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3 minute read

10 Questions With – Neil Goodenough, Group Director for Research and Development, mark’ennovy

1 – If you were given 1 million pounds – how would you invest that in your business?

R&D – Without a steady stream of innovations and new products the industry will slowly die. The money should be used to identify unmet needs and game-changers. Then to help deliver that idea in the fastest possible time and with the most efficient process possible.

2 – If you were prime minister, what would be the first thing you would change or improve for manufacturers?

Create a manufacturers/entrepreneurs ‘Start-Up’ policy. Small & young manufacturing businesses need as much help as they can get in the first few years i.e. the time when they are most likely to fail. Allowing start-ups to operate tax free and with funding for the first 3-5 years (or until they meet an operating income threshold), will mean that a lot more will survive and flourish.

3 – What one thing that you have implemented in your business would you recommend other manufacturers embrace and implement?

A no blame culture. People need to be allowed to develop and learn from their mistakes. It’s like a child learning to ride a bicycle, you should not punish and make threats to them every time they fall off, instead offer encouragement, technique and a steadying hand. You’ll be amazed at the results.

4 – What is your proudest achievement related to manufacturing in your career?

Establishing an R&D site in the UK and growing a team of Engineers, Chemists and Scientists that have delivered billions of dollars in revenue.

5 – If you could choose, what would you like your legacy to be once you retire?

Helping to eradicate blindness caused by high levels of myopia (short-sightedness) through pioneering optics in contact lenses and spectacles.  By 2030 six billion people globally will have levels of myopia high enough to increase the risk of developing cataracts, glaucoma and retinal detachment, which can then lead on to blindness. Technology now exists to slow the progression of myopia by up to 50%, it is just not widespread in its adoption and it will get better.

6 – What is your view on post Brexit Britain – positive, negative or indifferent and why?

Positive. The UK has a history of innovation, trade and commerce that will ensure it negotiates its way to success. Europe is important, but it isn’t everything.

7 – What is a typical day for you? Time you wake up, get to the factory/office, go home etc.

Wake up at 05:30hrs, check emails, exercise, then walk the dogs. Traffic permitting arrive at work by 08:00hrs. Get stuck into projects, through meetings, planning and product prototyping/iteration throughout the day… no specific order i.e. as they come or whichever is the most needy. Typically finish at 18:30hrs and arrive home by 19:00hrs.

8 – How do you see smart technology (IoT & Industry 4.0) affecting the long-term growth of UK manufacturing?

This will be very positive on growth, but it is difficult to accurately predict where it will be successful the most. It’s like trying to foresee in the 90’s how the Internet would affect our lives today. The obvious areas are reduced costs and efficiencies through automatic reordering and stock management, self diagnosis, breakdown prevention, increased adaptability, increased customization, shorter lead times etc. But it will probably effect every area of manufacturing incrementally as machine and device intelligence improves.

9 – Any wise words, advice or tips for someone looking to pursue a career in manufacturing?

Follow your passions and interests, not what you think will make you the most money or be the most secure. If you love doing something it will shine through and you will be successful. Work needs to be fun and not a chore. That advice is true of anything really, not just manufacturing.

10 – What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

The answer to your problems is no more than 3 phone calls away.

Neil Goodenough, Group Director for Research and Development, mark’ennovy


10 Questions With… is a regular feature where we put a variety of quick fire questions to manufacturing leaders and role models to get to know the people behind manufacturing success in the UK.

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