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How Kahootz is helping Defence innovate faster to meet emerging threats

Following the recent publication of the SME strategy, Kahootz discusses why SME engagement is important and how the Secure Collaboration Platform is supporting the drive to reach more non-traditional defence suppliers.




At the end of January 2022, the Ministry of Defence published its Defence Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Action Plan, a key part of the Defence Industrial Strategy. The SME action plan outlines the key areas that defence as a whole need to work on to ensure better access to small and medium-sized defence businesses, supporting their innovation and accelerating the technology adoption in defence.

Within the report, there is a range of initiatives being championed as a method of making the defence market more accessible to external small businesses, one of the key routes to identifying opportunities for co-creation and co-investment is the piloting of Regional Defence & Security Clusters (RDSCs) concept. Kahootz has championed the use of RDSCs as an effective method to support engagement with a broader range of smaller businesses. The RDSC model offers an environment for MOD, industry, and academia to come together to share ideas, promote collaboration and support the commercialisation of good ideas.

One of the key challenges for these RDSCs is how to create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem in a secure online digital environment that will allow businesses to contribute in delivering valuable capability to the Ministry of Defence. Kahootz were delighted to have been asked to support the first of these RDSCs at its creation, the South West Regional Defence and Security Cluster by providing the digital platform that would underpin the delivery of the close collaboration.

First launched in 2020, the SW RDSC receives support from larger defence prime contractors such as Leonardo, Babcock, Thales and Atlas Elektronik UK as well as academic partners from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth. The cluster has already grown rapidly delivering value to SMEs across the region and supporting their engagement with key defence challenges. Bringing together these large and small companies along with educational institutions brought a whole set of collaboration challenges, with defence data often protectively marked the IT system used to share this information with the relevant stakeholders must be accredited by the Ministry of Defence Assessors. Alongside this high assurance level, any tool being deployed must still provide an accessible interface and high levels of functionality that facilitates high levels of collaboration; that’s where Kahootz comes in!

The SW RDSC is delivered in collaboration with Heart of South West Local Enterprise Partnership and Plymouth City Council. Victoria Glennon, an Economic Development Officer for Plymouth City Council explained the support Kahootz had provided in the early stages of the creation of the RDSC was invaluable:

‘We were delighted when we found that Kahootz offered an out-of-the-box product that had all the functionality we required, and a team that understood the MOD accreditation requirements. In next to no time, we had a full capability stood up, operating and accredited allowing us to start onboarding our partners and collaborators quickly and efficiently and start delivering value sooner. We have now been using the tool for nearly two years and we are still discovering new ways to use the tool to better support effective collaboration across the organisational boundaries.’

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