BLOG: De Montfort University: ‘Innovation is at the heart of everything we do’7 February 2024
De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) collaborates with businesses, community partners, third-sector organisations, Government and learners to share knowledge, expertise, skills, technologies and facilities to encourage innovation in everything it does.
DMU’s business services team helps companies of all shapes and sizes to grow whether that’s innovating new ways of working through leadership and management training, or developing and testing new products working with its academics.
DMU’s expertise in sustainability means it is the only UK university to be a United Nations academic hub.
The dedicated business services team works with businesses and communities to improve their ESG goals and encourage innovation across all sectors.
Head of Knowledge Exchange and Innovation, Anjuu Trevidi MBE, told Innovative Leicestershire why DMU is sponsoring Leicestershire Innovation Festival 2024.
Why is innovation important to your organisation?
Innovation is at the heart of everything we do – innovation is happening across the ecosystem of the whole university all day every day.
In every aspect of life, if you’re not innovating, what are you doing?
As a university we are more than just an educational institution – we have such an important role to play in developing businesses, carrying out research and encouraging innovation in our city and further afield.
How does your organisation encourage innovation?
Innovation exists in every area of the university. DMU is all about creating, advancing, applying and sharing knowledge, through research and development, education and skills via teaching and learning and research.
We have some of the best academics and experts across all of our faculties and services – these people and their knowledge are an asset to DMU but also a valuable and often untapped resource to businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators in our wider community.
Our Innovation Centre is at the cutting-edge of innovation and entrepreneurship in Leicestershire.
It is a space in which individuals and groups are encouraged to explore new ideas and grow their ventures.
We host regular events there which are open to the public and SMEs and start-ups can benefit from attending masterclasses run through The Crucible, our business incubation programme.
The theme of the sixth annual festival is ‘Small Change, Big Impact’ – when has DMU made a small change resulting in a big impact?
We had an old coffee machine in the Innovation Centre here at DMU which used non-recyclable pods, so we decided to get rid of it and bring in more sustainable options for teas and coffees.
We introduced free, bottomless coffees and teas for people coming into the co-working cafe space in the Innovation Centre as part of our offer.
It’s led to more people using the space, a more sustainable offer for our co workers and entrepreneurs and some great collaboration conversations over cuppas, so a win win all round.
Among all the examples, do any particular DMU innovations come to mind?
All of our faculties have examples of innovative processes, products and services.
Our Health and Life Sciences faculty works with thousands of student nurses and is playing an integral role in developing the next generation of nurses and ways of working within the profession.
Some of the work in our Arts, Design and Humanities faculty around sustainable fashion, architecture and prototypes of all kinds of products are being worked on – some that have the potential to make a real difference.
In Computing, Engineering and Media there is so much work around AI and we are an industry leader in our work on cyber security.
The students and academics in our Business and Law faculty are working on a host of projects in all sorts of areas from the equestrian industry to the Top 200 that the team research and build every year.
I’m hopeful that people will find out more about some of our best examples at the Innovation Awards – there are several projects that I hope to see make shortlists so I don’t want to give away any spoilers.
Some current projects that could see huge impacts made include new treatment for cancer patients and new technology at airports, in the manufacturing world and cyber security.
DMU has supported the festival for some years, why does it lend the event its continuing support?
Innovation is who we are, it’s what we do and it’s what we want to support others to do too.
The festival is an opportunity to showcase some of the amazing and inspirational innovations that Leicestershire is responsible for and share successes – why wouldn’t we want to be involved in that?