Academics are often dismissed too quickly by industry when not looking for R&D because communication is not necessarily a researcher's strongest suit. However, innovation is not subject-specific. It's a process that can be applied to anything.

Mix innovative academic smarts at every university with just a little help articulating commercial benefits, and the UK could take over the world.

I had the great privilege of working with academics across Imperial College and Business School helping them commercialise their research. This was the idea of David Stokes, Programme Coordinator (Cross Faculty) – Digital City Exchange, and Elizabeth Varley, TechHub CEO and board member at Imperial.

Please note: these researchers are already very successful finding commercial partners - businesses come to them. This was a top up as there's always room for improvement. David found me because I work with TechHub helping entrepreneurs pitch for investment and partners, and Elizabeth kindly recommended me to him.

And thank you Elizabeth, for restoring my faith in innovative thinking. When business meets academics in the right spot, anything is possible - just give the researchers a little help talking to industry.
Companies dealing with smart cities would be tremendously lucky to have any of the folks I worked with at Imperial - with their depth of industry experience, agile thinking, and energy to make things happen. Genuine innovative thinking is so hard to find.

Want to learn about innovation? Go directly to Imperial. I am not usually a betting woman, but I suspect you'll find someone to help.