Innovation is hardest when most needed

Engineering innovation is what has put Derby on the map.  Leading with textile processing in the Industrial Revolution, it moved into being a leader in transport with with railways and then cars and aeroengines.

New ideas often take a while to be accepted, and the trail blazers can be scorned or ignored before they are appreciated.

Society in theory recognises the value in new ideas: They are protected through patents and design registrations.  But most often the idea needs to be implemented to show its real worth.  This often takes time, money and commitment.  If the new idea does not deliver what was hoped for, time and money will be lost.

During a recession, as now, it can be even harder to have the courage to commit to a new idea.  When money is tight, the risks may seen greater and the benefits smaller when a new idea is presented.

With each new idea there is a risk of failure, but rarely are the failures remembered.  Perhaps this is a pity as it might make decision-makers more realistic when they give the go ahead – or not – on a new project.

It is being widely recognised that new ideas are going to be needed to build a society where prosperity can be achieved with less demand for energy and lower impacts on the natural world.  Will Derby again lead?

I believe that it has the potential to do so, provided that today’s engineers and innovators are given the encouragement and resources to make it happen.  If you share this vision, do get in touch!

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