Research Spotlight on Bristol Leadership & Change Centre

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Over the next few months, we will be bringing you Research Spotlights on some of our research centres and groups to give you and understanding of the work undertaken within each area.

This first spotlight focuses on the Bristol Leadership & Change Centre:

Bristol Leadership and Change Centre (BLCC) is a research centre within the Bristol Business School, with 52 members including 32 faculty members, 8PhD students and 12 visiting fellows/professors. BLCC has built a thriving community of academics, practitioners and students all actively engaging with and exploring the complex nature of leadership and change in contemporary organisations and society.

The focus of their work ranges from promoting leadership and organisational change in the NHS, to supporting people with complex multiple needs in Bristol, developing entrepreneurial learning in Turkey and supporting malaria elimination in Southern Africa.  Such examples demonstrate the potential for inclusive and collaborative leadership to build a shared sense of purpose and commitment that makes a real positive difference to the lives of many people. It is a welcome antidote to the myth of the hero leader and the divisive and destructive practices that feature all too often in news and social media headlines.

Within the Centre members focus on key research themes based around the question ‘How to mobilise and sustain responsible change in complex and uncertain contexts?’ Their research sits within four broad themes:

  1. Leadership & Followership in a Changing World: including responsible and sustainable leadership; complexity, paradox and ambiguity; distributed, shared and systems leadership; and alternative ways of organising.
  2. Cultures of Leading and Organising: including equality, diversity and inclusion; space, place and time in organisations; language and indigenous leadership; and power, influence and identity.
  3. Leadership and Organisational Learning and Development: including ethics, wisdom and spirituality; action research, collaborative enquiry and evaluation; leadership & Management Learning; and coaching & Mentoring.
  4. Behaviour Change and Social Influence: including social Movements; Systems Change; Social Practice Theory; and Creativity, innovation and enterprise.

The following projects showcase a snippet of the work they have been involved with over the last two years, but please visit the research pages to find out more.

Case Study 1: Our Work with the NHS Leadership Academy

Bristol Leadership & Change Centre is involved with a number of projects with the NHS Leadership Academy, below we have showcased two of the projects they are currently working on.

Project 1: Leadership Landscape in London – Learning from the pandemic to inform future leadership development – Richard Bolden, Professor of Leadership & Management

Leadership Landscape in London is led by Professor Richard Bolden and has been commissioned by the NHS London Leadership Academy to capture learning and insights from the Covid-19 pandemic to inform the design and provision of leadership development interventions for NHS staff (and affiliates) across the health and care system in London. 

The NHS in England is facing a series of substantial challenges that raise questions about what kind/s of individual and collective leadership capacity is/are required and how this can be most effectively developed within the current context.

The overarching research question for this study is:

‘What has the pandemic revealed about the nature and purpose(s) of leadership in health and care and how effective leadership capacity can be nurtured for the future? ‘

Through a mixed method, qualitative study, we aim to capture a diverse range of perspectives on issues including:

  • How leaders, managers and staff across the health and care sector within London have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • How individuals, teams, organisations and the wider system have responded to the challenges and what learning and insights have emerged.
  • Where there are examples of innovation and adaptation that could be drawn on to inform future leadership and/or management practice and development in London and beyond.
  • What gaps/limitations have been revealed around current leadership/management capacity and support and what needs to be done to address this.
  • How to begin addressing the trauma and inequalities revealed by Covid-19 through the creation of spaces for open and honest discussion and opportunities for reflection on lived experience.

Findings will be presented in a report to the NHS London Leadership Academy and partners to review, revise and develop leadership and management development provision in the region.

Project 2: Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System OD Collaborative – Carol Jarvis, Professor of Knowledge Exchange & Innovation

Given the well documented and significant challenges facing the Health and Social Care system, organisations need to develop new and different ways of doing things to sustain their success, and this includes tapping into the potential of their staff to develop creative, innovative and technologically advanced ways of working and caring for patients and service users.

Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System (ICS) is leading the way on integration to close the gap in health and wellbeing outcomes against a backdrop of limited finances, increasing population numbers and increasing numbers of people living in ill health. To support this, partners are working as an Organisation Development (OD) Collaborative across the whole system to develop well supported, informed and involved leaders and services that have the ability to influence the wider system into working effectively with partners across health, social care and the voluntary sector to provide joined up patient/service user care.

In preparation for the introduction of ICS’s on a formal footing in 2022, a team from BLCC led by Professor Carol Jarvis has been commissioned by NHS Midlands Leadership Academy (Leadership and Lifelong Learning) to conduct a pre-diagnostic study. This research seeks to develop recommendations, grounded in a robust investigation of current and best practice, that will support the implementation of a sustainable, system-wide community of practice, with an emphasis on cultural development; service improvement/innovation methodologies; and leadership and in support of providing joined up patient/service user care.

Case Study 2: Shaping the Teaching & Researching Environment in Turkey – Selen Kars, Senior Lecturer Organisation Studies

In 2020, Arthur Turner, Carol Jarvis, Harriet Shortt, Hugo Gaggiotti and Selen Kars designed and delivered a one-week workshop on “Creativity in Research” to over 30 management researchers across Turkish universities. This workshop forms part of the Knowledge Exchange Partnership with Izmir University of Economics (Turkey) Faculty of Business, funded by British Council Newton Fund Research Environment Links and was led by Selen Kars. It aims to transfer UWE Bristol Business School’s three areas of distinctiveness to the lead project partner, Izmir University of Economics to improve the partner’s research environment. More information about the project can be found here.
During the week-long programme of synchronous and asynchronous sessions amounting to 24 hours of interactive material, Turkish management researchers were introduced to a range of creative approaches to management research from finger puppets to collage, from photography to storytelling. They discussed examples from their own practice and co-reflected with participants how these approaches can be adopted to participants’ own area of research. The workshop was received with enthusiasm and resulted in four research ideas that participants are keen to forward in collaboration with the workshop team, and has also been nominated for higher Education Council Turkey’s Outstanding Performance Award.

Case Study 3: Improved Healthcare service delivery for infectious diseases in Africa – Peter Case, Professor of Organisation Studies

Professor Peter Case secured a prestigious Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant (in collaboration with the Malaria Elimination Initiative research centre based at the University of California, San Francisco) to assist the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) in Zimbabwe to improve HIV prevention. The project, entitled ‘Optimizing Stakeholder Operating Models for HIV Prevention in Zimbabwe’, is running from June 2020 to December 2022 with an overall aim of integrating prevention services and moving them forward in a more sustainable way. Using a variety of methods, such as, key informant interviewing, participatory action research and action learning, the study will focus, in particular, on the transformation and integration of Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC) services. The research objectives are to:

  • Identify and quantify the barriers and enablers for uptake of key VMMC and prevention program responsibilities.
  • Identify the current state of motivation, organizational and individual ability to change stakeholder operating models, and organizational intervention gaps to achieve sustainability. 
  • Identify the drivers (e.g. incentive structures, information, and other triggers) to achieve a sustainable HIV prevention and VMMC program.
  • Segment community and system stakeholders by their behaviour towards the uptake of VMMC program responsibilities in order to better target interventions.

Engaging the Community and Society

Alongside research projects, BLCC engages with the wider community through a number of projects including;


“In integrating unleadership into organisational life after the pandemic, we anticipate a flourishing of creativity and the humanising of our workplaces to accommodate the human spirit.”

Covid-19 has brought unprecedented disruption to our lives and workplaces. The leaderly acts that have emerged have often been from unexpected places and have achieved outcomes that inspired us. Professor Carol Jarvis and Selen Kars have characterised these acts and associated practices, descrbing them as ‘unleadership’ (Jarvis et al, 2020; Kars-Unluoglu et al, under review). 

Unleadership Logo

Carol and Selen are curious about how these leaderly practices can allow communities and organisations to tap into their latent leadership potential.  Through seeking out the less obvious and illuminating the spaces in-between they want to create a new movement for unleadership. They will collaborate, reflect upon and be inspired by the leaderly actions of others co-creating innovations that keep developing the concept and practices of unleadership.

