Recipe for the UK economy: more innovation please

This morning we hosted one of our regular Breakfast Club events at London’s RAC.  It was a full house for a lively conversation between Matthew Hancock MP, former chief of staff to George Osborne, business journalist and author Philip Delves-Broughton (over from the US East Coast) and Chris Brady, Dean of BPP. The discussion, moderated by the BBC’s presenter, Mishal Husain, addressed how policymakers and business can foster innovation and growth.

Here are some highlights:

  • There is always an opportunity for entrepreneurs to build businesses. Facebook was founded at the very end of the dotcom bubble.
  • UK universities need to engage with business, rather than being snooty towards it. In the US universities are more proactive about raising funds and finding investors for their IP.
  • Cambridge and Imperial were identified as leaders in turning smart science into businesses, but this needed to become the norm.
  • We should see the BRICs as an opportunity, not a threat.
  • Emerging economies grow faster than developed economies like the UK and Germany because they can copy our ‘best practice’ and they still have strong cost advantages. Developed economies have less slack, and are on the frontier, forced to work hard to innovate and innovate established, complex societies.
  • Government regulation is not always a bad thing. Philip cited the UK’s 2007 legal reforms which liberated the UK market for legal services and boosted the UK as a world leader in this area. It was pointed out that two industries seen to have failed recently are banking and journalism; both are self-regulated.

 

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