When it comes to looking at ways to boost the flagging UK economy, I can't help but think that university research is is one of our most impressive assets, with so much potential for driving real long-term innovation in British business and development.
However, it has to be said that other countries - the US being a prime example, but also Asian economies such as China and South Korea - are much better at forging successful relationships between university research and the corporate world, where theory is effectively and profitably translated into practical reality.
Just look at graphene, which first took physical form in the UK, at The University of Manchester, thanks to the efforts of two Nobel Prize-winning physicists who are now leading the world in research into this area of innovation - and yet our country is lagging when it comes to placing patents on possible products that could be created by this 'wonder material', as the FT reveals.
That's why I was so pleased at being asked to help establish The Innovation Commons, a new virtual community that aims to bring together UK universities and other creators of intellectual property (IP) with business consultants who can offer expert advice on which IP ideas are likely to find marketable success - and can also offer their commercial services in helping to make this happen. Ideal for universities who are often short of the required resource and specialist expertise, and perfect for consultants on the look-out for opportunities to get involved with the 'next big thing'.
The Innovation Commons also welcomes business angels and other potential funders looking for interesting investment opportunities, bringing that all-important third side of the research-finance-commerce triangle into place.
The challenge for me was to create copy for the new promotional website and for marketing e-shots that clearly explained what The Innovation Commons is, who it is for and what the potential benefits could be for all concerned. It may seem as though this is no different from the challenge for all copywriting projects; however, anyone who has ever been involved with higher education institutions will be all too aware of the jargon that prevails at many levels of communication - jargon that may prove impenetrable and therefore offputting for lay people and indeed commercial organisations.
Copy for The Innovation Commons had to be clear, concise and clearly tailored to its audiences. Working closely with those wonderful web developers and designers at We Are Life, I think we managed to pull it off.
But don't take my word for it...
The Innovation Commons is a virtual 'space in common' that unites varied audiences with different needs and agendas - with lots of domain-specific jargon! We therefore needed copy for our website and marketing e-shots that would quickly and clearly communicate our concept and benefits in a way that these multiple audiences would understand and appreciate.
Working with Rowena was easy. She was astute. She quickly understood what we were doing and what we needed. So the copy that she produced was directly relevant to our core propositions - creative and pithy. Response to the website since our launch has been very encouraging and related e-shot has generated new interest and leads. Above all, she was a pleasure to deal with.
We'll certainly use Rowena again and wholeheartedly recommend her.
Brian McCaul, The Innovation Commons
See The Innovation Commons.