Business leaders from across Cumbria are grasping the opportunity to embrace innovation and boost the county’s economy.
Lancaster University’s Cumbria Innovations Platform (CUSP) Innovation Development Programme (IDP) delegates explored avenues for development and change through an Open Innovation Challenge at Tebay Services.
Leading owner-managers from small and medium-sized companies across the county came together to embrace the challenge set by Westmorland Ltd, who own and run the highly-lauded services.
The day allowed delegates the opportunity to sound out ideas and discuss possibilities for change, breaking from the often insular approach to research and development. Together, they tackled a challenge set for them by the Westmorland team, who are seeking an approach to tackle the issue of how to reuse single-use plastic to create second life packaging.
Delegates used their knowledge and experience to feed recommendations to Westmorland Ltd, having already applied innovation tools, techniques and ideas explored on the programme back into their own organisations.
“Small and medium-sized businesses are often more nimble, and can implement innovations much more swiftly, so the sharing of perspectives is advantageous for all parties,” said Angela Moore, programme manager for the IDP. “Delegates have the opportunity to explore new markets and generate ideas for development and change, working with experienced experts and each other.
“Our day at Tebay was a brilliant visit. Both the delegates and Westmorland enjoyed the day, and Westmorland appreciated the innovative suggestions the delegates came up with.”
The six-month programme, delivered by Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), is part of the three-year CUSP initiative. The project, run in conjunction with the University of Cumbria, is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to encourage Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to gain and accelerate innovation, thereby supporting the growth of the Cumbrian economy.
Delegates learn about innovation from LUMS academics, as well as business experts. At the Tebay event, they heard from Sarah Dunning, Chairman at Westmorland Ltd, on the history of the company and how innovation has played a key role, as well as other members of the Westmorland Family team.
Danny Martin, Brand and Communications Director for Westmorland Family, said: “We really enjoy working on projects with other passionate people from outside the business, as it often provides an opportunity for different ideas and perspective.
“The group presented some really inspiring ideas and observations, which will help us to continue to refine our existing plans for plastic reduction. We hope the group also took some findings and ideas back to their own businesses, as we see these experiences rewarding for both sides and extremely collaborative.”
The Innovation Development Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and is available to eligible ERDF Cumbrian based SMEs. If you are interested in what LUMS has to offer Cumbrian senior decision-makers, contact Peter Cornwall on 01524 593679 or email [email protected] for more information.