Four benefits of collaborating for your innovation project

Collaboration is a way of bringing your innovation project to life and through the LEP’s Connecting Innovation programme.

6 September 2021

Innovation is about commercialising new ideas, thinking differently and finding solutions. At the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), we are here to help businesses with those ideas, to harness the opportunities and work together to nurture innovation in the Leeds City Region.

When it comes to innovating for the first time, for any business it can be fuelled with excitement and passion about your idea and the potential opportunity for those it can benefit. There’s also the other side of unknowns and uncertainties, lacking specific expertise to get your idea off the ground and unsure of how to bring it to life.

This is when collaboration can really help you and your business. Collaboration is about working together for a shared outcome with other people both inside and outside your organisation and can bring several benefits to help your innovation idea succeed.

Collaboration is a way of bringing your innovation project to life and through the LEP’s Connecting Innovation programme, we offer funding to SME businesses from the Kickstart Innovation Fund, if you are looking to collaborate with a third party to drive your innovation forward.

Four benefits of collaborative innovation

1. Leverage additional skills and expertise

As an SME, it’s unlikely you will have all the expertise internally to bring your innovation project to reality. Having access to external knowledge and those who can solve the challenges that you can’t, will only improve the chances of success. Seeking this expertise requires time, research and finance, which is where securing funding for collaborative projects can help to get things off the ground.

2. Sharing ideas for a different perspective and broader thinking

Having different perspectives can expand thinking, idea development and action, it can move projects forward with real support and progress. Consider your network, relationships and those you can talk to and hear different views. It could be bouncing thoughts off colleagues or tapping into trusted peers. When teamed with the first point, the specialist expertise can bring alternative approaches and thinking that could take the project in a different direction or reinforce your own view, so you know you’re on the right track.

3. Mutual interest, focus and strategic approach

There’s additional buy-in to make the project a success; those involved take ownership of the part they have to play and have an active interest in making it work. Innovation happens when a team can come together and all contribute, it helps to keep people focused on the outcome and the strategic direction of your business.

4. Shift in mindset

Nurturing the openness to experiment with new ideas comes from talking and sharing with like-minded people, creative experts, or people with experience. Working collaboratively creates an environment for experimenting and understanding, with input from colleagues that can influence and recharge your mindset for success. It can encourage better productivity and more creative output than working in isolation or within a small team who all have a similar view, instead developing a more open mindset to being challenged, to testing and testing again and this builds greater efficiency and commitment to your work and the desired outcome.

Business example: DigiBete Global Limited

DigiBete Global Limited, who support the DigiBete (CIC) award-winning digital platform for patients with Type 1 Diabetes and their clinical teams, have secured finance through the Kickstart Innovation Fund to source the external expertise needed for the next stage of their innovation project. The company has been awarded the grant to develop and implement two-way communication into their current app which will enable communication between clinics and their patients.

John Hughes, Director at DigiBete said: “Although we have a good mix of entrepreneurial, financial and general business skills in the business, we are a small team and we recognise the importance of collaborations to enhance our growth prospects and help meet our strategic objectives. It gives us the ability to leverage additional skills, which is particularly important for newer businesses; it provides enhanced project scoping through wider discussion, minimising mistakes and therefore improves the chance of better outcomes, all through collaboration.”

John continued: “DigiBete is developing its innovative digital resources in a progressive way and as a naturally collaborative business, the grant from Connecting Innovation has allowed us to match-fund a further important step on our development pathway in a timelier manner, working with our trusted development partners, HMA. Being able to match-fund projects alleviates the financing burden and makes our own funds go further.”

How can the LEP support your innovation journey?

As seen from DigiBete, one way of being able to collaborate for your innovation project is through the Connecting Innovation programme from the LEP – the Kickstart Innovation Fund can help you on the first step of your innovation journey if you’re looking to collaborate for the first time.

Kickstart Innovation Fund is a match-funded grant for projects up to £25,000 which will support the progression of an innovation project for SMEs in the Leeds City Region.

What’s next?

To hear more about how we can help you, contact the innovation team at or visit our innovation pages. For any other business support enquiries email or call 0113 348 1818.


Connecting Innovation is delivered by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.EU and Northern Powerhouse Logos