Through a series of participative, co-creation workshops and interviews of unleaders they plan to create a resource for others to draw on as we all strive to build back and organise ourselves differently in the future.

To join the Unleadership movement follow us on Twitter @Unleadership.

Find out more about the work undertaken by the members in Bristol Leadership and Change Centre below:

Knowledge Transfer Partnership with VQ Communications Graded Outstanding

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A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with VQ Communications has been graded Outstanding by Innovate UK.

The two year project aimed to embed knowledge of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to determine how ML/AI can be applied to VQ Communications complex systems to reduce support costs, boost engineering productivity and enable deployment of larger networks at lower cost and higher levels of service.

Mike Horsley, VQ Communications CEO commented: “It is very pleasing to see the investment made and the hard work, expertise and tenacity that the UWE/VQ team placed into this KTP being recognized in this manner.

VQ continues to invest in the AI/ML technology developed during the KTP and we are getting extremely encouraging results. The team has expanded to include an additional software engineer and we continue to work with the UWE team via a professional services agreement.

Advanced technology is difficult; it requires expertise and managed risk-taking. The KTP program enabled VQ to master a new technology and we are very excited about how the resulting new products and services will help our customers solve the problems they face and, by doing so, will enable VQ to further extend its market leadership and demonstrate continuing growth”.

Lead academic Professor Jim Smith, Professor in Interactive Artificial Intelligence, commented: “The partnership has been a fantastic opportunity to develop AI-based solutions together with a company, and the area: (improving video communication tools) couldn’t have been more topical during the pandemic.”

Based in Chippenham, VQ Communications produces software that allows customers to deploy and manage large video conferencing (also known as “Unified Communications”) services. VQ has established a leading market position over the last 15 years and VQ’s current product generation works with Cisco’s Meeting Server products and is being used by customers world-wide to deliver enterprise wide conferencing. VQ is a Cisco Solution Partner with Cisco recommending and selling VQ’s product.

UWE Bristol and VQ communications plan to continue their relationship together and have recently signed contracts to develop their work on the technology further.

View the VQ Communications case study here.

The KTP scheme is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve competitiveness and productivity. With the help of graduate talent and access to UWE Bristol academic expertise, a KTP can help your business to transform and solve problems to achieve goals.

To find out more about KTPs please visit our website.

UWE Bristol selected to deliver Small Business Leadership Programme – spaces available!

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UWE Bristol have been selected to deliver the Small Business Leadership Programme with the first cohort starting in January. Spaces are available but limited, so book now to avoid disappointment.

The Small Business Leadership Programme supports senior leaders to enhance their business’s resilience and recovery from the impact of COVID-19. It helps small and medium-sized businesses to develop their potential for future growth and productivity.

The fully-funded 10 week programme will be delivered online by small business and enterprise experts from world-leading business schools.

Participants will develop strategic leadership skills and the confidence to make informed decisions to boost business performance.

To join the Small Business Leadership Programme, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Your business must be a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) based in England
  • Your business needs to employ between 5 and 249 people and have been operational for at least one year
  • The participant should be a decision maker or member of the senior management team within the business with at least one person reporting directly to them
  • The participant must be able to commit to attending the full programme
  • A maximum of 2 individuals form any one organisation may attend

Our four cohorts will start on the following dates, with the full dates available on the registration page:

Cohort 1 – start date Monday 11 January 2021, 13.00 – 14.30
Cohort 2 – start date Tuesday 12 January 2021, 15.00 – 16.30
Cohort 3 – start date Monday 18 January 2021, 17.30 – 19.00
Cohort 4 – start date Tuesday 19 January 2021, 09.30 – 11.00

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “The strength of small businesses up and down the country will be vital as we begin to bounce back from coronavirus and re-build our economy. The Small Business Leadership Programme will help to equip small business leaders with the leadership and problem-solving skills they need to grow their firms in the wake of this pandemic.” 

