A team of experts from the local business community recently came together to discuss their views on innovation, its benefits and the various obstacles that can hinder it. This all happened during the latest episode of the South Yorkshire Policy Pod.
Developed by the three regional Chambers of Commerce (those being Doncaster, Sheffield and Barnsley & Rotherham), each instalment of this quarterly podcast has business leaders sharing their views and engaging in thought-provoking discussions about a given theme.
The conversation topics for these recordings are always informed by the results of the Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), which itself takes place every quarter. The largest and most representative independent poll of business sentiment in the UK, these questionnaires let firms have their say about the issues that are affecting them.
Whether it’s to do with rising costs, political matters, or other financial concerns, it is important that firms take this opportunity to make their voices heard. After all, the survey findings are used to influence decision-making on a regional and even national level (given that they are closely monitored by the likes of the mayoral combined authority and the council), as well as to ensure that the right structures are in place to support businesses.
While a few set questions are featured in every South Yorkshire QES, each one has its own special focus too. The survey for Q1 of this year, was specifically geared towards the theme of “Innovation”, asking what motivates businesses to innovate in the first place, how much they spend on it and who they turn to for support.
To explore these findings, the three South Yorkshire chambers assembled a panel of experts for the new Policy Pod episode. Laura Bennett, from TEAM SY (which stands for Tech Ecosystem Acceleration and Market Making in South Yorkshire) is one of the guests. With a deep understanding of the entrepreneurial world– she is writing a PHD thesis on this subject as well – she is certainly an authority in this area.
Laura was joined by Tom Rumboll, who is the Chief Executive of SYNETIQ. Dedicated to doing the right thing by the environment, this automotive salvage, dismantling and recycling business has been at the cutting edge for a number of years and so Tom was definitely in a good position to talk about innovation on the podcast.
Finally, rounding out the panel was Steve Foxley from Advance Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield. As the CEO for an industry-leading company that carries out studies into the fields of machining, manufacturing and materials, Steve had plenty of insights to offer as well.
Together, these professionals covered a lot of ground. Among other things, they spoke about how the regional economy would benefit from innovation being a higher priority for companies, what the biggest drivers for innovation are in the UK, and why some industries are seemingly better at it than others.
The episode, which you can listen to now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, was hosted by Sound Media founder and general podcast aficionado, James Marriott. Commenting on the end product, he said: “It was a great privilege to hear all of these guests talk about such an important issue. They shared a lot of thought-provoking ideas and insights, bouncing off each other really well with their different areas of expertise. I might be a little biased, but if you are interested in the future of South Yorkshire and its economy, then this is a definite must-listen.”
Echoing these sentiments, Dan Fell, Chief Executive of Doncaster Chamber (which coordinated the launch of this episode) said: “Business innovation across South Yorkshire benefits us all. Doing more of it means that companies will develop new products, services and ways of working that open up opportunities for growth. New jobs, higher productivity and salaries all flow from that.
“The latest Policy Pod episode is a great way to get an inside track on this key issue. Tom Rumboll talks about innovation from an environmental perspective, Steve Foxley focuses on how we can improve business efficiency and Laura Bennet discusses the relationship between innovation and entrepreneurship. Crucially, all contributors, demonstrate that all businesses can be innovative and that innovation is not just the preserve of large companies and academics. Tom, Steve and Laura have all provided great insights and I would encourage business leaders to give the podcast a listen.”
The next Policy Pod episode will be based on the results to the Q2 Quarterly Economic Survey. Currently open to responses, this questionnaire is all about the cost of doing business and cost of living crisis. It also has a special section about what the new South Yorkshire Mayor, Oliver Coppard, should be prioritizing over his first 100 days in office.
Businesses can have their say now, by filling out the 5-minute QES here.