Innovation

Encouraging employee-led creativity and innovations improves productivity.

In a nutshell

Innovation works for companies by improving business practices, products, processes and profits; it works for people by improving and enriching lives; and it works for Scotland by driving growth and productivity.

What's the business benefit?

Some of the key practical benefits of innovation are:

  • improved productivity;
  • reduced costs;
  • increased competitiveness;
  • improved brand recognition and value;
  • new partnerships and relationships;
  • increased turnover and improved profitability;
  • sustainability;
  • competitive advantage.

Why is this included in the Scottish Business Pledge?

Innovation is key to business competitiveness. Our businesses and brands need to innovate in order to keep pace with faster-moving competition, which will help to maximise Scotland’s employment prospects and wealth creation. We often think of innovation in terms of Eureka moments. Yet, in business it’s a persistent, sustained and long-term process.

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Why is this good for Scotland?

Strengthening levels of innovation is one of the cornerstones of the Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy.

In other parts of the world, businesses often invest much more in innovation than we currently do in Scotland. They invest in Research & Development (R&D); in new software; in training their people; in developing more effective organisations – all with a view to delivering tangible improvements in productivity and long-term profitability. And, for economic growth, it’s just as effective as investment in tangible assets like machinery.

So, in terms of international competitiveness, it’s important that Scotland continues to push forward – creating new customer-led ideas that contribute to the country’s reputation for advanced thinking and high-quality products.

What should I do now?

We will recognise your Business Pledge if you are able to demonstrate some of the following:

  • You have developed a new product or process;
  • You are investing in and reaping the benefits of new technologies or equipment;
  • You are using the collective intelligence of your staff to design and implement new ways of working;
  • You have changed how you market and commercialise your services;
  • You have an innovation action plan or product development programme;
  • You have Continuing Professional Development (CPD) plan to demonstrate how you will grow skills within your business to support innovation;
  • You can demonstrate the importance of upskilling your existing workforce in this context;
  • You have an employee suggestion box for operational improvements.

What help is available if I can't make the commitment right now?

Our enterprise agencies can help businesses innovate in lots of different ways:

  • Exploring new services – processes, designs, business models, products, technologies and changing how you use your resources;
  • Deeper innovation – helping existing innovators to increase their national and international sales and generate stronger growth;
  • Sector innovation – working with wider industry to focus on niche capabilities and tackle sector wide problems;
  • Workplace innovation – encouraging more organisations to engage more employees in the innovation journey using people-centred innovation;
  • Open and customer innovation – opening up innovation to external resources and knowledge to help solve difficult problems, e.g. in the public sector.

Public sector support for business innovation is provided by our enterprise and skills agencies – Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, and the Scottish Funding Council. Our agencies, colleges and universities have played a key role in developing this environment and in helping our businesses to thrive and grow.

Scottish Enterprise support companies and sectors to innovate through increased research and development, new products, services, markets and business models.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise accelerate business growth by supporting businesses to increase productivity and grow through investment, innovation and internationalisation.

Scottish Funding Council make a significant contribution to the Scottish Government’s strategies for investment, innovation, inclusive growth, and internationalisation, with a key outcome being greater productivity.

Innovating Works provides resources and tools to help you think about workplace innovation in your business – harnessing the potential of your people; building capacity and capability and making the most of internal and external relationships. You’ll also find a Workplace Innovation Tool that can support you in thinking about areas of opportunity and improvement in your business.

Looking for help making your Pledge? Sign up for support.