Is Oxfordshire joined up in the Science and Technology Sector? – By Mike Foster
Collaboration is defined in the dictionary as “The action of working with someone to produce something” It is also considered “the process of two or more people or organisations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal.”
The Science and Technology sector in Oxfordshire is rich with such collaborative, positive activity, which is great to see and to be seen as a contributor.
In part, I suspect that this is due to the academic and commercial interests being blended for primarily the interest of the research, idea or business looking to start or develop. Perhaps this blend makes the collaboration as much about the objective, than it does about the money. Yes, everyone needs to make the money, and this can often be overlooked, but from my experience they come hand in hand. A collaborative approach can bring you more longer term benefits and value than many short term gains.
As a collaborator and connector, my experience in purely the commercial world is that there are some that simply play lip service to collaboration, but in reality for them it is about the immediate opportunity. I have no problem with this, but perhaps an open and honest approach is needed as some people will only collaborate the once when it is found to be the case. I may be naive here, but in my opinion it is about working together and building relationships for the benefit of ALL parties, for the long term objective.
Within a collaborative environment you may not be the immediate beneficiary, but in my experience, such as an investment in networking, your opportunities arise and are often much better than the immediate sell.
Sometimes we see different parties trying to do the same thing in Oxfordshire for the same market. This may be because they want their own identity or maybe due to some funding pot enforcing such a position. In my opinion this dilutes the intended support or will further confuse engagement for the wider loss. We are all investors in a vibrant, effective eco-system of support for science and technology businesses in Oxfordshire, whilst representing the county to highlight its strengths for inward investment and outward growth opportunities. I encourage anyone with a new idea for contributing to the eco-system or supporting the businesses, to see what is already happening in Oxfordshire (there is a lot!) and consider an investment of their time or money resource into supporting the development of the existing rather than reinventing the wheel.
Especially over the last few years, perhaps highlighted as a need in the Oxfordshire Innovation Engine report, we have seen much more collaboration between councils, academia to business and service providers, which in my view has seen a greater impact than would have been achieved as independent parties.
I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences around collaboration in the sector across Oxfordshire.
If you would like to read more articles by Mike Foster, Centre Director, please visit here
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