Imperial College London

Microsoft chooses Imperial College Business School as partner for new collaborative innovation club

Imperial College Business School

Imperial College Business School will help international companies spur new product and service development as academic partner of the Innovation Outreach Programme.

[Global Investment Conference, London]

A new agreement announced today, at a conference hosted by the Prime Minister, will make Imperial College London's expertise in innovation management, technology transfer and engineering available to the Microsoft-hosted Innovation Outreach Programme (IOP), a cross-industry community of multinational companies. The Innovation Outreach Programme aims to develop innovative business ideas and test how these ideas might profitably be turned into new products and services.

Established in 2009, the IOP enables an elite group of companies, and their chief innovation executives, to regularly discuss the opportunities and challenges they face in developing new products and services or improving existing ones, in order to maintain their competitive edge. Microsoft, which hosts the programme, is now expanding the IOP into Europe, adding a further ten companies.  It has chosen Imperial College Business School to provide academic support for both American and European IOP events and activities.

The School will provide the business-focused research, and will also work with other departments within Imperial to draw together engineering expertise for technical proof of concept and new technology development. Members of the IOP will also be able to work with Imperial Innovations, one of the UK's leading technology commercialisation and investment companies, which is partly owned by the College, to test and launch successful ventures.   

"Imperial is a perfect fit for the IOP and its global members.  It offers the latest research and practice on business model and process innovation, alongside an impressive track record of spinning out successful companies," said Michael Steep, Chief of Operations, Microsoft Technical Strategy & Innovation. "The university combines world-class expertise in science, engineering and medicine with a top business school for innovation.  Imperial has a truly entrepreneurial culture which fits well with the IOP so we're really pleased to announce this partnership to the IOP members."

Imperial College Business School will design and carry out preparatory research for the IOP's March Conference at Microsoft's US headquarters and a June Conference in Europe.  IOP corporate members will share ideas on how to unlock new commercial opportunities in managing the innovation process. 

"We will bring together experts from a range of industries and share what is learnt through applied, market-facing research for the members," said Professor David Gann, head of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship research group at Imperial College Business School.   "We are very pleased to be a central part of this strong network.  It's an exceptional group of companies.  They lead by continual - sometimes radical - product or service improvement.  The IOP is a new model we hope will let corporations open their R&D departments to create new, exciting and successful ventures with other IOP partners."

The agreement is a significant acknowledgement of the international excellent education, research and commercialisation that Imperial offers. UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Lord Mandelson said:

"Imperial College is offering a service that no one else in the world can provide: specialist expertise, reliably connected across disciplines, linked directly to what the market requires.   This country's investment in knowledge, skills development and meaningful research means our universities set the bar for excellence that others must try to beat."

Imperial College will receive funding for its role in the IOP as well as research opportunities with and for the IOP members.


For further information contact:
Imperial College London Press Office
J-P Jones
Tel: 020 7594 6704 or

IOP Press Office
Tishia Beneventi
Tel: +00 1 858 342 3138 or

About Imperial College London

Consistently rated amongst the world's best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 14,000 students and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality.

Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.

Since its foundation in 1907, Imperial's contributions to society have included the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to the application of research for the benefit of all continues today, with current focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to improve health in the UK and globally, tackle climate change and develop clean and sustainable sources of energy.


About The Innovation Outreach Programme

Microsoft recognized that innovation leaders needed a way to connect and share their ideas and approaches, and to learn from each other across industries.   The Innovation Outreach Programme (IOP) was established for the purpose of bringing the world's leading chiefs of innovation together on a regular basis to share and discuss their ideas and approaches. The IOP promotes on-going dialogue between leading enterprise innovation organizations, through the Chiefs of Innovation of top global companies.  The IOP is established as an independent entity and is hosted by Microsoft. 

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