Find out more here

UWE Bristol signs open letter calling for clarity and transparency on the future UK Shared Prosperity Fund

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UWE Bristol, as part of the University Alliance (UA), has signed an open letter, alongside over 70 organisations from across the UK, calling for clarity and transparency on the future UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to avoid vital support disappearing when existing programmes end in 2023.

EU Structural Funds have been a key enabler of collaboration between universities and business, used to support and develop communities and regions; whether through programmes that have increased employment and skills, or through initiatives to drive forward research, innovation and enterprise.

Director of Research, Business and Innovation at UWE Bristol Tracey John said:

EU Structural Funds play a vital role in helping us achieve our ambitious goals for helping businesses within the region.

As a university we have won £13m of EU Structural Funds since 2017, allowing us to leverage £14m of company investment in research and innovation. This in turn has enabled us to help countless SMEs within the region, creating hundreds of new jobs, products and services.

One of the beneficiaries of our funding is 299 Lighting. Talking at an event for companies who have been awarded grants from UWE Bristol, they explained “the funding allowed us to expand our business to the next level… setting up our own manufacturing in Bristol and grow our team and own the product range”. Talking at the same event, The Real Olive Company explained that funding “brought everything into focus and helped us push forward with projects and ideas.”

Without a timely replacement of the funds, we are putting at risk many of the projects and schemes that we run for businesses in the region, which will have a direct impact on the region’s economy, particularly during such times of economic uncertainty.”

University Alliance Chief Executive Vanessa Wilson said:

“EU structural funds have been a vital mechanism for universities to support businesses and communities – especially throughout the pandemic. Details of their replacement, the UKSPF, have been promised but not delivered, and time is running out as we approach the end of the Brexit transition period.

“University and business leaders want to work constructively and proactively with the Government now to address the current economic challenges and reduce inequalities between regions. Given the uncertainty ahead, it has never been more important to deliver the UKSPF, which will be a vehicle for the much-needed long-term planning and investment needed to level-up the nation.”

UWE Bristol is committed to supporting economic development in the region and full supports the need for clarity around these funds.

Follow this link to read the open letter from UA.

Follow this link to find out more about our funds.

A History of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at UWE Bristol

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At UWE Bristol we have been running Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) for nearly 40 years.

The KTP scheme is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve competitiveness and productivity.

The above graphics show some statistics from our years delivering KTPs including total live project value across our faculties and project by sector.

Chris Simons, Senior Lecturer Computer Science and Creative Technologies at UWE Bristol, comments on his experience as a KTP Academic S

Find out more about a KTP with UWE Bristol here.

Future Space responds to the ‘new world of work’

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Future Space responds to the ‘new world of work’ with launch of connected member option and newly appointed innovation manager.

Future Space, in the University Enterprise Zone (UEZ), has offices, workshops and lab-space for science and tech-based businesses, and has been explicitly designed to encourage innovation, collaboration and inspiration.

Future Space is redefining the workspace market with a new set of member packages and business support services, designed to meet the needs of SMEs for the post-Covid era.

With flexibility and added value at the heart of its new offering, the hub – renowned as a hot bed of innovation in the South West – will have a new affiliate membership option, called Connected, available from September.

The newly created connected membership has been designed to enable access into Future Space facilities and services for those businesses that don’t need a dedicated desk.

The package is designed to be a gateway to a more permanent presence at the centre. Members can take advantage of the networking spaces during the week, as well as the full range of Future Space business support services.

Businesses will also be able to make use of the valuable connection with the University of the West of England (UWE) community to benefit from academic resources and research functions. This will all be supported by a new member only website for firms to access the extensive list of opportunities available.

The new connected membership, member website and virtual in-residence initiative has been driven by Aimeé Skinner, newly appointed innovation manager for Future Space.

Aimeé joins Oxford Innovation, which operates Future Space on behalf of UWE, with several years’ corporate experience. Notably, she spent two years as innovation manager for Bristol Water where she was credited with developing and implementing the utility provider’s innovation agenda which included Robotic Process Automation.

