Skills for innovation
Innovation depends on the capacities of individuals to create new knowledge and to apply it in the form of new products and services. This relies on the ability of individuals to create value by connecting fully with the innovation system. A strong skills base is therefore critically important to developing a successful innovation-led economy.
The UK has a mixed record on skills. The growth of our knowledge economy has been supported by a dramatic expansion in the provision of tertiary education. But concerns have been raised about the qualities of graduates emerging from the current system. For example, there has been concern that while the supply of scientists and engineers has gone up, their skills and qualifications may not be well-aligned with the needs of the modern economy. We also have significant weaknesses in intermediate and lower level skills and apparent shortages of individuals with high-level technical skills. The implications of these deficiencies for our innovation ecosystem are poorly understood.
The Big Innovation Centre is undertaking fresh research to develop a clear conception of what skills actually best support innovation in the workplace. There is a need to understand how the different risks and reward structures faced by entrepreneurs acting independently and 'intrapreneurs' operating within corporate environments impact on the skills needed to drive innovation.
Our work builds on this understanding to explore how higher and further educational and technical training institutions can best encourage the development of skills for innovation, both away from and within corporations.
- The high-level business and technical skills needed to drive innovation systems
This research considers how well-tuned our current skills provision is to delivering the mix needed by the innovation ecosystem, and explores where the greatest strategic gaps are in provision.
- Delivering educational and training support
We are examining how innovative capacities can best be supported by training institutions and by employers looking to build innovative organisations. It is also important to consider how the system can best reflect local variations to deliver the skills needed to build successful urban innovation systems. Is there a way to improve the mechanisms through which career and labour market information are used and understood?