Britain's Trajectory as a Testing Nation

Written by Fatima Freifer
Written by Fatima Freifer


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Testing how new ideas and technologies operate in practice is an important element of ensuring that they are both fit for purpose and secure before they are made available to a large number of people. Scientists, corporations and – increasingly – governments want to put new goods and services to the test before they reach our homes and communities or are used in our public services.


A new manifesto released by two think tanks, The Entrepreneurs Network and the Institute for Global Change, calls for the UK to “supercharge the innovation process” in science and technology by adopting their pledges, which include pushing regulators to remove barriers to new emerging technologies on a proactive basis. The authors believe that becoming a “testbed nation” may help Britain become a nation of technological early adopters and provide firms with a critical first-mover advantage. [1]


In Europe, the broad use of digital payments in Sweden began in 2006, when public transportation providers began taking cashless payments. This, in turn, generated an environment for local entrepreneurs to build initiatives, including some of today’s most prominent fintech firms, such as Klarna and Zettle. In the instance of Singapore, the pledge’s writers refer to the city-acceptance state’s of lab-grown meat for commercial as well as scientific purposes.


This experimental method of innovation testing provides a chance to make innovation safer while also maximising real-world beneficial effects. It provides a means of discovering how new ideas and technology may be used to address society’s most pressing issues, such as climate change, healthy ageing and inequality. It should also provide a framework for determining how governments, corporations and individuals may all profit from innovation, a mode of inspiration for the UK to analyse existing technological regulations.


The United Kingdom’s Department for International Trade issued a paper this week attempting to anticipate global trade patterns through 2050, predicting that demand for digital services will more than quadruple in the next decade.


“I want the UK to break down these barriers and open up new, exciting opportunities for businesses and consumers so we can see improved productivity, jobs and growth.”


“All of us depend on digital trade, yet British businesses face digital barriers in countries who take a protectionist approach,” according to Trevelyan in a virtual speech to London Tech Week, according to advanced extracts released by her office. [2]


Trade agreements generally focus on reducing commerce barriers for products, but since leaving the EU, the United Kingdom has sought to add agreements on digital trade and shared standards in professional services to encourage service sector growth. Among the goals are enhanced consumer and intellectual property safeguards, as well as encouraging the development of digital trade platforms such as e-contracting. According to the department, the digital sector contributed £150.6 billion to the UK economy in 2019 and employed 4.6% of the national workforce. By pushing for free and trusted cross-border data flows, the department hopes to make it simpler and less expensive for firms that utilise data to trade abroad.


Technology Regulation in Education


Technology is becoming an important component of nearly every professional path, from initial applications and training through workplace systems and communication. While many individuals take the benefits of utilising technology in the workplace for granted, for some, technology creates hurdles rather than making employment simpler. According to the 2018 Labour Force Survey, handicapped individuals are more than twice as likely as non-disabled people to be jobless. If accessible technology does not become an important part of the workplace, this situation is at risk of becoming worse over time as all professions become more digital. However, advances in accessible technology imply that this is no longer necessary.


Technology is breaking down the obstacles that students with impairments encounter. This is significant because disabled students attend university at a lower rate than their non-disabled classmates. Online journal articles or reading lists now allow those with visual impairments to zoom in when viewing printed text or convert it to easier-to-read forms such as braille. Universities are also increasingly recording lectures so that students may watch them at their leisure, which assists students with dyslexia or attention deficit disorder (ADHD). Often, all of this may be done at home on laptop computers, allowing handicapped students more independence. [3]


Removing Accessibility


However, a variety of new methods for removing accessibility hurdles have developed. Hands-free adaptations, one-handed keyboards, screen readers and voice search make it simpler for people with disabilities to do their jobs and overcome communication hurdles.


On the other hand, it feels as though there is still work to be done in order to promote awareness of the benefits of accessible technology. This urge is supplemented by other technical advancements. There are new smartphone applications available to help learners through difficult times or circumstances. Brain in Hand, for example, is tailored to persons with autism, mental health issues, brain injuries or unique learning problems. It proposes personalised coping methods to students in need of assistance, provides task reminders and allows them to track anxiety levels and quickly seek support when required.


Technology regulations in the industrial sector


Initially, the Industrial Digitalisation Review – identified key stakeholder concerns about digital skills shortages, fragmented support for innovation and a lack of clear leadership to articulate the benefits Industrial Digital Technologies (IDT) could deliver to business, the economy and the wider society.

According to Accenture, widespread adoption of industrial digitalization over the next ten years may offer the economy a multibillion-pound boost, with the manufacturing sector growing at a rate of 3% per year, creating 175,000 jobs and reducing CO2 emissions by 4.5%. The review permitted the collection of comprehensive feedback and ideas from over 200 stakeholders, including contributions from the country’s most prominent corporations and academic organisations. [4]


Adopting and executing these suggestions, according to the report’s authors, would establish Britain as a world leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, boost productivity and raise production.



The future prospects of the UK’s industrial and manufacturing base can only be reinforced if they are implemented at a time when the race to realise the promise of digitalization and the Industrial Revolution is heating up throughout the world.


It is critical to establish a focal point, a centre for IDT coordination. It must be one that provides leadership through a strategic vision, disseminates information, focuses on management skill development and manages commercialization assistance. It is the natural next step in overcoming the leadership barrier.


[1] Can the UK become a ‘testbed nation’ by removing barriers to emerging technology? Cristina Lago, Jul 2016

[2] UK seeks to break down digital trade barriers, says minister, Sep 2021,

[3] How accessible technology is overcoming barriers in the workplace, Ellen Daniel, Jun 2019,

[4] Industrial Digital Technologies: Removing barriers to adoption, The Manufacturer, June 2018,

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