Nesta urges action to beat foreign rivals

A report released today calls for less research and more action by high-technology industries if they are to avoid losing business to foreign rivals.

Published by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, it is available at the body’s annual conference today in London.

Calling for ‘total innovation’, the report warns of the danger of becoming trapped in existing technology and business models.

It suggests policy should move towards stimulating a wider set of innovative activities encompassing a broad sector of business.

‘We have noticed that back-end office processes in both the technology and creative industries are becoming increasingly important,’ says one of the report’s authors, Nesta research director Michael Harris.

‘For example, Rolls-Royce now makes a large amount of its revenue from its service provision rather than the actual engines it produces, but that section of the business does not receive any Government support,’ he adds.

The Government and industry need to work together, the report suggests, to develop ‘total innovation strategies’ which will allow technological and creative businesses in the private and public sector to realise their strengths and continue to develop by focusing on these.

A particular concern for the UK, the report notes, is that established businesses in the aerospace, pharmaceuticals and automotive sectors are unprepared for the ways in which international competitors are moving their businesses forward.

The report claims that radical innovation often comes from other countries with less established business models, because they are freer to rethink how they serve their customers.

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