Elephants CAN dance.....

.....with a little help from their friends.

Working together, high tech SMEs and government build a digital service to deliver innovation funding more quickly and effectively to businesses and research organisations.

Building great things is not about egos, size, public or private, it is about brilliant focused minds working together to deliver a common goal. At WORTH, we work with our clients to design, engineer and deploy game-changing digital products and services. We are lucky enough to work with great clients, the types of clients that are willing to embrace customer-centric design, open source engineering, rapid product iteration and continuous delivery, things we know enable us to deliver fantastic services.

Innovate UK is one of those clients we love to work with. Over the past two years, we have worked seamlessly together to support Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to develop a streamlined online grant application service that facilitates the investment of over £500 million per year of innovation funding. We have worked together as one team to build a digital service (the Innovation Funding Service) that helps businesses and research organisations collaborate to apply for grant funding to research and develop the UK’s future technology.

Anne Dixon, Chief Operating Officer Innovate UK said, “The digital Innovation Funding Service is one of the first government, large-scale, end-to-end grants application and processing services. By streamlining the process for innovators, and for us internally, we will be able to accelerate the time to market for new products and drive greater wealth and job creation. This is vital in a competitive global economy. I am remarkably proud of what we have all collectively achieved. This will help us to make great strides in the innovation of emerging technologies, infrastructure services, health and life sciences, materials and manufacturing.”

As with all of our most successful projects, we needed to design and build with a strong focus on why the service is needed. From the start, Innovate UK were clear about their goals, which were centred around their customers and the user benefits. Two of their primary goals were to:

  • Invest grant funding as quickly as possible in the best innovation projects. Make sure the funding goes to creating tomorrow’s business-building or life-saving technology in the shortest possible time. Save innovators and businesses time in the application process.
  • Automate the processing of the grant applications wherever possible to remove the risk of manual errors and reduce processing time. Ensure new projects can start as quickly as possible.

Both of these goals are clearly focused on Innovate UK’s customers and the organisation’s vision. This clarity and focus made it much easier for the team to share a common objective and build energy and excitement as part of project delivery. The team were clear that, if they built an easy to use efficient service, they would be encouraging the UK’s best ideas and innovations to apply for funding and get to market more quickly. That would have a significant impact on the UK's GDP or could even help save lives.

Sarah Vodden, Service Manager for the Innovation Funding Service at the time of the project stated, “One of the main things that made this project a success was that every team member, even though the team consisted of different suppliers, was truly part of the team. To be able to use all the different qualities and expertise in one team has been an important added value for Innovate UK.”

Over the past decade, government in the UK has fundamentally changed the way it delivers services to its citizens; many of these services are now delivered online. Six years ago, the Cabinet Office decided to rethink and reengineer the way government ‘did’ digital. The Government Digital Service(GDS) was born in 2011 and has now become the government’s centre of excellence in digital, technology and data.

Mark McNally, Director Worth Internet Systems, said, "We have worked with government for many years so I can safely say GDS is not just the government's centre of excellence. I would say it can teach the private sector a huge amount too. In our view, UK government is well ahead of many of UK's large private sector companies when it comes to digital transformation."

Read the Innovate UK blog about this project here