Forging innovation culture across Cumbria

Forging innovation culture across Cumbria name

A Cumbrian training company which beat off stiff UK and international competition to support senior leadership at a former nuclear power station is helping create a clever business-boosting culture across the county.

Cumbria Innovations Platform (CUSP II) turned to Keswick-based Harrison Network to develop a far-reaching coaching programme for small and medium-sized businesses in a bid to turn aspirations and ideas into income generating successes.

A new series of fully-funded events and online master classes will springboard ambitious plans to work with leaders and managers on developing systems where entire workforces would be encouraged to get involved in creative thinking.

A University of Cumbria-backed £5.7m business growth initiative, CUSP II is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund to break down innovation barriers and encourage leading-edge processes and products.

Lead Sarah Allison explained that a successful relationship had already been built with the Harrison Network in an earlier phase of the scheme, where 140 county enterprises had been helped.

She explained: “With widespread expertise and clients, they recently made headlines for winning a major contract at Dounreay in Scotland. We are delighted they are an essential component in our bid to create a flourishing culture of innovation.

“We want to develop mechanisms so that everyone in an organisation can be involved in making a difference and employees know they will be listened to in an open and receptive environment. Afterall, no idea is a bad idea!

“From the bottom up, irrespective of what people do, this is about exploring options for doing what it takes to stand out.

“Often, in service industries, it is the lower paid who are at the coal-face of dealing with clients. They see and hear things which their managers don’t and are well placed to make invaluable suggestions.”

Ms Allison said the aim w as to create a strong culture of innovation for Cumbria and called on leaders and people managers to join the first of two free training events on March 4 at Energus in Workington.

She added: “The idea is they will go back and develop across their workforce processes to encourage the great concepts, which in turn will help their products, markets and profits.

“We want workers to stand-up and communicate what they’re thinking, even if that’s a concern. Sharing vision and aspiration is the way forward for our business community.”

Joining a panel of experts are Sellafield’s head of product development, Mark Taylor, and Derwent (Acco Ltd) technical manager, Barbara Murray.

Following-on from the Workington event is a series of half-day online sessions starting in April.

Booking for March 3 is on https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/creating-a-culture-of-innovation-part-one-registration-260088259987

Further information about CUSP II and training is on: https://www.cumbria.ac.uk/cusp