Productivity challenge 4: Skills for innovation in manufacturing

This challenge focuses on new ways of developing the skills and business practices needed to maximise the value of innovation to the UK economy. Creativity and innovation are critical in British industry, but the evidence suggests that we lack some of the skills to get the best out of our creative people or to commercialise innovation.



The ‘UK Futures Programme: Skills for Innovation in Manufacturing competition brief’ is the original competition brief to which these projects responded.


These projects have concluded. Links to evaluation reports on the projects are below.

BAE Systems Maritime Naval Ships

Piloting a new way of incentivising innovation and enhancing discretionary effort through the introduction of schedule-based working (SBW) into a complex manufacturing facility in Glasgow.

Swansea University

Developing a programme which focuses on increasing the innovation management skills and knowledge of leaders and senior managers, to help them develop the innovation culture of their organisations.

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Creation of a new innovation-focused supply chain. The four-tier, healthcare supply chain will work together to pilot a ‘Unified Innovation Model’ approach to new product development.

BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd

Developing a programme that will increase strategic thinking, innovation capacity and leadership and management skills through masterclasses, workshops, innovation challenges, and action learning groups for SMEs. It will also support the engagement of hard-to-reach SMEs with regional and national innovation infrastructure.

Northern Ireland Polymers Association (NIPA)

Developing innovation skills between the polymers and construction industries in Northern Ireland. Both industries have complementary skillsets and have identified learning from each other’s strengths and weaknesses, something which has not been attempted before.

You can read more about the successful projects in our Skills for Innovation Press Release

What Works

Details of the projects, including links to toolkits and other helpful material for businesses in the manufacturing sector, are provided in the brochure.

The independent evaluation report draws out findings and lessons from this Productivity Challenge, including key messages for employers, delivery organisations and policy makers concerned with improving the UK’s ability to capitalise on innovation.

Other Productivity Challenges

Our introduction page provides information on the other Productivity Challenges.