Published in the Sunday Telegraph 30/6/13
Agency of the Future principal Roy Sandbach has been appointed to the North East LEP’s innovation panel to drive the application of open innovation and smart specialisation across the North East LEP area.
Eminent commercial innovator Professor Roy Sandbach has agreed to work with North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as part of its drive to make the North East LEP area an internationally recognised centre for innovation growth. In his role, Professor Sandbach will map out the future of innovation networks reaching from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham across the globe. His work will underpin what Lord Adonis called “a bold manifesto for change”, by focusing on the application of open innovation and smart specialisation principles across the North East LEP area.
Roy Sandbach is an internationally recognised name in innovation with more than 30 years’ experience at Procter & Gamble, the global consumer products company and innovation powerhouse. He is currently the 10th David Goldman visiting Professor of Innovation and Enterprise at Newcastle University Business School.
He said: “I am convinced that there are huge opportunities to apply collaborative open innovation principles and processes to the way we innovate here using the great talent already built into our SMEs, our blue-chips and institutions. The North East LEP’s innovation panel will aim to enable these capabilities to work better together, building real momentum.”
Based on the principles of open innovation, Professor Sandbach will consider how to strengthen areas such as the contribution of applied research, specialist testing, prototyping and scale-up facilities, specialist accommodation and venture ﬁnance, as well as identifying gaps in the wider areas of business support, skills and infrastructure.
Professor Sandbach has some clear ideas of how he sees open innovation being put into practice to beneﬁt the North East LEP area.
“At this early stage, my vision for open innovation has four elements. First, to rigorously engage our businesses and universities with more major global players. Second, we have already established some brilliant examples of open innovation hubs in the region; we need to listen to the needs of innovation centre and science park leaders and help them to build further collaborative, open practices.
“Third, we need to build the best innovation networks in the world. And ﬁnally, we must o!er great training in the concepts of innovation process and culture.”
Will Hutton, chair of the Big Innovation Centre and a member of the North East Independent Economic Review team, welcomed Sandbach’s appointment. He said: “Roy is exceptionally well versed in the beneﬁts of open innovation, and is a ﬁrst-rate appointment by the North East LEP. To drive the North East ahead in a highly competitive global environment, the area has to o!er something distinctive, and it can do this through open innovation. This is vital to building the high value industries of the future."
Paul Woolston, chair of the North East LEP said: “Roy’s commitment, energy and expertise will drive our innovation strategy, which in turn will provide a route for us to compete on the world stage, create highly skilled jobs and involve local people in the area’s growth and success.”
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