Monday 23 September 2019

Midlands law firm Mills & Reeve reveals 2019 Midlands’ innovation report 

A report ranking 50 of the Midlands’ most innovative businesses has been published today by Midlands law firm Mills & Reeve as part of its biennial “Innovation 50” – a campaign that celebrates the region’s R&D royalty, industry groundbreakers and rising stars.

The report, compiled by Mills & Reeve, highlights innovative success stories from across the region and features 50 businesses across five categories: Business intelligence and performance; Communication; Development and inclusivity; Healthier, safer lives and Place and environment.

A select group of business leaders from across the East and West Midlands were part of the expert panel that selected the final 50 from this year’s applications, which this year saw a 10% increase in entries compared to the inaugural campaign in 2017. The panel judged entrants on both their originality and impact, with the 50 highest-scoring businesses securing their place in the report.  

Steve Allen, Head of the Birmingham office at Mills & Reeve, said:

“Innovation is at the heart of what we do at Mills & Reeve. From pushing boundaries in our own products and services – earning us a place in the 2019 FT Innovative Lawyers Top 50 and wins at the Legal Week Innovation Awards – to celebrating those that are making waves in their markets, we’re on a mission to encourage and recognise forward-thinking business activity that solves problems.”

“We launched the Innovation 50 in 2017 to celebrate Midlands businesses at their most enterprising, confident and creative. Two years on, and the buzz around the region has only grown – with the quality of 2019 entries showing that we more than live up to our national reputation. From social enterprise to telecoms and business support to agritech, the 2019 Innovation 50 is leading the way with fresh ideas and standout execution. We’re proud to launch the latest report, and look forward to seeing the journeys that these businesses take in the coming years.”

Among the businesses recognised were 10 featured in the 2017 report, demonstrating their continued innovation. These include technology contractor and master systems integrator Vanti, which since 2017 has launched its own platform, SmartCore, which integrates the tech involved in smart buildings to ensure a consistent user experience, and Transreport, which through its Rail Assist app has revolutionised rail travel for disabled passengers.

New Innovation 50 businesses include Wearable Link, winner of Colmore Tang’s £10 million “ConstrucTech” funding package, which harnesses the power of connected infrastructure to increase safety for construction workers, and the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), which recently hit national headlines for its work developing the world’s first hydrogen-powered train.   

The 2019 Innovation 50 applicants were judged by an expert panel including:

·     Paul Bassi CBE, CEO REI PLC

·     Anita Bhalla OBE, Chair, Performances Birmingham

·     Victoria Copestake, Business Development Manager, Enterprise Loans

·     Andrew Dawson, Director and Co-Founder, Curium Solutions

·     Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

·     James Fry, Partner and Head of Life Sciences, Mills & Reeve

·     Susan Hallam MBE, Founder and CEO, Hallam Internet

·     Mark Hipwell, Pre-Construction Manager, HS2, and GBCC Future Faces President

·     Kath Preston, Enterprise Consultant, Aston University

·     David Varnham, Partner, Banking and Finance, Mills & Reeve

·     Keith Webb, Deputy Regional Manager, Corporate Banking – Midlands Region, HSBC UK

·     Tracy Westall, Executive Chair, Curium Solutions

Monday 19 September 2019

Blog: Shining a spotlight on innovation

"Innovation is in our DNA. From our location in the Midlands, where innovation has been a driving force since the Industrial Revolution, to the recent transformation of our Birmingham offices, it’s something that we’re intensely passionate about.”

This is just one of the reasons why we’re so proud to have been shortlisted in six categories at the forthcoming Legal Week Innovation Awards, including the Future of Legal Services Innovation – Large Private Practice Award.

There’s a common belief that innovation is all about technology and while there’s no doubt that plays a part, true innovation is about so much more. People innovate, with their creative thinking and new ideas. This is why we put people at the heart of our innovation strategy at Mills & Reeve. We believe that the future of legal services is one where people and machines work together with clients, where staff are empowered to design workplace improvements and where we deliver services more effectively.   

Through initiatives as diverse as the creation of our inaugural Hackathon, ‘Shareaccino’, where we encourage colleagues to meet and share ideas, and Innovation Week, during which staff submit ideas on how to improve and innovate working practices, we have developed a reputation for thinking outside the box. Our culture of innovation means that staff know we are truly serious about it and that their ideas will be supported – we have an army of 35 volunteer Innovation Champions nationwide and 89% of our staff believe that we are building a reputation for innovation.

Indeed, our commitment to innovation extends beyond our own four walls – we want this to spread into the communities in which we work. That’s why we launched our biennial Innovation 50 in 2017, the Midlands’ only innovation-focused campaign that profiles some of the region’s best, brightest and boldest. By launching the campaign and the first Innovation 50 report in 2017, we wanted to shine a spotlight on businesses across the Midlands that share our passion for forward-thinking. The campaign was a huge success, and the businesses featured in the inaugural Innovation 50 have and are continuing to do great things.

We opened entries for the 2019 campaign earlier this year, and saw some impressive submissions and an increase of 10% compared to 2017 entries. Our panel of expert judges found it very challenging to score and select the final 50, but the results are in and we’re proud to announce that the 2019 report is live. 

Every sector has businesses doing things differently, developing ground-breaking ideas and pioneering ways of working, all of which are vital when it comes to driving the prosperity of the region. This year’s 50 are doing just that and we look forward to what the future brings for them. 

Steve Allen is Head of Mills & Reeve’s Birmingham office.