be an employer successfully sued over a discriminatory recruitment system or a pedestrian killed by a self-driving car that’s protecting its passenger.
But it is algorithmic decision making as a whole that will be in the firing line when the controversy comes to life.
When this happens expect business to start advertising algorithm-free services, ranging from mortgages approved by real bank managers, to a resurgence of news websites with humans curating the content. Just as customers are willing to pay more for food without genetically modified crops or pesticides, people will place a premium on decisions made by humans if they don’t trust the machines.
Next Generation Social Movement for Health
We have already heard of incredible stories of the power of passionate people working together to drive change, not just in the healthcare system, but in the wider culture and environment in which health and healthcare happen. They use social media, protests, campaigns, self-organising, sharing knowledge and other means to change minds and systems. For example, the disability rights movement and HIV/AIDS campaigns have engaged with social attitudes, stigma and justice.
In the future they will be increasingly enabled by digital technology, with movement leaders and members communicating, collaborating and co-ordinating across nations and continents without ever meeting in person bringing the world closer to people’s experiences. However there are real difficulties for established health and care organisations to work alongside people who are ‘raging and roaring’. The challenge therefore is how social movements and the health and care system can engage together in ways that forge new paths and develop ‘win-win’ solutions, rather than fighting each other.
How Brexit turned the UK German
When Britain voted to leave the European Union, few people expected it would result in the UK becoming more like Germany, the country that runs the European show. But that’s what has ended up happening. Brexit inspired the government to invest £23 billion in infrastructure, skills and research just like in America, Israel, Finland and, of course, Germany.
It is now expected that there will be a rise in urban devolution driven by Scotland, Wales and certain major cities such as Manchester already pushing for a Northern Powerhouse. As a result public investment will increase across the country, and places outside the South East will see the benefit. Some would call it the growing Bundesrepublik of GB.
Followed on by the increasingly illiberal United States under Donald Trump and from France under Marine Le Pen, Britain and Germany, having seemed on a collision course at the end of 2016, will find increasing common ground, striking accords on joint defence, trade and diplomacy.
Brexit seems to ironically have brought Britain closer to Germany, economically, politically and constitutionally. Will Britain end up the better for it?
NESTA is an independent charity that works to increase the innovation capacity of the UK. It acts through a combination of practical programmes, investment, policy research and the formation of partnerships to promote innovation across a broad range of sectors.
As such it has a really good insight into what organisations and companies are researching and investing in for the future and is certainly an organisation the BIC is closely linked to.
There are 10 NESTA predictions for 2017, I considered three of them in Part 2 – here are another three:
The Rise of the Armchair Volunteer
For many years, the word volunteer has conjured up images of well-meaning ladies who lunch, stoically manning the soup kitchen for the homeless or serving tea to the elderly once a week. As more people work from home it is anticipated that volunteering will in the future also come from the home where people can man phones for charities, provide lecturing and seminars from home and even respond to queries by texts/e-mails from home.
Nesta’s prediction is that 2017 might just be the year of micro-volunteering and data donation, with cheap technologies allowing everyone to volunteer from home for short and sweet periods of time, no matter how much time they have to give.
As domestic and geopolitical tensions continue to rise, governments will find it increasingly hard to function amidst a constant barrage of uncontrollable information and the threat of cyberattacks, making them grow more wary of the internet’s influence.
The idea of splitting up the internet into different, balkanized internets – with a completely separate infrastructure – is not new. Like Brazil, the Germans (who don’t look too kindly upon government spying) took action after Snowden’s revelations and started looking into the construction of an “Internetz”, a German-only (with the possibility of expanding to the rest of the European Union) network. The current state of this project is unclear. China and Russia are looking at their own infrastructures too.
With several candidates out there, who will pull the trigger first is difficult to say. Will it be one of the usual suspects like China? Europe? Or even Trump’s America itself? What we do know is that the time of the internet of fun and games, of unfettered access, is quickly coming to an end.
Classroom Conundrums Tackled Together
The kids are coding. They’re making websites, programmes and apps. Slowly, but surely, we’re chipping away at the digital skills shortage. But what happens next? What’s the next skills gap crying out to be addressed?
Research suggests skills more ancient and human – the ones harder to automate and therefore more valuable in the long-term – creativity, dexterity and social intelligence and the ability to solve non-routine problems will top the list.
The people with these skills will be most resilient to changes in the jobs market. In 2017 educators will sit up and take a hard look at the skills needed for a better economy and stronger society, such as collaborative problem solving (CPS).
At its simplest level CPS is about solving problems together – a skill that is as useful in today’s workplace as it will be in tomorrow’s. There will be less focus in the classroom on predictable and routine tools and more on giving children the skills to ask questions and relate their knowledge and tools to a series of problems – a more rounded curriculum of knowledge and skills.
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