I had the honour of being one of four keynote speakers and panellists at the 9th Sir Bernard Crossland Lecture series, in Queens University Belfast this evening, on the theme of "Engineering Innovation - re-inventing business".
About 150 people attended. Sir Bernard introduced the series, and Gerry Cawley (Chair of the Northern Region) was our host for the evening.
Each of the four speakers spoke for about 10-15 minutes. The first speaker was Mark Nodder of the Wright Group. Mark gave a brief history of this independent supplier of accessible buses, for the UK and export market. The Group went through severe challenges in the recent economic downturn, but has managed to re-build its business through innovation.
I then spoke about the work of the Innovation Taskforce and its current status.
Mandy Chessell of IBM then spoke about the challenges of innovation in large organisations, and the cultural issues arising.
Peter Russo (who had spoken at Clyde Road yesterday) of the EBS then spoke about Germany's re-emergence after the second world war, and the challenges which Germany had faced in commercially exploiting many interesting inventions, including the MP3 standard and the fax machine.
There followed a short session of Q&A.