The Innovation Diary of ATI Paul Rogers
As the Pop-up Innovation Centre Coordinator, I get to observe many a “light-bulb” moment taking place within the pop-up. Whether that spark is kindled whilst speaking with a Business Innovation Advisor, our ATI Innovation Champion, at an event taking place at the pop-up or whilst hosting various client meetings here – this place is a great space to connect and bounce ideas around.
That being said, many clients haven’t heard of this moving workspace before and aren’t really sure what goes on here. So, I’ve taken it upon myself to document what we do here and share it with you, our readers, in the hope that one day, in passing, you’ll be inspired to pop in to see me and make use of this flexible workspace (which is also fully funded, thanks to ERDF funding).
Currently, the Pop-Up Innovation Centre is based at the Q-Store Business Centre in Saltash, Cornwall. I might add that Q-Store Business Centre is a gem of a facility, here in the east of Cornwall, and the coffee is great too (and I’m not usually a coffee drinker!).
So what have I learnt about Innovation in my first few weeks?
There’s no such thing as a bad idea – voicing ideas particularly in business creates debate, debating ideas helps to develop resilience and growth.
It is whether that idea is practical, implementable and feasible. But sometimes small businesses don’t have that sounding board to debate ideas, because they are on their own or a small team and time poor. I am working within a team and an organisation that promotes ideas and works with you as a business to bring those innovative projects to fruition.
Be curious and ask for innovation advice!
In my opinion, everyone should ask for advice. I have a circle of business connections who I always refer to and help me see things from a different perspective – it is so valuable! So if you are developing an idea, a new process or a service, then this is where taking innovation advice from ATI is essential. The old adage ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get’ is so true! It’s for this reason that it is worth speaking to ATI to take advantage of their innovation expertise and speak to their Business Innovation Advisors, as well as their connections.
Get connected to the people that can support your business
I know from experience that being well connected means that you have a network of influencers that can help. The ATI project has been established for over two years and are very well connected within the county. They partner with many business support providers in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, can refer you to ERDF funded programmes and, as a University of Plymouth led project, they can pull from their university resources and introduce you to academics, as well as other institutions. I learnt very quickly in my first weeks that if you need guidance, research or grants – let us know! If you don’t ask us for help, you won’t know how we can help you.
ATI have an Innovation Champion… what’s that?
In particular I am fascinated by ATI supporting businesses with research. After speaking with a dedicated Business Innovation Advisor, they may recommend you to receive some research support. I sat with our Innovation Champion, Jenny Naldrett, whist she was researching data, facts and background for the various innovation projects that ATI assist with. This research can be essential in progressing your project from an idea to reality.
Our Innovation Champion is able to draw up reports on all sorts of things, for example using academic data and information from our University of Plymouth colleagues. I believe her research can be very beneficial in gaining support, credibility, grants and finance for your innovation project – all of which reduce risk surrounding your idea and can be a great motivational tool to say “I can do this”.
It is here that I will end my first diary post and leave you with a call to action, which is; remember to seek advice! ATI are here to support your business journey and we have a network of connections here to help you.
To get in touch, telephone ATI on 01209 705 166 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pop-up Innovation Centre Coordinator