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Queen’s Award winners show strength of UK SME innovation culture

Informed Solutions’ Global CEO Elizabeth Vega explains what winning the Queens Award for Enterprise and Innovation means to her company and why it’s great for the UK as a whole.

A few corks were popped at the weekend and whoops of delight could be heard across the UK and Australia, as the Informed Solutions team celebrated their Queen’s Award for Innovation.  As the only tech company in the North West region to win the Innovation Award, we’re very proud and grateful that the positive impact of our work has been recognised.

The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is the UK’s most prestigious acknowledgement of a business’ contribution to industry, employment and economic success.  For our people, it is especially satisfying because this Award is a vote of confidence in the diverse, creative, problem-solving workplace culture we’ve grown over the last 25-years. Innovation has always been at the heart of everything we do and encouragingly this is increasingly the case for UK PLC.

 

"The success we’re having in the UK is also starting to be reflected globally, with exports to other countries"

KPMG’s recent 2018 Global Technology Innovation Report ranked the UK as the third most promising market for innovation, digital disruption and technology breakthroughs with global impact.  In the last year alone, record levels of investment have poured into the UK equating to more than the combined investment seen in Germany, France, Spain and Ireland.  It is clear that in creating a welcoming and supportive environment for entrepreneurship, innovation and investment, the UK is encouraging SMEs and scale-up businesses to be more ambitious.

In many respects, Informed Solutions’ innovation and business growth story reflects this UK success story.  We’ve leveraged the UK’s place as a top Digital 5 nation and its appetite to invest in technology innovation and digital leadership.  Like many UK businesses, we survived the 2008 global recession but emerged quite battered and bruised.  Our response was to question everything that our business did and how we did it, and the result was that we developed a modern operating model that is agile and better able to respond to uncertain market conditions and evolving opportunities.  The Company invested substantially in building up core skills, capabilities and a global digital collaboration and service delivery platform, through a succession of R&D and business improvement initiatives that addressed opportunities and challenges ahead. 

As a result we’ve developed deep expertise in location intelligence, cyber security and service resilience, whole-of-enterprise digital platforms, and designing complex online services that provide an exceptional user experience.  This enables us to deliver secure and resilient public and private sector solutions that serve highly sensitive or mission critical environments.  The restructure matured our business, laid the foundations for scaling up the company, and started in earnest our journey towards winning the 2018 Queens Award for Innovation.

Some examples of our innovation and business transformation work that helped the Company win the Queens Award for Innovation include making it easier for innocent victims of violent crime and acts of terrorism to obtain compensation; facilitating British citizens abroad having their identity authenticated and key documents legalised (e.g. birth certificates and professional qualifications) through a secure online global service; as well as analysing and mapping crime incidents to support policing services with insights to help make public transport safer.

The success we’re having in the UK is also starting to be reflected globally, with exports to other countries.  We now have offices in Australia, where we are making strategic business and investment commitments.  These investments in the Australian market resulted in three NSW iAwards for innovation in 2017 and earlier this year a further Australian ICT Benchmark Award for Innovation, resulting from our partnership with New South Wales Government on a pioneering environmental data portal.  Most recently, with the support of techUK, we were recognised with WITSA’s Global ICT Excellence Award in India.

 

"It’s especially encouraging to see other high achieving SMEs recognised"

Julian David, techUK’s CEO offered his congratulations: “Informed Solutions has made great strides in delivering innovative technology, particularly in public sector transformation. The Manchester-based company has gone from strength-to-strength with operations now extending across the globe into Australia.  We’re delighted to see them add the Queen’s Award for Innovation to its list of accomplishments, including global recognition at the Global IT Excellence Awards at the World IT Congress in India.”

For Informed Solutions and the other Queen’s Award for Enterprise winners, the Award is an independent and rigorously vetted way of proving that we do what we say we can.  As an SME that competes for large scale and complex projects, we face the typical prejudices that prevent us winning contracts when competing with large incumbent suppliers.  This Award bears testimony to our capability and proven track record of delivering high-level digital innovation and transformational improvements.

Looking at the list of 2018 Queen’s Awards winners, it’s especially encouraging to see other high achieving SMEs recognised.   In the UK, there has been a growing realisation that SMEs are the backbone of the economy and need to be supported to scale-up and export.  The Queens Award for Enterprise levels the playing field for SMEs, providing further recognition that the risk-taking, huge personal commitment and investment that entrepreneurs make in growing a successful business also benefits skills development, local communities and the wider economy.

A report from Digital Catapult argues that digital technology has the potential to yield an extra £55billion for the UK economy by 2020 and is a key enabler of future economic growth. Informed Solutions is delighted to be a small part of that UK success.  It means a lot to us, so all of our people will be celebrating our Queen’s Award for Innovation with pride and sincere appreciation.  We are very grateful that the UK recognises the hard work, thoughtful risk-taking, creativity and contribution to the economy of SMEs like us.

This article first appeared on techUK.org

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