Innovation Policy and Practice Events

We run several breakfast events each year to stimulate discussion and networking across those actively involved in innovation in the West Midlands from any sector or type of organisation

Typical themes may include:
• Skills for Innovation
• Circular Economy
• 5G
• Cross sector innovation

Next event:

Date: Thursday 2nd April
Time: 08.00- 9.30am
Venue: TBC

Theme: TBC

Speakers: TBC

Past Events

Event 9: Innovation and the West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy – time to deliver! – 30.1.20

Overview from Mike Wright, Chair of the WM Innovation Board, followed by examples innovation projects and activities for 2020:

  • Pam Waddell, Director of Innovation Alliance WM: Networks and events to strengthen the ecosystem
  • Paul Adams, Founder and Commercial Director, Goldfish Ventures: The Grid – a Virtual Innovation Platform for the West Midlands
  • Andrew Mair, Chief Executive, Midlands Aerospace Alliance: Cross-sector supply chain innovation.

Links to presentations:

WMCA Innovation Strategy – Mike Wright

IAWM & WMIP – Pam Waddell

The Grid – IAWM – 30 Jan 2020 – Paul Adams

CITEC slides 0120 – Andrew Mair


Event 8: Innovation and the Circular Economy – 28.11.19

The circular economy model conceives of waste not as a problem, but as a raw material with value based on potential to reintroduce materials into the system, combining recycling, reuse and renewable energy. Effective circular economy approaches are often innovative, for example in optimisation of use of resources or the design of materials that can be perpetually cycle back to the technical or biological ecosystems. At this event you will hear real examples of how innovative circular economy approaches are bringing business benefit in construction, retail and in local authorities.

Our discussion drew on examples from Debbie Ward (Gleeds and Organiser of the Circular Economy Club), Clare Ollerenshaw (Circular Consultants Ltd) and Gerrard Fisher (QSA Partners). Presentations were followed by a panel discussion led by questions from the audience – such as how can we change the minds of governing bodies and educators? 

Links to presentations:

Debbie Ward – Circular Economy in a built environment context

Gerrard Fisher: Circular economy in the real world

Clare Ollerenshaw: Circular Consultants Ltd

Event 7: How large and small companies can collaborate to innovate – 19.9.19

An important part of the innovation ecosystem is how larger companies can draw upon the innovative potential of SMEs, and how SMEs can best use larger companies as early adopters and routes to market to mutual benefit. The two speakers and audience discussion explored what steps are possible to enhance the engagement between SMEs and larger businesses, and expose exemplars for when such engagement has been successful.

You can a summary of the event in our blog here.


  •  Stuart Fleming, Vice President, Cloud Infrastructure Services, Projects and Consulting at Capgemini
  • Rob Muir, Group Chief Digital Officer, National Express

Event 6: Women in STEM-based business – barriers and enablers to progression – 04/04/19

This event, as part of DIDFest2019 (Diversity in Digital), explored the theme of  ‘Women in STEM-based business – barriers and enablers to progression’ though a lively panel discussion with:

The host organisation was Make UK, The Manufacturers’ Organisation.

You can read a summary of the event in our blog here

Event 5: Innovation and Place: National policy and funding a year into the UK Industrial Strategy – 31/01/19

Our first Policy and Practice Breakfast of 2019 took place at Energy Systems Catapult, a great turnout with a range of attendees from various sectors. Speakers included Ewa Block (West Midlands Regional Manager, Innovate UK), and Paul Drabwell (Head of Innovation and Place, BEIS).

You can read a summary of the event in our blog here.

Event 4: Public and Private Sector Procurement Driving Innovation – 22/11/18

In another well attended IAWM event on 22nd November 2018, speakers Andrew Pestana (Interim Head of Innovation, HS2) and Haydn Brown (Head of Procurement Strategy Development, Birmingham City Council) gave an engaging talk on how their organisations are using procurement to stimulate innovation, which invited a lively discussion on the topic.


You can read a summary of the event in our blog here.

Event 3: Innovation an the West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy – 05/07/18

Our third Policy and Practice breakfast event focussed on developing the thinking of the West Midlands Combined Authority on the trailblazing West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy, and the importance of innovation as a driver for productivity and growth. In particular, this blog considers the input gained from our wide stakeholders with Patrick White (WMCA Director of Industrial Strategy) on 5th July, 2018.

Table Discussions v2

You can read a summary of the event in our blog here. 

Event 2: Continuous innovation to keep long-term business thriving – 03.05.18

Our second policy and practice event was held on 3rd May, 2018 and kindly hosted by EEF at their Technology Hub , Nobel Way, Birmingham. Speakers included  Philip Salt, Chief Executive of Salts Healthcare and Melvin Wingfield, Financial Director at A&M EDM.

event 2

You can read a summary of the event in our blog here.

Event 1: Innovation, Place and the Industrial Strategy – 30/01/18

Our first event ‘Innovation, Place and the Industrial Strategy’ was held on 30th January, 2018 at iCentrum, Innovation Birmingham.

IAWM launch 2

The event was attended by over 100 partners from across private, public, academic and third sectors, science parks and translational organisations. The video of the presentations and interactive Q&A session can be viewed here:

You can read a summary of the event in our blog here.


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