University supported data-driven Innovation Design

Katharine Fuller
Bruntwood Sci-Tech Birmingham

This workshop would encompass a small-scale hackathon exploring the ability to drive innovation through the exploitation of data and the ways in which Universities can accelerate that journey for SMEs housed in innovation campus's and regional science parks.

The idea is based upon the Big Data Corridor project - The Big Data Corridor project is funded by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund (Project no. 12R16P00220) and match-funded by six Project Partners - Birmingham City Council, Aston University, Birmingham City University, EnableID, Innovation Birmingham and West Midlands Combined Authority.
Project Partners work together to help UK businesses to understand the benefits and ways of using data from Internet of Things and Data Economy environment for development of new products and services. The core of the project is innovation from open data from various sources - transport, energy, healthcare and other sectors - with data from new ‘disruptive technology’ implementations, such as photonics (smart lighting; optical fiber sensing) or weather adaptive street lights.#

In order to work with SMEs we provided:
Business assists (12 hours support) including data and sector insight workshops for innovation and learning; review of your business data needs and access to tools, resources and data to accelerate business growth
Intensive assistance to develop new innovative products and services including product development and business planning
Trialling and implementation of new technologies and commercialisation opportunities for example in photonics and smart city networks and systems
In depth research collaborations for business innovation and development
Innovation challenges in key sectors of health and mobility
‘Insight Workshops’, helping companies to better understand data capture and management, use of sensor technologies, and data commercialisation within their sector.
An online toolkit, designed to enable remote research, experimentation with data and provide resources for new product development;

We have several case studies and the extensive work between Birmingham City University, UK and Bruntwood Sci-Tech Birmingham's Innovation Campus provides an excellent model of good practice regards establishing and nuturing relationships with SMEs. As well as Science, research and innovation parks as hosts to SMEs and places for university and industry interaction.

As part of the programme, a number of technology demonstrators were established as well as an ‘Internet of Things’ network, located between Birmingham city centre and the planned UK Central HS2 interchange. This provided a test-bed for selected projects and catalyst for commercialisation.

There is a rise of data driven innovation the OECD comments: Data-driven innovation forms a key pillar in 21st century sources of growth. The confluence of several trends, including the increasing migration of socio-economic activities to the Internet and the decline in the cost of data collection, storage and processing, are leading to the generation and use of huge volumes of data – commonly referred to as “big data”. These large data sets are becoming a core asset in the economy, fostering new industries, processes and products and creating significant competitive advantages. For instance:

In business, data exploitation promises to create value in a variety of operations, from the optimisation of value chains in global manufacturing and services more efficient use of labour and tailored customer relationships.

The adoption of ‘smart-grid’ technologies is generating large volumes of data on energy and resource consumption patterns that can be exploited to improve energy and resource efficiency.

The public sector is also an important data user but also a key source of data.