Innovating Up

Unlocking growth in towns and cities

Why you can’t have Levelling Up without Innovating Up

At a Glance

Digital innovation is a fundamental driver of economic growth. It disrupts the ways people interact, create and consume goods and services. This disruption is creating new business models and markets. It will transform the way government operates and delivers public services.

4 Minute Read

Philip Craig

Director, Public Sector & Defence, Atos

Digital innovation affects economies and societies in complex ways.

Through technologies that perform tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence. Or applications that realise insights from the analysis of connected, large scale data. Each innovation is changing the world of work, the mix of occupations and the workforce skills required.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital technologies. Including a rapid shift towards hybrid working and learning, the digitisation of core internal operations and interactions with customers and supply chains. Our response to any future public health emergency will depend on the sharing of data and collaboration between governments, businesses and academia.

Rather than returning to business as usual, the challenge now is to maintain and even increase the pace of digital change – getting better at turning exciting ideas into innovative products and services.

As outlined in the levelling up white paper, we need to ensure that examples of digital excellence are widely shared across the economy and with public services. While building on the innovation excellence, through the commercialisation of the knowledge held in our world-leading research institutions and further investments in R&D.

Connecting businesses and communities

The levelling up white paper also highlights the need for to create a supportive environment for the formation and growth of new and young businesses. This includes addressing the structural factors that impede their growth, such as access to finance, where innovative new digital approaches such as crowdfunding are now common. And like more mature businesses, the growth of SMEs will be supported through public investment in digital infrastructure and other non-financial support, such as training, mentoring and partnerships with larger businesses.

Atos is playing its part through our Horizon programme, through which we select and onboard smaller companies delivering cutting-edge technologies and specialist expertise.

Participants benefit through access to technical and business support, guidance and mentoring and through access to Atos customers.

At the same time, demand for highly skilled and highly paid digital jobs are growing twice the rate of non-digital jobs. The Levelling Up white paper includes a wide range of projects to help people better prepare for jobs in a highly digital economy.

Again, Atos is playing its part through our Digital Growth Networks and ‘Find your Fit’. Through which over 1,500 of our staff have been supported, reskilled and moved into growth areas such as cyber security, analytics, automation and artificial intelligence.

A blueprint for change across the public sector

We have already highlighted how digital is changing the organising principle of every industry – finance, media, manufacturing, utilities – and mostly for the better. It exerts an influence over the way organisations are structured, services are delivered and how people interact and collaborate.

These trends are not going away. Yet the impact on governments have been, until recently, marginal. Governments have incrementally improved citizen facing services, making them cheaper, quicker and more responsive through ‘channel shift’. Advances that were vital during the pandemic, as service levels increased, and new services were rapidly developed and deployed (often achieved through Cloud services).

Now that digital is increasingly mainstream in society, more innovation is needed to rethink the way that national and local public services work.

The exponential increase in data presents governments with enormous opportunities for promoting more efficient, effective government and joined up public services. However, too often data is held and used only within the organisation that collected it.

Key Takeaway

Many aspects of the way government operate have not fundamentally changed. New online processes have been grafted onto legacy technology which does not fully realise the value from digital. Which means that government struggles to collaborate and run seamlessly. There is a huge opportunity to make public services more responsive, personalised and enabling through the replacement of legacy technology and systems.

Innovating Up – Further Insights

From across Atos and beyond, find out more about digital transformation, jobs of the future and skills

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Kulveer Ranger, Head of Strategy, Marketing, Comms & Public Affairs, Northern Europe & APAC, Atos