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, especially in a fast-changing environment. More heads create a richer mental map of reality, reducing decision-making risk. The greater cognitive diversity results in challenges to assumptions and in fresh perspectives that lead to more creative approaches to challenges.
She believes there is no substitute for experiencing rich dialogue with diverse respected peers, and the random flow of ideas and thoughts that connect as conversations unfold. Trust builds. Minds are expanded. Friendships are formed. Problems are solved. Ideas are generated.
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,the format is designed to maximise the value to participants:
- Topics are suggested by members
- Participants dialogue in small groups
- Turns are taken ensure all voices are heard
- Questions are posed to ensure nuggets of learning are surfaced that can be applied back in the workplace
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, a Naval Commander 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.
Participant companies are high-tech firms across the UK covering a wide range of industries in engineering, chemicals, biotech, pharma and digital, and relevant professional services.
Many are technical innovators of global repute in their own field.
All are deeply curious about advances the leadership of innovation in their own and in other sectors – and in disruptive innovation affecting how we all do business.
They include leaders of transformation, technology development and customer facing teams.
It is a very unique peer community where members are willing to learn from each other and generously share their experience.
Membership is by invitation only as we are careful to ensure the “fit” with the profile of members and alignment with the Network ethos.
What we’re about
We believe that the occurrence of serendipitous innovation is directly correlated to the volume of enjoyable, stimulating connections with those who are cognitively diverse to us.
In a world of flatter organisations and hybrid working, it can be difficult to find the time and the opportunities to have such unplanned, yet potentially fruitful interactions.
Our promise is to help re-create such valuable interaction opportunities in each of our activities.
The Network exists to support the leadership of innovation by fostering dialogue across diverse sectors and discipline boundaries within high tech. We do this through the following activities:
The Innovators’ Assembly
An annual event bringing together organisations across the ecosystem of high-tech manufacturing to explore current issues on the following systemic levels:
The Innovator Exchange
Senior innovators are paired with developing innovators in other organisations in a mentoring relationship for two rounds of 4 sessions, Oct-Jan and Feb-Jun. There is a mandatory orientation session for mentors and for mentees, invaluable at setting expectations and preparing participants to fulfil their roles such that each get the most from it.
These are problem-solving Sessions for innovators regardless of what silo of the organisation they are in. They provide a space collaborative space to come together and practice tools for collaboration and for facilitation, while hearing how those from other functions and different organisational cultures view the same issues. An excellent way to expand one’s mental model.
A highly confidential round table gathering for the most senior innovators to explore their own practice and challenges. Unparalleled support is received from highly experienced peers and from the facilitator’s rich toolkit of models and approaches.