Why Innovation in Rail is Broken and What You Can Do About It – Introducing The Railway Innovation Champions Program

railway innovation champions

Why Innovation in Rail is Broken and What You Can Do About It – Introducing The Railway Innovation Champions Program

Innovation in the railways is broken.

Why? Because the industry is set up in a way that disincentivises innovation.

Short-term franchise awards stop operators and financiers from investing in the technology that can ultimately reduce their costs and increase passenger satisfaction.

Short-term franchise awards encourage them to focus on the short-term ROI of operations and execution – rather than on the making rail better.

Investments in innovation and technology make a lot of sense when you look at a medium or long term period, and have the necessary resources to implement and project manage the investments.

But tragically, the industry is making it very hard for the innovators – the very ones who are trying to move things forward.


Why would you take risks to improve the status quo if you don’t have the urgency to do so?

Maybe the lack of urgency is the reason we have government bodies running innovation programmes, rather than start-ups. But the top down approach to innovation has never worked and it will not work in our industry.

Lack of urgency is reflected in the ever-increasing number of conferences, exhibitions and magazines that talk about technology and innovation in rail. We all like a good day out, but the talking can’t go on forever. What we need is action. We need to identify short- and medium-term priorities, stop the blue sky thinking, and get the job done.

The industry is not lacking talent, is not lacking funding, is not lacking the companies that can implement the technology: the industry is lacking action.

At Railway Innovation we’ve decided to take the lead on this inevitable change.

The Railway Innovation Champions program is based on more than 8 years of research trial and error, and a proven, collaborative supply chain innovation approach that’s built from the bottom up rather than the top down.

The Railway Innovation Champions Program has three key deliverables in mind.

    • Empower leaders Identify and empower Champions in all major organisations that will take leadership roles into the network, providing useful insights and driving innovation forward within their companies.


    • Get the job done Identify key short- and medium-term problems and solutions that are actionable and can be solved by start-ups and the supply chain. Working in collaboration with Champions we identify the key business priorities and needs of organisations, facilitating the connections necessary to solve the problems.


    • Maximise Success Reduce risk for technology investments, providing insightful data, resources and support throughout the process. Champions are supported by other Champions. We are in this together. We meet up through global webinars and informal meetings to share our issues and identify actionable solutions.


Interested? The first thing to do is sign up. Let us know you’re interested, and we’ll immediately send you our PDF, ‘How do we accelerate innovation in the rail industry?’, which tells you more about what we can achieve together. In the weeks to come we will send you information about meet-ups, useful resources, and insights from across the industry.

The Railway Innovation Champions Programme enables the acceleration of technology investments in rail, working collaboratively with innovators and start-ups to introduce new innovations and technologies in the railway industry.

Unlike other programs, supply chain network organisations, and companies in the industry, the Champions program is not-for-profit – it’s run by champions, for champions.

Find out more about the program email us at info@railwayinnovation.com

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