Letting Loose

Guest blog by David Brayne, Senior Innovation and Growth Specialist – Innovate UK EDGE.

I’ve never been at Her Majesty’s pleasure but I can imagine the emotions of being released with all the anticipation and expectation, the opportunities to do things afresh in our nearly new normal situations.

On Thursday I had the chance to attend a Hybrid event and present a piece both to a live audience and in front of cameras at INNSiDE Manchester’s Live Studio to be broadcast live as the keynote speaker for Elevate’s Innovation Exchange event. Having been a pretty well decorated COVID veteran, the last year has brought isolation, intensive caring for elderly relatives, succumbing to COVID over Christmas, then a loss and an extended recovery period including plasma donation, getting out there was a mixed experience. Yes, I was excited and anxious to do a good job and while having had one of my scheduled vaccines and regular lateral flow testing I was also worried about the unknowns. In fact, however I should not have been so concerned and I was not on my own, we all felt a little mix of anxiety and delight, we all questioned if we had followed procedure, sanitised, should we shake hands? Is this OK? Fumbling for masks and rediscovering social protocol was part of the experience but what a pleasure to be able to see full body language and share in the passion of the subjects, the challenges and successes that the attendees all brought both physically and on film.

We‘ve all gotten used to and perhaps now even maybe a little too comfortable with communication through the lens, and there are many advantages to it, not least a lower environmental impact and smaller time footprint of not travelling. But I have to say, the day full of interaction, the adrenaline rush of live presentation and the buzz in the room was invigorating and I realised that this what has been missing, feeling alive and really connecting with the same in the whites of everyone else’s eyes.

So we need to be mindful of everyone’s concerns and balance that desire to return to normal with respect for people and the planet, but I urge you that if you do feel worried to go back to business as usual, follow the rules, take a deep breath and go out and re-connect, after all for us, “Innovation is a contact sport!”

You can watch the Innovation Exchange in full on our website here.

Find out more about how Innovate UK EDGE can help you on their website here.