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UK government only connects with ‘geeks’ and ‘techies’ on innovation

UK citizens are worried that a lack of investment in innovation by the government will result in a loss of business to other countries as well as the failure to adequately prepare the youth of today for what the future holds.

Research conducted by Nesta found that the government’s language when it comes to innovation is failing to connect with most of the population and it must target those not deemed by the survey as “geeks” and “techies”

“More often than not we should be ditching words like ‘innovation’ altogether. The public see the need for new ways of doing things, new ideas, new technology and creativity and want government to take responsibility for driving it. But addressing public aspirations and concerns of innovation is crucial; how you speak about could make or break an innovation policy that needs to garner the support of the individuals, schools, public services, charities, entrepreneurs and businesses to be a success,” said Stian Westlake, executive director of policy and research at Nesta.

The “Speaking to the Innovation Population” survey worked out that 49 per cent of the country is worried that if the UK fails to innovate then it will lose business to other countries, 43 per cent think there will be job losses and 36 per cent think we will fail to prepare children for the future.

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70 per cent of the public at large think the current level of government spending on new ideas and technologies is about right or too little. They are also of the belief that the government role is to plan for the future by driving innovation and mitigate any negative impact.

The public values new innovation where there are benefits such as improving the quality of life, job creation and efficiency. The main concerns about the effects of innovation concern the potential loss of social skills, privacy and jobs being lost to technology.

Of the six areas that are funded by the government, the majority of MPs expressed a preference for increasing funding for four areas and to maintain the current level of spending in two. Of those six categories, science and engineering research were identified as the top priority by MPs, seven in 10 wanting more investment in those areas.