Developments in robotics, autonomous systems and the digital economy provide the opportunity for innovation. For example, robotic surgery has been providing greater precision and access within the human body for several years. Big data (very large data sets) can be used to model scenarios and interrogate patterns to assist with planning in many areas including transport, healthcare, and security. What are the cross-sector advances that await identification and development for a better world?
In 2016, the government announced an additional £4.7 billion funding for research and development in the 4 years to 2020. In autumn 2017, Jo Johnson announced an additional £30 million to fund Knowledge Transfer Partnerships which help businesses to improve their competitiveness through working with the knowledge base, such as a university.
The Industrial Strategy White Paper was issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in November 2017. Its aim is to improve productivity by strengthening five ‘foundations’ – ideas, people, infrastructure, business environment and places. The government has used some of the £4.7 billion funding announced in 2016 to establish an accompanying Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support world-leading researchers working with business to address 4 Grand Challenges identified in the strategy: artificial intelligence and big data; clean growth; the future of mobility; and meeting the needs of an ageing society.
The evolution and effective implementation of the Industrial Strategy should help to address identified challenges and prepare the country for a changing world. Different sectors will need to work together in new ways to formulate innovative solutions and be open to viewing them from different perspectives.
Collaborating across sectors and types of organisation requires the ability to communicate effectively and work flexibly with colleagues from other backgrounds who are used to working in different ways. This requires different ways of working to generate novel and effective solutions.