NewsA Day in the life of an Innovation Manager

A day in the life of… Pradeep Raman, is an Innovation Manager (IM) at the Newcastle Innovation Machine, a development programme at Newcastle Science City that aims to create science-based businesses  that produce products and services that benefit society.

8am: I’m at my desk and preparing for the day. This means checking actions on my project plans. The big project is to develop my own business by identifying an unmet need in society, and meeting that need with innovative solutions.

9am-11am: If it’s Monday, the mornings are dedicated to internal meetings. I’m working on six business ideas simultaneously, so there is a lot of ground to cover with the other seven Innovation Managers. We share information, problem solve and give each other encouragement.

11am-1pm: I use this time to work on projects. One of them will offer large scale solar electric systems to businesses with large buildings – supermarkets for example. I commissioned a report from a market research company based on interviews with senior managers at the Co-operative supermarket and Debenhams. There were some great insights, suggesting how my business might be viewed by potential customers. Government legislation for feed-in tariffs comes into effect in April and it means electricity companies will pay businesses and residents for generating energy if they can supply it to the National Grid. It means there are some very promising opportunities in the renewable energy sector coming up.

Next up, I have a telephone conversation with Christian Heringer, a Cambridge University student with experience of large scale photovoltaic projects in Spain and India. As part of his dissertation he is helping me develop the scale of the project. Then I had a presentation from Prof Nick Covern at Newcastle University’s School of Engineering. His PhD students have been working on a computer software project to help solar panel manufacturers develop more efficient products – it offers a lot of promise for my business plan.

1 – 1.30pm: I grab a bite to eat and have an informal chat with the other IMs!

1.30-4pm: After lunch I focus on another project. I’m developing an online advertising network that will bring together thousands of websites that provide information and advice to travellers. The idea is to use cutting-edge ad-targeting technology to give service providers access to people actively looking for a holiday. The project needs a professional-looking presentation to approach potential customers in the industry with, so development takes a couple of hours.

4pm. A meeting with the boss. Newcastle Science City’s CEO is Peter Arnold and I’m with him and the business manager, Vivek Unnikrishnan, to review my rollout plans. We analyse my projects and prioritise effort and investment. It goes well and we’re looking forward to 2010 being a successful year.

6pm. It’s gym day so I head to Eldon Leisure for a two hour cardio and weights session.

9pm: I’m back at home for supper with my wife.

10.30: I can’t switch off, so I do some background reading on internet advertising before calling it a day at 12am.