Monday saw the annual CBI Conference take place in London exploring the theme of Innovation, Growth and Prosperity in a World of Disruption.

With a mix of speakers from business, politics and the media addressing pressing issues.

Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of HM Opposition delivered a keynote address that outlined the prospects of the fourth industrial revolution, supporting a ‘New Britain’ that would be:

powered by the internet of things and big data to develop cyber-physical systems and smart factories

The CBI’s innovation survey revealed that 7 in 10 companies plan to invest the same or more in innovation following on from Brexit.

Yet the UK is lagging behind its international competitors when it comes to investment in research and development. Prime Minister Teresa May outlined how the Government’s Industrial Strategy proposes to address this by funding priority technologies – such as robotics and biotechnology – and reviewing of current R&D tax incentives to ensure the global competitiveness of the UK as a home for scientists, innovators and tech investors.

CBI are campaigning to increase public and private investment in R&D to 3% of GDP, working with the Government to establish a roadmap to achieving this goal. At the conference, the Prime Minister pledged an extra £2bn a year in R&D funding by the end of this Parliament.

Graphic - CBI innovation survey

The CBI note the current speed and scale of disruption as unprecedented, with traditional industries such as banking being radically transformed.

Barclays UK head of customer and client experience Matt Hammerstein said it’s a question of using the technology we already have such as databases to make the customer experience better. 

CBI President Paul Drechsler emphasised the need for collaboration, especially between business and government and Tom Thackray, CBI Director for Innovation, raised the problem of cyber security.

Government and business must do more than just ‘work together’. We must be two partners with a common cause.
CBI President Paul Drechsler
Cyber resilience is a growing priority for all businesses, and the challenge now is to move from awareness to action.
Tom Thackray, CBI Director for Innovation

Disappointingly, the CBI innovation survey recorded 46 percent of UK professionals saying that data security was not a deciding factor in adopting digital technology. 

Mark Mullen, Atom Bank chief executive believes:

The incumbents are never going to volunteer to open their data, so the regulator has an important role to play in creating competition and data security.

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