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28 April 2015

The art of disruption and the role of the North West in pushing business forward

Mike Pearls chair of the Institute of Directors discusses business in the North West

Mike Pearls main

Innovation is a commonly used word when it comes to business, but very rarely is it deserved. Most are perfectly willing to maintain order, play it safe and think within the proverbial box in order to remain profitable.

However, there are always the few that aim to change the rules, ignoring the status quo and revolutionising the way business operates. That is the hallmark of a disruptor. These entrepreneurs operate in a zero-sum environment where if you're not hunting, you're being hunted.

This mindset has led to some of the most forward thinking and truly innovative companies. Think Apple, First Direct or, more recently, Uber - firms that have generated enormous media interest on the back of a single, simple vision executed to perfection. Constantly reinventing themselves, these companies take their sectors in a new and ground breaking direction, forcing their competitors to adapt or die.

The North West is dominant in manufacturing, with the discovery of graphene thrusting the region into the spotlight, while the hundreds of tech start-ups located at MediaCityUK attempt to wrestle the title of the UK's top technology city away from the capital. This success has not gone unnoticed by central government, with Westminster seeing the huge potential the region has to offer.

In recent years, the undercurrent of disruption emerging from the North West has influenced the creation of the 'Northern Powerhouse' policy, which has already seen considerable success.

Enormous investment in infrastructure projects like HS2 and HS3 has been reinforced by support for our market-leading life sciences sector, improving research and development and fostering innovation. However, while investment in infrastructure creates the optimal environment for our businesses to thrive, we must not neglect the individuals that make the region tick.

Every SME will come up against challenges, and will require investment and advice to enable them to take advantage of the opportunities available. The North West is blessed with some of the best options. Through bodies like The North West Fund, we can give our potentially disruptive entrepreneurs the support and guidance they require to become the business leaders of tomorrow.


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