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Live Labs Blog: Skills for innovation programmes - the sixth White Paper

Innovation in local highways requires a break with tradition. Programme Director, Giles Perkins, discusses the thinking behind the programme's sixth White Paper, Skills for Innovation Programmes.

The phrase ‘unprecedented times’, whilst arguably overused, certainly represents where we are as we move into the second quarter of 2022. In the before times (pre-Covid) we were all wrestling with the digitisation of our lives, including the rapid digitisation of transport, the move to cleaner propulsion as well as new business models, services and modes coming to the fore. Whilst the largely unforeseen pandemic has obviously disrupted all our lives, and for some considerable time, it’s also been an accelerator of innovation and doing things in new ways.

Take something now commonplace, working from home, and consider its ubiquitous role in many sectors. The rate of pivot to this new norm could not have been fathomed in 2018. Necessity can sometimes amplify the need to change, breaking down barriers, tired processes and thinking – resulting in beneficial outcomes and unexpected opportunities.

We are fortunate here in the UK that we have well-funded innovation programmes in transportation, from the Future Transport Zones through to our own Live Labs programme. Successive governments have recognised the need to innovate in order to deliver wider socio-economic outcomes.

Given that climate change in particular presents not only an existential crisis but also has the potential to impact every aspect of the transportation eco-system, are we collectively doing the best we can?

  • Are we truly being agile in our approach and thinking? 
  • Are we gathering evidence continually for the benefit of future programmes and decision makers? 
  • Are we fostering a willingness to change our culture to ask, learn and share thinking? 
  • And, critically, are we thinking through a commercial lens so that we make real change, applicable more widely than our own task at hand?

Our latest White Paper explores these themes through the lens of our learnings and observations over the last three years. It gives a examples of where our eight Live Labs have tackled them head on, and it presents a nine-point blueprint to help kickstart a discussion as to how we can capitalise on the opportunities ahead.

We hope you find our thoughts of interests and we look forward to developing thinking further with ADEPT members and beyond.

Skills for Innovation Programmes is available here.

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