Innovation is not restricted by normal boundaries; this was demonstrated by the breadth of work presented at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s (RSC) “Chemistry Means Business” in Manchester last week. The emerging technologies were focussed on four themes: Health, Food & Drink, Energy& Environment and Materials & Enabling Technologies.
However, the first presentation I attended made me consider these themes on a different level as the technology defined was a dietary supplement for horses.
The diverse range of chemistry on show from start-ups and spin-outs showed a great level of innovation that many may think is reserved for technologies such as engineering and electronics. It was great to see the chemistry community show that innovation is not bound by such strict lines as subject or business case. In fact, some of the innovations were engineering heavy with little of the chemistry on show, but still the RSC had taken the stance that these innovations with chemistry at the core were worth showcasing.
It reminded me that innovation is driven by a desire to see improvements and a passion to see something new. It’s a risky game, pushing new boundaries and not listening to the convention of what is possible. The innovations showcased that were real step-changes were multidisciplinary, with the presentations discussing the need for developments in hardware and software to deliver true impact for the chemistry inventions.
It was also great to see other disciplines attending the conference and generating new ideas and thoughts to ensure that each technology had the best chance of success. Getting the thoughts of experts from other fields to view your work is also a great boost in confidence when they see what you are doing and also in understanding. Explaining your own novel work to a new audience is a great way of making sure you truly understand what you have.
Whether you are creating a dietary supplement, developing new materials for future batteries, creating smart food packaging or discovering new synthetic routes using less harsh chemicals, the need to engage with mechanical engineers, software engineers, designers, human factors specialists and others is a key part of innovation. Here at Cambridge Consultants we ensure that we use multidisciplinary teams for each opportunity we see, ensuring the maximum chance of success for our clients.