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The Productivity & Innovation Centre supports SMEs to significantly improve their innovation practices and their effectiveness at commercialising their ‘innovation assets’. We do this primarily by turning data and customer insights in actionable knowledge.

SMEs can engage on practical programmes of intensive workshops, with accompanying support from our innovation experts, to achieve two outcomes:

  1. To adopt and embed highly effective rapid innovation processes in their business; using strong evidence bases to analyse and verify decision making on the commercial case, technological feasibility, and organisational readiness to deliver an innovation.
  2. To drive growth through the re-positioning or release of new product, service or process innovations.

The underpinning theme of the Centre is in supporting SMEs to engage in data driven innovation. Data becomes most valuable to a business when it is transformed into ‘actionable knowledge’, providing insights to be used for strategic and operational decision-making.

Using a data and insight-driven approach is what makes innovation more productive. Innovations can be brought forward to commercialisation more rapidly and only the most validated and commercially valuable ideas are work on. Unfeasible or unachievable innovations are spotted and discarded early, avoiding costly time and financial investments.

The Centre is made up of international experts in product, process and service innovation and we use innovation tools and frameworks which have been tried and tested with organisations worldwide.

“… it helped me to take control of the business, instead of the business taking control of me.”
– Graham Gaunce, Managing Director, Rudd MacNamara

“…using the [innovation] tools brought home the strength of having a quick, structured process for getting different perspectives from different disciplines and then gain a common understanding of issues faced.”
– Jake Thrush, Policy Manager, Transport for West Midlands

Who is it for?

The Centre supports SMEs in Lancashire looking to ‘scale-up’.

How does it work?

Businesses who are interested and feel they could benefit are welcome to contact with the Centre’s Business Development Manager, Michael Banford – / 01695 657645.

Participation in the programmes of the Centre includes:

  • A Business Diagnostic (conducted at the premises of the SME) to look at existing innovation practices and projects;
  • Participation in a short series of workshops – where SMEs address their own challenges and opportunities in a facilitated environment, followed by;
  • A series of one-to-one support half days of on-site.

For each SME, the programme of support takes place over an 8 week period, where activities are run flexibly around the needs of the business.

How do I find out more and apply?

The programme is delivered by Edge Hill University and is part-funded by Edge Hill University and the European Regional Development Fund. Contact details at Edge Hill are as follows:



Prof. Simon Bolton, Director of Centre

Michael Banford, Business Development Manager


01695 657645

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