Commenting on her appointment, Aimeé said: “I’m truly excited to be part of the Future Space team. It’s a challenging time for companies and I am focused on establishing new ways to support the business community through pioneering and creative applications.

“I have also been further developing my close contact with UWE to build mutually beneficial links and access to resources for our member companies, to foster new ways of working and drive future innovation.”

Read the full story here.

UWE Bristol named as one of Rate My Apprenticeship Top Training Providers

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UWE Bristol have been named as one of the top 50 apprenticeship providers in the Rate My Apprenticeship Awards. There are 2,141 apprenticeship providers registered with the government so it is a huge credit to the university to be ranked within the top 50.

The Rate My Apprenticeship Awards champion apprentices, schools, employers and training providers for their incredible efforts in the apprenticeship market. 

Head of Apprenticeships, Simon Flenley-Pond commented “We’re delighted that UWE Bristol has landed a spot in the Top 50 Apprenticeship Training Providers this year.  It’s a real testament to the quality of our provision and the hard work that is put in to support the needs of both apprentices and their employers. 

The Rate My Apprenticeship Awards are highly recognised in the sector, and it’s great that as a relatively new provider we have secured this accolade.  The awards are voted for directly by apprentices who are engaged in our delivery, so this helps give us the confidence that as an institution, we are providing high quality apprenticeship training to our learners.  The award also helps us to build our provision by giving assurance to existing and new employers in partnering with us for their apprenticeship training needs and staff development.

Find out more about Degree Apprenticeships at UWE Bristol here.

KTP Project with Viper Innovations Nominated for KTP Best of the Best Awards 2020

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UWE Bristol’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Viper Innovations (Portishead), which completed in 2018, has been nominated as one of three finalists in the Business Impact category for the KTP Best of the Best Awards 2020. To be considered for the award, an organisation must be able to demonstrate substantial ongoing impact from their KTP beyond the expectations as set out in their Partnership’s original KTP proposal.

The two-year project with Viper, undertaken by KTP Associate Kim Mahoney, identified and directed the market opportunities and priorities of the company as part of their business diversification into new sectors: rail, airports, power and communications. The project was focused specifically on the company’s newly launched CableGuardian™ product. With academic expertise from Tim Hughes (Bristol Business School) and Tracy Hunt-Fraisse (Bristol Business School) the team identified penetrable markets and worked to increase product awareness within them. The learning and outputs from the KTP have formed the basis in scoping Viper’s diversification strategy for its CableGuardian product and services for the next 5 years and the financial impact is set to be very impressive.

Neil Douglas (Director, Viper Innovations) noted “Viper Innovations is absolutely delighted that this KTP has been recognised with this nomination. The success was largely due to the commitment by all parties and the quality and ability of the Academic Supervisor and the KTP Associate, coupled with a highly focussed scope of work that was a key element of the growth strategy of Viper Innovations.” UWE and Viper have continued to collaborate and have since secured funding for a second KTP project, which started in June 2020.

The winner of the award will be announced on 09 September 2020.

Future Space celebrates £1.3m funding for companies driving innovation

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Original post appeared on Business Leader.

Businesses based at UWE Bristol’s science and tech hub Future Space are celebrating the award of Innovate UK funding designed to help companies continue innovation and development activities through the coronavirus crisis.

£1.3m funding has been secured by resident businesses in the last three months, supported by the Future Space team.

Future Space businesses securing Innovate UK coronavirus grants, created by the Government to support businesses driving innovation and development, include biodevice tech IP specialist BiotIP; digital experts 500More; pioneers in Cyber-Physical Operating Systems Indus Four; software solutions provider HBXL, mass spectrometry experts Mass Spec Analytical; 3D scanning and software engineering firm OR3D; and eco technology provider to the transport and aviation industries Intercede Ventures.

In addition, transport solutions innovator Esoterix was one of 25 organisations to snap up a share of a £9.4m pot offered by the Department of Transport and delivered by Innovate UK in its 2020 First of a Kind (FOAK) competition, which encourages innovation in the rail industry.

