The CEO's blog
Tue 14th June 2016
What will the big technology innovations of the future be? Where do I see game-changing scientific developments taking place? These are questions that I’m frequently asked. One of the many interesting things about being CEO of a science park is that I have sight of a great many novel ideas in science and engineering. It is fascinating to be constantly exposed to leading-edge research and commercial exploitation of genuinely exciting technology.
In my opinion, one of the most vibrant areas currently is healthcare. Here, we see advances in biotechnology creating previously unthinkable opportunities for patients across the world. Combining these new technologies with big data analytics brings the potential not only for commercial success but also widespread societal benefit. Advances in medical research are coming thick and fast. From personalised medication, which uses genetic profiling to identify optimal treatment for individuals, to pre-emptive healthcare planning, which uses advanced algorithms to predict major health events. Examples are numerous and some of these ideas can be found on Southampton Science Park.
Importantly, these concepts are beginning to gain traction in the marketplace too and it is this transition from invention to innovation that is the critical piece in the jigsaw. I recently saw the unattributed quote: “Invention is the process of turning money into ideas. Innovation is turning ideas into money.” The emphasis of the Science Park is well and truly on innovation and, in that context, one must ask whether there is any point in an invention if it’s not commercially viable? How can society benefit if the idea cannot become financially self-sustaining?
I believe the key to success is to embed the best business ideas within an ‘innovation ecosystem’. Here at Southampton Science Park there’s a diverse group of scientists, engineers, business people, investors, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders who, together, contribute to an interactive and highly successful business and ideas-driven community. Central and local government initiatives, the University, small businesses and large corporates as well as business incubators such as SETsquared and Catalyst all connect here. By embracing a culture that encourages collaboration and challenge, all parties benefit from the cross-fertilisation of ideas, sharing of expertise and access to funding.
I believe that this is how we at the Science Park are playing our part in transitioning today’s innovations to tomorrow’s everyday technologies.