A Centre which aims to speed up the rate at which medical innovations reach the market – and ultimately patients – is drawing on social sciences expertise to continually assess and improve its approach to innovation projects.
The Medical Technologies Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) brings together academics, businesses and clinicians to facilitate the development of new regenerative therapies and medical devices. The IKC’s Technology Innovation Managers work closely with all parties to ensure the smooth running of projects, identify potential risk at an early stage and provide in-depth market knowledge to project partners.
Whilst the researchers involved in individual projects are, by and large, drawn from the scientific and engineering disciplines, academics drawn from the Technology & Innovation Group at Leeds University Business School (LUBS) have actively been involved in the project during its lifetime, adding a different perspective to the work of the IKC. By studying the processes and practices used and providing regular feedback to the IKC team, the group helps the IKC develop its approach to innovation, building knowledge, skills and capability – leading to stronger programme management and more robust projects.
Ceri Williams, Director of Operations at the IKC says: “As a national Centre for Innovation and Knowledge in Medical Technologies we felt it was really important to bring in some professional expertise around the practice and theory of innovation management.
“Working with social scientists from LUBS, with their independent and impartial perspective, has been invaluable in helping our Centre develop and grow our innovation capacity, and has helped us create the systems and infrastructure to support and monitor outputs and value created through the projects that we support. This is yielding benefits within the University and with our other UK and global partners.”
Ongoing assessment of practice and process is also feeding into academic research at LUBS, where individual research projects which have been created through the partnership include projects examining innovation networks, creativity in science, organizational capabilities and innovation cultures.
The work with the IKC and its subsequent effect on research also led to the launch of the Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Innovation Management in 2012, aimed at developing knowledge about innovation and influencing practice.
“Our work with the IKC has provided benefits to all parties,” says LUBS’ Professor Richard Thorpe. “Whilst we can have a direct influence on the development of the IKC, we’re also gaining knowledge and experience ourselves, which is informing our research. This research informs publications, both for academia and business, influences practice and has provided the opportunity for us to create a whole new Postgraduate programme.”]]>