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Monthly digest with Mark Smith – July 2021

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Expert Opinion
July 30, 2021

Diversity of thought – The key for success?

With the world changing faster than ever, especially post-pandemic, we can agree that diversity is key to success in every aspect of our lives. As a proud Scotsman, it pains me to say that a fine example of ‘diversity of thought’ can be seen in Gareth Southgate‘s back office. The England head coach has worked closely with the FA Technical Advisory Board since 2016. Amongst its members are a cycling coach, a Commander from Sandhurst Military Academy, an Olympic rower, and a tech entrepreneur.

Few have any football experience and for a good reason. Their expertise brings in fresh insights on preparation, diet, data, mental fortitude and more. Divergent thinking can significantly improve performance and outcome, as demonstrated by the England men’s football team reaching their first final in 55 years.

The Government’s approach to its newly released Innovation Strategy is yet another example of divergent thinking in practice. Ayming’s own Njy Rios, R&D Tax Incentives Director, is a member of the Innovation Expert Group (IEG). The IEG is a group of people from different industry bodies and business sectors consulted heavily in drafting the new strategy. Westminster can, quite rightly, be accused of group-think within its own Westminster bubble, so it’s encouraging that the Government has sought external views. I hope to see the method pays dividends as the new Innovation Strategy is put into action.

The Innovation Strategy aims to put plans into place to hit ambitious sustainability targets. With the effects of the climate crisis striking most countries worldwide, action is more necessary now than ever. From China to Europe, July has recorded unprecedented levels of rainfall. Floods in China have killed over 30 people in the province of Henan, while in Germany and Belgium, 160 and 31 people, respectively, have lost their lives. These exceptional weather events have proven that we are indeed facing an existential crisis in climate change.

Where there’s political will there’s a way

The UK’s recent vaccine development success was down to its view as an imperative. We had to develop a vaccine to save British lives and the economy. The Government offered up the NHS to do large scale trials which in turn resulted in the UK being at the front of the queue for the final products.

In his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Prime Minister announced a £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. While this sounds like a grand sum, it pales into insignificance when comparing it to the job retention scheme, which currently sits at £65.9 billion. It’s clear that when there is political will, vast sums of money are readily available. It just shows that while the Government claims to want the UK to be a leader in innovation, it doesn’t come anywhere near as ambitious as we hoped.

The climate crisis is real, and we must tackle it with the same impetus and resources as we’re tackling the pandemic. There is a green revolution underway across the world. The global community is developing new, green technologies that will create jobs and entirely new industries, which will bring vast amounts of taxable revenue with them. Investing in green technologies isn’t just the right thing to do for the planet (and we need to act quickly to save it). It also makes sense from an economic point of view. Let’s invest in green, establish ourselves as the green economy and lead the world exporting these technologies.

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