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Collaborative Insight November 2018 - ISSUE 47

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Lord Evans
Lord Evans, ICW Chairman

Collaboration and Smaller Businesses

The Lansdowne Club, London

10th October 2018
Les Pyle, ICW CEO
Les Pyle, ICW CEO

The most recent ICW held at the Lansdowne Club in London focused on how small and large organisations can benefit from adopting collaborative working, our thanks to Kier Highways for their sponsorship and support. The event drew our largest participation with some 150 attendees from both larger and small companies.

Martin Duffy, Kier Highways
Martin Duffy, Kier Highways

ICW Chairman Lord Evans opened the proceedings with thanks to Keir and with his special brand of humour and realism by welcoming a large contingent of representatives from small organisations. The importance of small and medium size companies cannot be under estimated representing some 98% of companies in most countries so a key focus for governments and industry. Their innovation and agility have a major contribution to make to economies.

Louise McMahon, Kier Highways
Louise McMahon, Kier Highways

Les Pyle, ICW CEO, added his thanks to David Wright and Martin Duffy of Kier Highways for their support and introduced the first half of the proceedings.

Eleanor Perfect, BEIS
Eleanor Perfect, BEIS

Martin opened his presentation with a focus on safety a key issue for Kier working in the potentially dangerous areas of construction. He outline how Kier where promoting collaborative behaviours across their own organisation and their supply chain both to underpin safety and mutually harness the power of collaboration. He introduce the Collaborative Learning Circle and initiative started by Kier which is now providing online training across their community and will be available across the industry.

Rik Selwood, Business Wales
Rik Selwood, Business Wales

Louise McMahon, Collaboration & Improvement Manager, Kier Highways, provided the audience with a lively presentation on the power of collaboration and how this was being translated through the creation of multiparty alliances where the larger players coached and mentored their small partners by providing help and support to help them achieve the benefits of collaborative working.

AmirHossein ZiaeiArdekani, WBS
Amir Hossein ZiaeiArdekani, WBS

Eleanor Perfect, Senior Policy Advisor, BEIS, gave us insight to forthcoming government initiatives to encourage and support larger organisations to provide advice and mentoring to SMEs. Again she reinforced the perspective of government that the contribution to UK plc from smaller companies bringing innovation and economic benefits.

Andrew Dixon, ICW SIG
Andrew Dixon, ICW SIG

Business Wales' Rik Selwood's presentation focused on the working being done in Wales to support smaller businesses to work together and with their larger counter parts and government. He used several case studies to amplify the benefits of collaboration.

Ben Cross, A14 Alliance
Ben Cross, A14 Alliance

Amir Hossein ZiaeiArdekani, Doctoral Researcher at WBS, brought an academic perspective through his research at Warwick Business School Particularly, the process of performance measurement (PM) in the small and medium-sized enterprises. His aim is to better understand thoroughly the issues faced by SMEs when utilising managerial processes enabling performance improvements by exploring the balances between formal and informal performance measurement processes in growing SMEs. As a result of his presentation a number of companies have offer to participate in his research.

Gill Bates, QinetiQ
Gill Bates, QinetiQ

Andrew Dixon, ICW SIG, is not only running a small company himself but also heads the ICW special interest group which is focusing on how better to encourage the deployment of collaborative working amongst SMEs. He shared the results of a recent survey by the SIG which capture a wide range of issues that SMEs have to contend with when engaging with larger companies.

Ben Cross, A14 Alliance, presented his case study as Supply Chain Collaboration Lead for the £1.5 billion A4 Integrated Delivery team (Costain, Skanska, Balfour Beatty, CH2M and Atkins, working on behalf of Highways England to deliver the UK largest road scheme. His creative approach to evaluating and selecting new and smaller companies against their more traditional competitors and thus bring new blood into the supply chain.

Gill Bates is QinetiQ's lead on Innovation Integration, and chairs the Progeny Maritime Research Framework Advisory Group. Under the umbrella of QinetiQ the extensive group of small and individual specialist provides research and project support for the UK Ministry of Defence. She outlined how this growing community works together supported by QinetiQ harnesses a wide range of capabilities.


'Little and Large' Panel Session with SMEs

Our usual speaker panel session took on a new approach for this event by inviting a number of representatives from smaller companies to share their individual perspectives on the benefits and challenges of working with larger companies. The session chaired by ICW David Hawkins was an extended session where each participant shared their perspectives individual then broaden out into a wide range and interactive dialogue and exchange across the floor. It certainly created a lot of discussion which carried over to the networking session that followed.

The Panel

This event was specifically targeted to better understand the value of SMEs and the challenges they face and where collaborative working can help drive future benefits. ICW intends to continue this initiative and have already raised this topic at an international level through ISO (see notes on the report from the latest ISO meeting in China).

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