Business productivity portal


Innovate UK is to invest up to £500,000 to develop solutions that provide businesses with access to information on improving productivity. These solutions will help businesses at all levels – leaders, management and employees – access new opportunities to improve productivity levels where they work.

Innovate UK are looking for proposals for feasibility studies on the:

  • technical solution
  • commercialisation plan for taking the solution into the market
  • possible commercial models

Innovate UK is running this competition with the Productivity Leadership Group and are looking for solutions that will:

  • enable businesses to confidently simulate the benefits of opportunities to improve business productivity in a safe environment
  • provide businesses with trustworthy information on the most impactful opportunities and the size of their benefits
  • provide users with a strong incentive to act
  • help to de-risk the business case for adopting improvements
  • be free-to-use
  • adopt a commercial model that is fair to the suppliers of business productivity improvements.


Businesses currently do not have free access to information on the range of improvements available to them. Also, the incentives to act on these opportunities are often not seen as being strong enough. This can prevent them from building the business case for adopting improvements.

By funding the research and development of new innovative solutions, we aim to:

  • catalyse an increase in the productivity of a large number of businesses leading to a significant positive impact on the economy
  • ensure businesses have access to a free-to-use and safe environment in which to simulate the benefit of improvement opportunities
  • help them get information they can trust on the size of the opportunity and the incentives to act.

By improvement opportunities we mean the range of products, capital equipment, technology, digital and other services and management practices that could improve the productivity of the business.

By management practices we mean:

  • leadership
  • talent management
  • planning for the future
  • commercial excellence
  • operational efficiency

These may be new to the market or new to the business.

Incentives to act might include the sharing of benchmark results in local or sector-based league tables. This could be a community of companies which are all trying to progress and share best practice. They could be regionally-based, sector-based or a group based around an end-to-end supply chain. Gamification may help to increase engagement, usage and competition.

We will fund solutions that:

  • provide businesses with information on the most impactful and relevant improvement opportunities
  • provide an incentive to act
  • help to de-risk the business case for adopting improvements
  • are free-to-use once commercialised
  • have a business plan in place to generate enough income to provide their future support, maintenance and promotion

The competition will have 2 phases. At this stage applications are open only for phase 1: contracts for feasibility studies.

Phase 2 will fund contracts to develop and evaluate prototypes or demonstrators. The decision to move forward with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1.

Innovate UK expect phase 1 feasibility studies to include the following but we also welcome other ideas:

  • the model and structure of the solution
  • how the solution is technically viable, including case studies developed with stakeholders and users
  • the sectors, firms and regions of the economy where their solutions would be relevant
  • the quality data needed to build (and have trust in) a model that will provide information on business productivity improvements relevant to the specific user
  • how the solution should affect business investment decisions
  • how a free-to-use solution can be sustainable, taking ongoing support and maintenance costs into account. And how it can be fair to suppliers of productivity improvements
  • data management to ensure user confidence and safety
  • risks and assumptions

Innovate UK expect projects to engage with stakeholders and end users. This will support the development of the solution and user experience. It will also validate the performance of the solution.

Innovate UK and the Productivity Leadership Group will expect to have access to management information on the use of your commercial solution to demonstrate success.

Key Dates:

Competition opens – 24 July 2017

Briefing event – 3 August 2017

Registration closes – 20 September 12:00pm

Competition closes – 27 September 2017 12:00pm

Applicants notified – 3 November 2017

If you are interested in this competition

Please email the Innovation SuperNetwork team at or complete the form below so we can help you and guide you through the application process.

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Our work is only possible with the support of our local and national partners, including Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network, the North East LEP, Northumbrian WaterNorth East BIC, and Reece Innovation with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Huge thanks go to all our partners.