The UK’s technology moment – why 2020 can be the year that changed our trajectory on tech

Economist Robert Solow famously posed the question that if technology is so ubiquitous, why doesn’t it show up in productivity statistics? The paradox is particularly acute in the UK with its enduring productivity gap. The surprising answer is that business technology adoption in the UK, especially among SMEs, is low.

But there are signs of a real change. Coronavirus and the disruption of lockdown have forced massive shifts in business behaviour. New research from Be the Business finds that Britain’s smaller firms underwent three years’ worth of innovation in just three months of the lockdown period. Attitudes are shifting, with two in three SMEs believing that technology can improve business performance and 60 per cent of medium businesses willing to invest in technology post-coronavirus. Be the Business believes the UK are in an emerging technology moment where, if action is taken now, SMEs can be helped and shifted to a higher growth trajectory.

Be The Business partnered with McKinsey & Company to conduct the largest ever in-depth study of the UK SME technology market, exploring both the demand and supply sides through polling, interviews and our new Be The Business Tech Adoption Lab methodology. We found significant barriers to both demand and supply that must be addressed if the UK is to seize its technology moment.

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Chosen by

Sir Chris Pissarides

Theme

Automation and COVID-19

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