Have you ever thought about what type of innovator you are? Or if innovation a vital part of our economic future? Are you an innovator futurist or innovator realist? The results to these and many other questions, were asked by Nesta in a survey done recently, on how British population react to innovation. The results were just published, and can be accessed at their website.
Nesta, who stands for National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts is an independent charity that works to support the innovation capacity of the UK. Their mission is to be an innovation charity that helps people and organizations bring great ideas to life. They act through a combination of practical programmes, investment, policy and research, and the formation of partnerships to sponsor and sustain innovation across a broad range of sectors. Nesta began in 1998, being originally funded by a £250 million endowment from the UK National Lottery. The endowment is now kept in trust, and Nesta uses the interest from the trust to meet its charitable objects and to fund and support its projects. Two years ago, the old NESTA transitioned from being an executive to a charitable body, changing its name to Nesta, and dropping the long title. Nesta operates in the following fields: Economic growth, Investment, Public services and Creative industries.
The recent results of their last nationwide survey mentioned previously, that was done in collaboration with ComRes, aimed to find out what are people’s attitudes towards innovation. The partnership did online surveys in the last semester of 2013, to 4,121 UK adults , and did interviews with face-to-face focus groups with over 100 people. The interviewees were based in six cities: London, Glasgow, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester. The research evidenced an overall positive attitude towards innovation as circa 71 per cent of the respondents agreed with the current spending levels by UK business and government on innovation or even thought these were too low. In general the survey evidenced that people are very interested in knowing more about new ideas and innovations, particularly in areas like healthcare and technology. The research noticed however that there are gender biases, as the views of men and women differ quite a lot.
The opinions concerning innovation vary as well between the different socio-economic groups. As such, the wealthier and more educated sectors of the population tend to be more enthusiastic about the impact of innovation in society. These tend to risk more in their personal lives and see risk taking as a driver of progress. Another conclusion of the survey is that these are long–term planners and support higher spending on innovative research and development by business and government.
Nesta’s research came up with five “innovation personas“:Which Innovator Are You ? screenshot of Nesta’s website
1. Innovation Futurists – These people see the benefits of change in all aspects of life
2. Innovation Realists– These are people that are enthusiastic about technology as long as its benefits, especially in social terms, can be clearly articulated
3. Innovation Sceptics – this term stands for a group of people representing 16% of UK population, who are particularly worried about the pace of change in society and feel innovation offers them little but threats
4. Innovation Romantics – this group view new gadgets and technology as exciting and interesting but tend not to engage with innovation in the long term.
5. Innovation Creatives – These are typically younger than average, and display high levels of creativity and have a social perspective on life.
Nesta, that just launched their new attractive website, has ambitions to become a hub for innovators all over the world. Besides the research on innovation, you can find in their website developing practical tools and skills about innovation that can help start ups, businesses, or any single individual interested in innovation. Nesta has sponsored various innovative start-ups that bring promising and creative ideas on how to make a real difference in the world, particularly in the sectors of the arts, the health system, the education system and all our public services.
In Britain, recent data evidences that an entrepreneurial spirit is flourishing as everyone seems to aim to start their own businesses. According to a recent article published by The Guardian, more than 520,000 new businesses registered with Companies House during 2013, a rise of 8% on 2012 and a record high, according to website StartUp Britain. Nesta has sponsored some of the most innovative of these startups, such as Social Life, StreetBank, and many others.
Maria Fonseca is the Editor and Infographic Artist for IntelligentHQ. She is also a thought leader writing about social innovation, sharing economy, social business, and the commons. Aside her work for IntelligentHQ, Maria Fonseca is a visual artist and filmmaker that has exhibited widely in international events such as Manifesta 5, Sao Paulo Biennial, Photo Espana, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Joshibi University and many others. She concluded her PhD on essayistic filmmaking , taken at University of Westminster in London and is preparing her post doc that will explore the links between creativity and the sharing economy.