Members are a select cadre of strategic leaders and senior technologists from high-tech manufacturing firms and relevant professional services, from across the UK south of the Midlands.
Many are technical innovators of global repute in their own field. All are deeply curious about advances the leadership of innovation in other sectors, and wish to explore the potential benefits to their own organisations and for their personal capabilities
What we’re about
The Network exists to foster exploration and cross-fertilisation in the leadership of innovation in UK manufacturing across sector and discipline boundaries.
Five mini-conferences are held in a calendar year where
- eminent speakers (members and guests) from diverse fields share their latest thinking and practices
- several members showcase their business
- participants are gently facilitated to network with one another, and
- dialogue sessions allow exploration of the issues shared and insights to be translated back to the workplace, adding real value.
Both the technological and the human aspects of innovation are addressed in the topic themes.
Attendees enjoy a rich learning environment where they have the rare opportunity to mix with respected peers and receive quality input on issues that are directly relevant to their contribution at a strategic level in their organisation, i.e.:
– advances in technologies in other fields
– trends in the wider business environment
– strategic business leadership for technical experts
The ultimate goal is to help members’ businesses to prosper by evolving successfully within a rapidly changing world.
Innovations have often arisen through spontaneous dialogue in real time with colleagues over the coffee machine, or random conversations with peers not necessarily from the same discipline.
However, in a world of flatter organisations and remote teams, it can be difficult to find the time and the opportunities to have such unplanned, yet potentially fruitful interactions.
Our philosophy is to help create such valuable opportunities at each of our events. We believe that serendipity is directly correlated with the volume and diversity of enjoyable, stimulating connections.
Through our quality activities throughout the year, to we provide our members with:
Information about disruptive technologies that are evolving in various fields
Education about the human side of leading innovation
Inspiration from visits to sites of scientific interest – whether historical, of national repute, or visits to member sites (suspended sadly during Covid times)
Connections with other members (an impressive peer group), and with guest speakers who are typically leaders their field
Translation of key insights, knowledge and learning back into the workplace
The Innovation Network is run and facilitated by Siobhan Soraghan BSc MBA, a staunch believer in the value of bringing smart people with common interests together in real time. Especially the more we head towards an increasingly virtual future.
She believes there is no substitute for experiencing the presence of another, and the random flow of ideas and thoughts that connect as conversations unfold. Trust builds. Minds are expanded. Friendships are formed.
All this is wonderful for innovation – getting us out of our thinking ruts and seeing things from different perspectives. Serendipity often occurs at the events. And it’s not entirely by accident…
As a leadership development professional, Siobhan knows the value of providing conditions conducive to learning, creativity, and relationship-building. So, since she took on the Network in 2016, she has introduced many changes from the original format to enhance the experience and the value to participants:
- Event topics are suggested by members
- Each event is themed around one topic that is explored from different angles
- Experts are carefully sought to complement one another and elucidate the theme
- Speakers are interactive with the group so that attendees engage and get to explore what they are curious about
- People sit a small tables where questions are posed to stimulate dialogue and surface nuggets of learning that can be applied back in the workplace
- Networking is gently teased along in a very gentle and enjoyable way
Siobhan is herself no stranger to new product development or science and technology. At the outset of her career she was involved in product development of oilfield chemicals and has a patent to her name. After a move for several years into technical sales, marketing and business development, she decided to pursue her interest in leadership and strategic change. She left to undertake an MBA at Cranfield School of Management in ‘91.
Since graduating with her MBA, she has become a highly respected and experienced executive coach of senior executives, Directors and CEOs. She also works with management teams to diagnose and facilitate opportunities for bringing greater cohesion and robustness to decision-making.
Her clients have often been in organisations with high intellectual capital and with very bright people at the top – e.g. high tech, professional services, research, senor civil service. They include a Permanent Secretary, and Church of England Bishop and a wide range of leaders and senior technologists and professionals across many sectors.
Siobhan has come to believe strongly in the skills of dialogue for leading, peer learning and networking. She brings this passion, alongside her affinity for all things “tech”, to the Innovation Network.