Innovation – Life or death?

Former Glaxo chief warns firms: "Downturn makes innovation a life or death issue"

Former Glaxo chief warns firms: "Downturn makes innovation a life or death issue". Mark Fletcher takes a look Sir Richard Sykes, the former chairman of GlaxoSmithKline warned that the current difficulties in the economy make it more crucial than ever for British firms to embrace innovation at every level of their operations if they want to survive. Speaking ahead of a major conference on innovation, Sir Richard, said: "With some notable exceptions, we have a business culture in Britain that too often seems reluctant to adopt necessary change, fresh ideas, new technologies or improved processes. "Given the increasingly difficult economic climate, UK firms must acquire strong leaders and learn to collaborate with other businesses, research centres or universities if they want to compete with overseas companies which benefit from significantly lower labour and production costs. The current downturn makes innovation a life or death issue for many firms". Sir Richard, now Rector of Imperial College London, will deliver a keynote speech to London's business community at the London Innovation Conference. He will share a platform with Lord Sainsbury Minister for Science and Innovation, Sir Derek Roberts, Chair of the London Innovation Steering Group together with other leading innovators and academics spanning the creative, manufacturing, telecommunications, IT and tourism sectors. They include: Ralph Ardill, of leading design firm Imagination Simon Woodroffe, the driving force behind the Yo Sushi chain Andy Wilson, L-Shift co-founder & CEO Harry Berry, Head of BT Brightstar Suran Goonatilake, co-founder of Searchspace Ken Powell, CEO of Arrow Therepeutics The one day conference will be held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in central London on Monday 17 March (08.30-17.00). It has been organised by the London Development Agency and has the support of Business Link, London First, the London Chamber of Commerce and premium event sponsors, QinetiQ. MF For DELEGATE registration information please contact the organisers on 020 7940 5578/5555. Or visit the conference website.