What is innovation?


Innovation is the process in which research is applied outside academia in ways which benefit society, any part of society.

At LSE Innovation we help academics and researchers turn their projects into products and services, either through or with the private sector, to enhance their impact and potentially create a revenue stream which can be used to support future research, or provide additional income to the creator and the School.

We can help you work with organisations in the for-profit economy, social enterprises, charities and other organisations in the third sector.   


Why do innovation?

The School is committed to the betterment of society. We want to exploit all opportunities to enhance the impact of our research, and that includes impact through the private and third sectors. We also seek to help academics and researchers to ensure the sustainability of their research, for example by providing a financial return or providing new data which can feed into future research. 

Income which can be generated from commercialising research can be used to sustain and develop that research without the need to constantly reapply for grant funding or philanthropic donations. We want to provide opportunities for our academic and research staff to reap the financial rewards of their research too, wherever possible. We also anticipate that engaging with a broader range of research users will have feedback benefits on research.

Academics and research staff already engage quite extensively in consultancy work, supported by LSE Consulting. LSE Innovation seeks to extend that activity by supporting other ways in which research can be developed at scale, for example through licensing or through creating spin out companies, either as for-profit companies or as social enterprises.


The innovation process

The support required to translate and support innovation has to be adaptable and tailored to be able to give the right support in the right circumstances for specific opportunities; one size does not fit all. A typical project, however, will involve the following four stages: 

1) Idea disclosure
2) Evaluation and IP protection
3) Strategy development
4) Accessing the market

Read more about the innovation process and each separate stage on the Innovating step-by-step page.