Creative workers valued more than ideas

Employing and nurturing creative people is more important for Scottish business innovation than striving to come up with a bright idea, new research would suggest.

Will Whitehorn, former Virgin Galactic president. Picture: Getty

A survey of business leaders at hundreds of UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reveals that half of the Scottish respondents believe that having the right workers and skills is the single most important factor for a business to be innovative.

This compares to just under a quarter who believe that having the right idea is the most important factor.

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As a result, the research – conducted by Clydesdale Bank – suggests Scottish SMEs have prioritised staff training and development over other investment opportunities in the past year, and intend to do so again in the next 12 months.

New equipment, technology and investment in premises, are also key, according to the report.

However, the findings also reveal that just 22 per cent of Scottish businesses has ever accessed incentives such as Scottish Enterprise research and development grants or the UK government’s Patent Box, and less than a third – 30 per cent – plan to do so in the future.

Alastair Christmas, regional director of business and private banking, said: “In today’s increasingly digital economy, where customer demands are higher than ever before, innovation is even more crucial.”

The research is published as Clydesdale launches its fifth business week. More than 200 events will take place, with speakers including Jo Fairley, co-founder of Green & Blacks, and Will Whitehorn, former president of Virgin Galactic.