What could Gloucestershire businesses learn from Amazon’s innovation journey?

Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
13th October 2022

Gloucestershire is a true innovation powerhouse. Our county houses the UK’s largest network of agri-tech SMEs, we’re internationally recognised as ‘the cradle of UK cyber-tech innovation’ and  Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng identified Gloucestershire as one of 38 key ‘investment zones’.

But there’s always room for improvement, and Gloucestershire innovators should be looking to advice from those who have been there before and been successful doing it. 

On 25th October, Business West and Amazon Web Services will be delivering a unique workshop on the innovation processes that have driven Jeff Bezos’ business empire, and how they can be applied to any R&D project. 

Amazon’s journey from Seattle bookseller to trillion-dollar ecommerce giant is rooted in its business culture that ‘obsesses’ over the customer experience.

The process begins with the customer’s needs, desires and daily frictions – and works backwards to envision the ideal solution to their problems. 

By focusing first on the customer, not the technology, Amazon is able to maintain laser-focused direction from development to launch, culminating in products and services that people keep coming back for.  

The results are staggering. Amazon now accounts for 30% of the UK’s online shopping and here in Gloucestershire, we’re noticing their presence more than ever.

Residents of Barnwood will have spotted the 120,000 sq. ft Amazon distribution centre under construction opposite the Unilever factory. And across the country, the company took a quarter of all UK warehouse space leased in 2020 and 2021. 

Of course, not every business can be like Amazon. Its philosophy goes against the grain of many other successful businesses. 

But for any business undertaking an innovation project, Amazon’s example can offer some vital lessons, and perhaps inspire a fundamental rethink of how to approach R&D. 

That’s why Business West is pleased to partner with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to offer free guidance on how to install Amazon’s principals in any organisation. 

Interested companies are invited to join an introductory workshop focused on Amazon’s innovation mechanisms, architecture and organisation, after which 20 businesses will be selected for five days of support from Amazon mentors. 

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