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Help solve the problems we face, not the ones you'd like to think we face

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Help solve the problems we face, not the ones youd like to think we face

Decision makers in business constantly warn suppliers and advisers against pushing offerings solutions without reference to the actual needs and priorities of their business.

This point was well made at the launch of the York Rail Innovation Community (with the catchy Shakespearean mnemonic of YoRIC) at the National Railway Museum on 20th February. Backed by destination management company MakeItYork, the initiative aims to bring together those involved in innovation both inside and outside the rail sector and help crack some of the infrastructure, operational and services challenges facing the industry.

Wayne Batty, Head of Innovation at Train Operating Company Northern, emphasised that marketing bumpf extolling readymade ‘solutions’ cut no ice with him or fellow innovation managers at LNER, TransPennine Express and Network Rail who need to hone finite budget and resource on those issues where investment will have the greatest impact. Early engagement, before potential innovations are crystallised, is key.

TransPennine’s Innovation Manager Colin Kelly highlighted that regulatory requirements and the often complex group structures of Train Operating Companies means that suppliers have the best chance of being brought on board if they work with sponsoring senior managers to move through these compliance checkpoints. This is an important point for a business like ours, which advises a number of York-based infrastructure, consultancy and technology suppliers in this sector, and means we have to understand the mindset and needs of the customers of our customers if we are to be of real assistance.

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