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Happy birthday Leonardo Da Vinci


Hannah Cowley - Group Sustainable Procurement Lead

Happy Birthday Leonardo Da Vinci - image like vitruvian man in blue

Although the Italian polymath is best known as an artist, it was his work as a scientist, engineer and inventor that makes him a role model. 570 years ago, the original Renaissance man visualised how technology could change and disrupt the world. His scientific inventions would go on to have a definite impact on QinetiQ’s Purpose (“Protecting Lives and Defending Sovereign Capability and Securing the Vital Interests of our Customers”) through his conceptualised flying machines, a type of armoured fighting vehicle, concentrated solar power, an adding machine, and the double hull.

"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do." Leonardo Da Vinci


But why mention the great thinker? Today is World Creativity and Innovation Day (WCID), a UN observed day and part of a week of celebrations between 15th April (the birthday of Leonardo) and 21st April.

There may be no universal understanding of creativity. The concept is open to interpretation from artistic expression to problem-solving. Innovation, creativity and mass entrepreneurship provide new momentum for economic growth and job creation, and expands opportunities for everyone, including women and youth. WCID was designated to raise the awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in all aspects of economic, social and sustainable development, and the theme for this year is Collaboration.

This seems rather fitting in the current global context. According to Zurich Insider, 51.9% of organisations experienced supply chain disruption in 2019. Today, we are seeing even greater supply chain disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, geopolitics and climate change.

To remain successful and resilient in today’s competitive markets, it’s crucial for our supply chains to be at their strongest. Closer relationships between buyers and suppliers creates significant value and helps supply chains become more resilient. By collaborating with our supply chain partners, whether they’re located in the same building, across the country or around the world, we will be better equipped in dealing with these evolving challenges.

The best definition of collaboration is the process of two or more people or organisations coming together to complete a task or achieve a shared goal. However, the word 'collaborate' is used frequently, and often incorrectly. So how do we know we have moved beyond 'co-ordination' or 'co-operation' and not confuse ‘coercion’ or ‘compliance’ with ‘collaboration’?

Successful collaboration comprises teams of people with diverse backgrounds, strengths and skills working together to deliver with high productivity, efficiency and agility. The most important ingredients are trust, flexibility, resourcefulness, and a culture that is geared for growth.


Without collaboration, innovation would cease to exist.


Collaboration is the key to unlocking innovation. It has the power to spark innovation and inclusion because everyone brings a unique set of knowledge and skills to the table. Working together and embracing these differences gives birth to new ideas and solutions through the blending of unique viewpoints, creating joint ownership, and spreading the risks to a larger group of participants.

McKinsey’s survey of more than 100 large organisations across multiple sectors, shows companies that regularly collaborate with their suppliers demonstrate higher growth, lower operating costs, and greater profitability than industry peers. Embedding best practice such as supplier relationship management and encouraging technology and innovation exchange in our supply chains, organisations can continuously develop new market offerings, improve service level performance, mitigate risks and deliver social value for long term prosperity.

QinetiQ is certified to ISO 44001, the collaborative business relationship management standard and is both a member of the Institute of Collaborative Working (ICW) and holds a seat on their advisory council for the defence sector. One of our best collaborations, Vivace, is a great example of how we work innovatively with both our customer and supply chain, and is award winning in its recognition from the ICW.


“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” Helen Keller


As an integrated global defence and security company, operating at the leading edge of science and engineering, QinetiQ employs over 6,000 people including more than 3,000 scientists and engineers. Uniting our own technology and know-how and partnering with suppliers to provide distinctive specialist services and products that address our customers’ most pressing challenges, collaboration and innovation are core to our strategic purpose and values.

Da Vinci could be considered our mentor.

“Ostinato Rigore” translated means “persistent rigor”. Da Vinci’s motto refers to how he tirelessly pursued his inventions and art and allowed no obstacle or challenge to deter him. May be this is a motto we can all learn from.