STEPS to Innovation

Published: 16 Mar 2023

Lorraine Bell, Head of the RISE project, talks about innovation and why it matters.

I am excited to be launching this new programme for local businesses. Over the last 18 months since running the RISE project, I have heard so many inspirational stories of how businesses have had to innovate.

Sussex has some brilliant success stories to shout about, where new services and products have been launched, new business models have been rapidly adopted, and we have all needed to adapt our processes and practices. Things we said "couldn’t be done’ are now part of our daily reality. Innovation, whether planned or forced, can have great benefits.

So why do companies need to innovate?

Businesses must differentiate themselves from their competitors in order to gain a competitive advantage. Innovation can lead to attracting and retaining more customers with the development or adaptation of new products and services that meet their changing needs and preferences. It can power growth, increasing efficiency through the development of new processes, tools, and technologies, helping to reduce costs, improve productivity and performance, often in a low-risk environment. It can also help to open new markets and revenue streams, attracting investment and funding.

By staying relevant and keeping up with changes in technology and industry trends, businesses can be more flexible and adaptable to changes in the market and business environment, and use innovation to help meet regulatory requirements and standards for their products and services.

So how can STEPS support you?

STEPS builds towards the successful launch of an innovation idea. This evolves over five stages, building like a great story. These stages climb towards the realisation of the innovation idea in the commercial world, delivered effectively, ethically, and responsibly.

We SCOPE the innovation idea (or ideas), then put those ideas to the TEST. After rigorous testing, we proceed to the EVALUATION stage before we PILOT and SCALE up. At any stage, the idea might not survive or need to be reframed or reimagined.

We invite you to take the STEPS to Innovation, whether you are currently innovating or plan to do so soon. Each STEP will provide you with valuable insight by combining current innovation theory, practical approaches, and stories of both success and failure. We'll take a not-always-easy journey through what works and what sabotages success.

Join us for a real, no-nonsense exploration of innovation in the 2020s and beyond.

STEPS is free to attend thanks to EDRF and West Sussex County Council funding.

The RISE programme is receiving up to £603,514 of funding from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 in England. Grant Reference: 04R21P04430

The West Sussex Councils are also providing partnership funding to support the delivery of RISE and, through this, to provide help and support to SMEs in West Sussex.

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