The £370,000 grant has enabled Esoterix to recruit four new members of staff to support with the project which will be completed by the end of March 2021.

Meanwhile, Service Robotics, the company behind GenieConnect®, the companion robot that helps older adults live independently in their homes through voice-enabled face-to-face video support, successfully completed a second seed funding round amounting to £600k.

Future Space returned to full operation for all companies on 29 June and maintained access throughout the lockdown period for its lab-based businesses to enable vital research to continue uninterrupted.

The team worked closely with UWE Bristol at the start of lockdown to put in place a support package for all companies.

All companies also received three months’ 50% rent reduction and access to UWE Bristol’s Summer Internship scheme.

Service Robotics and another Future Space business Healcerion EMEA have appointed fully funded interns for the summer as part of the scheme designed to create employment opportunities during the challenging Covid period.

Future Space is managed by Oxford Innovation (OI) on behalf of the University of the West of England (UWE), and offers a range of office space, shared and dedicated laboratories, workshops and coworking facilities designed specifically for high-tech, science based entrepreneurs and innovators.

Future Space centre director Laura Crocken Stevens said: “It’s testament to the pioneering work ongoing here at Future Space that these innovation-driven grants and funding have been received by our customers and we look forward to seeing what the next phase brings.

“We have been focused on assisting all our resident businesses through lockdown. Every company has a different story to tell. For our lab customers it was essential for us to maintain access to Future Space to continue important research work and others needed assistance to take advantage of Government support measures.”

Professor Martin Boddy, pro vice-chancellor for research and enterprise at UWE Bristol and a key founder of Future Space commented: “There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has created unexpected challenges, with the situation still evolving. Future Space businesses have, however, shown great resilience in the face of these challenges and continue to innovate and grow.

“These funding awards are great news and we look forward to seeing the emergence of ground-breaking work as a result. Future Space has become synonymous with excellence in innovation, demand for our space and facilities remains buoyant and we look forward to continuing growth and development.”
Future Space is managed by Oxford Innovation (OI) on behalf of the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), and offers a range of office space, shared and dedicated laboratories, workshops and co-working facilities designed specifically for high-tech, science based entrepreneurs and innovators.
The hub last year posted record results, with over £9 million of regional Gross Value Added (GVA) in its third year of operation.

Read the full story here

Future Space resident Homelync joins forces with Aico to expand market leading social landlord Internet of Things platform

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Homelync, who started in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) Hardware Incubator before graduating to Future Space, have been acquired by Aico.

Homelync are an award-winning, innovative technology firm that specialise in smart home integration and analytics technology. With industry-leading expertise in the Internet of Things (IoT), software development and integration, the Homelync team are at the forefront of this progressive market. Homelync have widely rolled out integrated IoT solutions for social landlords across the UK to help them tackle challenges associated with cost savings, maintenance efficiency, decarbonization, tenant safety, fuel poverty, and social care. This is done by leveraging an ecosystem of leading IoT devices including temperature, humidity, CO2, fire safety, water leak, boilers, and energy.

Aico is the UK market leader in domestic Fire and Carbon Monoxide protection, pioneering new technologies and offering high quality Fire and Carbon Monoxide alarms. Known for their focus on education, quality, service and innovation they are the premium brand in social housing. After the successful roll out of their popular SmartLINK Gateway, and due to customer demand, they have ambitious plans to expand further into the social housing Internet of Things (IoT) and connected home market.

This acquisition represents a significant step forward for IoT in social housing at a time when the market has recently seen significant growth. The acquisition gives landlords the opportunity to invest in IoT over a longer term investment cycle by providing an additional layer of confidence that couples Homelync’s innovation with the resources of a well-established brand that is trusted in the sector. Aico’s heritage of 30 years standing provides great strength for all landlords.

Read the full story here. The BRL Hardware Incubator and Future Space are part of the University Enterprise Zone. They connect entrepreneurs and tech innovators with scientists, researchers and graduate talent – to spark collaboration, innovation and growth. Find out more here.