Over 500 innovative British SMEs, consultancies and academics attended the launch of the Design Innovation Network this week.
The Network, created and managed by Innovate UK KTN, aims to optimise the commercialisation of R&D by incorporating good design principles earlier in the innovation process.
By coaching innovators to ask the right questions early on, Innovate UK KTN hopes that it will see more of the projects it is involved with successfully raise funding and commercialise.
Dr Abi Hird, Lead for the Design Innovation Network at Innovate UK KTN, said: “We are thrilled to have had such a positive response to the launch of the Design Innovation Network.
“Innovate UK KTN is involved in thousands of projects a year across all sectors and technology areas, and we know innovation is risky. Many projects succeed, but too many innovations fall short of the impact they could have had and fail to get off the ground.
“Worse, sometimes they succeed in the first instance only to fail after significant investment of effort, time and money, or have unintended consequences.
“More often than not, this happens because they’ve overlooked some important insights early on in the development process. The Design Innovation Network aims to change this by coaching innovators to think like a designer.”
Delegates at the launch event heard from expert speakers talking on design for positive change including Tim Kerby, CEO of Edinburgh Systems; Merle Hall, CEO of Kinneir Dufort; Cat Drew, design director of the Design Council; Matthew Mullen, growth and community Leader at Thales Design Office; Alison Prendiville, Professor of Service Design at the University of the Arts London; and Adrian Westaway, founder of Special Projects.
There was also a well-received panel session on design innovation featuring Ben Watson, Innovation Leader at 3M and vice chair at the Institution of Engineer Designers and visiting professor of Design for Innovation at Brunel University London; Samantha Jackman, CEO of Boost Innovations; Ben Griffin innovation lead for Design at Innovate UK; Mark Lynch, knowledge transfer advisor at Innovate UK KTN; and Ben Wilkins, CEO of Good Boost.
Dr Abi Hird continued: “When we talk about design, we don’t just mean the aesthetic or user-centric. Good design incorporates entire systems, it’s aware of how different cogs in the process are connected and impact one another.
“Good design is responsible and can create powerful positive impact to the economy, society and wider world when implemented properly.
“We want to tackle some of the biggest problems facing society by helping UK innovators ask the right questions up front, so they know they are doing the right thing, and not just doing the thing right!”
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