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Jan 21, 2019

CLGdotTV will be talking with Beth regularly in 2019, and with some of the SMEs she mentors, to better understand the difficulties innovators face in getting their good ideas taken up by public sector organisations.

In this introductory conversation, Beth suggests there is general acceptance in the NHS and elsewhere the public sector that harnessing innovation from SMEs is ‘a good thing’.

But making this a reality is a different matter. Traditionally, public sector organisations have not been geared up to buy ‘innovation’ and increasingly formalised procurement processes are pushing them to be over-prescriptive in their specifications.

Innovation schemes and associated funding need to foster and enable collaboration and partnerships with SMEs, since sustainable innovation will only come from deep understanding of challenges that need to be overcome.

Expecting SMEs to work from outside complex public sector organisations and come up with fully finished, readily procurable products and services is not realistic. Within the NHS, initiatives being developed by Academic Health Science Networks are helping, while in the local authority sector, the Department of Communities’ Local Digital Fund is enabling SMEs to work alongside councils on a range of exploratory ‘discovery ‘ projects