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Find out what innovation could mean for your company, and see how we can help.

What is innovation?

Innovation is something every business can be part of. In its simplest form, it’s about improvement. It could be as unassuming as a change to internal systems, or as grand as the large-scale development of a new product or business direction.

Introducing innovation to your workplace isn’t as difficult as it might seem – especially with HIE to support you through every stage of the journey, from research and development, to grant funding or advice.

Have a look below and find out how we can help you.

You can also read more about the benefits of innovation within your business, and how implementing change can help you face the immediate challenges brought about by COVID-19.  

Innovation eBook

How are innovators made? Find out the answer in our new innovation eBook. 

Why should businesses innovate?

We recognise that many businesses are focused on survival during the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than growing or increasing profits, but for others innovating is more important than ever. We’ve heard from many businesses that diversification and adaptation have become essential, while some have been using the unexpected downtime to progress projects that were on hold. If this sounds like your business, read on.

Research tells us that innovative companies grow faster and more profitably than others. When you innovate, you are adapting your business to the changing needs of markets and consumers. This keeps you one step ahead of the competition and makes the business more likely to succeed. Innovation benefits your workplace.

Businesses that foster a culture of openness and innovation inspire employees to contribute towards business improvement and idea generation. This helps employees feel more engaged and happier at work - making them more productive as a result. Increased productivity leads to increased profits and a faster rate.

The Highlands and Islands region is full of small to medium-sized businesses. At HIE we know that supporting SMEs to bring innovation into their business practice will benefit the whole economy in the long-term.

However you implement it, innovation makes your business stronger, more profitable and better equipped for whatever challenges it faces - so you can work on growing your business with confidence. When an innovative mindset is at the core of a business, everyone reaps the rewards.

If you are a larger business, HIE can also help you with your R&D plans, from project proposal stages through to funding.

How can my business begin to innovate?

Being innovative requires an open mind, business ambition - and an idea of how you could change your business. We can work with you to identify areas of operation where innovation can help you stay ahead of your competition, improve productivity, or help you reach new customers. This could be with a new product, a new process or a new business model.

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We help innovative businesses grow

We're working hard to react to the needs of businesses and the changes they face as a result of COVID-19. We believe innovation plays a key role in responding to the significant challenges posed by the crisis.

Businesses are having to diversify and innovate, so if you are looking to explore a new direction, our innovation services can support you. Whether you're looking to adapt your business model, explore new ways of working, find out about funding or assistance with recovery, get in touch. We help businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to companies with years of experience.


Gillian Galloway standing in HIE's An Lochran office
There’s no doubt COVID-19 has accelerated an innovation culture change for many business owners. Adapting operations, looking to new markets and working differently has never been as important for many businesses.
Gillian Galloway , Head of Innovation , HIE

Talk Innovation - podcast series

Our Talk Innovation podcast series is hosted by former BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland presenter, Clare English. The series features Highlands and Islands based companies doing interesting, impactful work by adopting innovative practices within their business model. 

The Co-Innovate programme discussed in this podcast is supported by the European Union's INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Talk Innovation with Renewable Parts

In this first episode of Talk Innovation, host Clare English is chatting to Michael Forbes, General Manager and Refurbishment Engineer at Renewable Parts, a supplier of new and refurbished turbine parts to the global wind energy sector.

Together, they discuss the support the business has received from the HIE Innovation team and the impact it has brought. Michael plays a key role in the Renewable Parts team, which is helping establish the business firmly as innovators in green technology for the wind industry.

Talk Innovation with Studio Vans

In this episode of Talk Innovation our host, Clare English, is chatting to General Manager, Rob Hall, and Studio Coordinator, Calum Ferguson, at Studio Vans. 

The business specialises in the creation of design-led, ready-to-go fit-outs for campervan conversions. They discuss a range of subjects including their emphasis on sustainability and how they are collaborating with designers to repurpose island ocean plastic and other materials into objects that can be reused. Studio Vans received support on their innovation journey from HIE's innovation team. Hear what the benefits have been and the impacts delivered as a result.  

Talk Innovation with Fuze Management Services / The VR Hive

In this episode, host Clare English chats to the team from Arisaig-based Fuze Management Services about their new venture, The VR Hive. George Mclean, Project Manager, and Laura Sheerman, Research and Education Lead at The VR Hive explain how creating a 360°, active learning environment that dissolves the barrier between virtual and actual reality helps trainees develop their soft skills. 

Ready to get started? 

To get innovation support from HIE, please complete our form. We'll need to find out a bit about you, your business and what you'd like help with so it'll take about 20 minutes to complete.

Apply for innovation support


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