What is Unlocking Innovation?

The UK is the home of the railways, delivering technologies that are transforming how we travel.

The UK is at the forefront of new thinking when it comes to our rail network, with some of the most innovative and dynamic businesses based on our shores, all of whom are working every day to support our railways.

Their new ideas are helping to improve the passenger experience, increase connectivity and capacity, reduce the UK’s carbon footprint and generate jobs, economic growth and investment. And as the UK faces new challenges – whether environmental, economic or technological – these organisations will ensure our rail network is ready to continue supporting the country, by building a railway fit for the future. 

The Railway Industry Association’s Unlocking Innovation programme has two clear aims:

  • To promote the many innovations and developments within the UK rail industry; and
  • To connect businesses together to open up new opportunities to innovate.

For more than a decade, Unlocking Innovation has showcased new ideas and thinking from across the industry, reaching thousands of people and making the case for the sector as a leading light for innovation.

Unlocking Innovation brings together the people with ideas and ambition to drive change within the rail industry, supporting the industry to transform the way we travel.

The programme helps to build new supply chains, supports clients in finding creative solutions and showcases the incredible work going on by businesses to deliver a bigger, better rail network. Unlocking Innovation has connected thousands of people, for more than a decade, in all parts of the UK.

How does it work?

  • We hold around five Unlocking Innovation events each year, looking at different issues within the rail industry. These events are held all around the UK, are free to attend and open to all. They give the industry’s innovators a place to network and connect, hear from industry experts and for newcomers to the industry to find out how they can navigate the world of rail. These events, alongside RIA’s flagship and award-winning Innovation Conference, are a great way to find your footing in the sector.
  • A regular feature of Unlocking Innovation events are the 'elevator pitches', where those with new ideas, or those looking for collaborators, give a short three minute presentation.
  • We help support an online community of innovators, with our Innovation Group, which regularly receives communications and intelligence on the latest developments in rail, including our ‘Innovation of the Month’.
  • We promote the sector as one at the cutting edge of technology, showcasing the new products and services on the network, many of which go unseen by passengers and the public.