Harry Malins • 18.10.22 •  2 mins

Catalysing innovation

Following his blog last month on the importance of innovation in aerospace, Chief Innovation Officer Harry Malins explores the forms and power of innovation in our ecosystem.

The aerospace sector is currently going through a period of dramatic change, driven by both external factors (including the impact of COVID-19, climate change, and changing consumer behaviours) and developments within the industry (advances in technology, new business models, new tools and techniques for design and manufacture). With the challenge of achieving Net Zero by 2050 and the opportunity to make aviation more sustainable, safer, more convenient and more affordable, being able to understand and harness innovation is more important to the sector now than it has been for decades.

Innovation can be ‘radical’ or ‘disruptive’ – transforming an entire sector or creating new markets (as with Advanced Air Mobility). Or it can be ‘incremental’ or ‘sustaining’ – making gradual improvements that bring down costs or improve the user experience in existing markets (efficiency improvements from one generation of aircraft to the next, for example). Both are essential to the long-term prosperity of the UK aerospace sector.

Innovative organisations and ecosystems are usually characterised by effective networks, widespread collaboration, a spirit of observation, experimentation, challenge, and openness to new ideas and ways of thinking – including from outside of the sector.

© Leonardo S.p.A. and subsidiaries.
© Leonardo S.p.A. and subsidiaries.

All of these attributes were on show at our innovator workshop in Yeovil last week, run in partnership with iAero Innovation Centre, the West of England Aerospace Forum and the Heart of the South West local enterprise partnership. This event brought local innovators together to discuss the ATI Technology Strategy Destination Zero, the future of sustainable aerospace, the grant funding landscape and the opportunities to work together in future.

With innovation becoming an increasing priority, we’ve spent much of this year interviewing companies large and small, new and established, about their innovation priorities and the things that would help them to innovate successfully. And we’ve put a lot of thought into how the ATI can help them.

At our conference in November, we’ll be launching a new programme to act as catalyst and focal point for innovation across the sector. By creating a hub for innovation we’ll bring the best of our knowledge, network and assets (including our aircraft, market and sustainability modelling capability) to drive innovation in UK aerospace. This will include a programme of events, thought leadership and support designed to address the barriers to innovating within aerospace as well as highlighting new opportunities for growth and bringing together an ecosystem of innovators.

Join us at our conference on 15th and 16th November 2022 at The Vox Conference Centre, Birmingham, to find out more. Secure your ticket now at www.ati.org.uk/conference.