Innovation in Business Breakfast Seminar

CIC Near Capacity as Firms Flock to Tech Park
27th October 2014
University Takes Space at Tech Park
12th March 2015
Show all

Innovation in Business Breakfast Seminar

Companies from across Milton Keynes and Bedford were encouraged to take a fresh look at their business at an event at the Cranfield Innovation Centre’s offices. Led by Cranfield University’s Centre for Design (C4D), over fifty firms met at the last of Cranfield University Technology Park’s breakfast seminars for 2014 to discuss Innovation in Business.

Round Up

Here is our summary from the event including key points raised by both the speakers and the audience throughout the discussion. A pdf is also available here.

What is Innovation?

Members of the audience were invited to pitch their ideas as to what innovation meant with a consensus that it was the need and desire to challenge existing ways of doing things.

For businesses this means focusing on the core principles of a product (whether a physical item or a service) to improve it or to exploit a gap in the market

The Innovation Journey

Matt Collins, Visiting Lecturer and PhD Researcher at Cranfield University, introduced his background in developing products as well as including his current research into the emotional journey associated with innovation and how this could lead to increased efficiency. Matt’s presentation is available online at

Case Study: Re-inventing the Toilet

Jake Larsson has been working on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s challenge to re-invent the toilet to transform sanitation in developing countries.

Cranfield University’s proposals for a new Nano Membrane toilet which is free-standing and doesn’t require water to operate stems from the team’s focus on identifying the business model which provides the product with a viable future within its community, and then designing the physical product around that need.

For an explanation of how the new toilet works visit You Tube: Cranfield Nano Membrane Toilet

Top Tips for Innovative Businesses

Finally, to wrap up the event businesses were invited to share their views and experiences of innovation in their own fields:

  • Remember that innovation can be in marketing or the business model as much as a physical product or service
  • Step back to basics when reviewing your products – try and forget everything that you already know about it and start afresh
  • Be aware that the market can over take you over time, so always consider the next step
  • Innovative products aren’t always about need, but persuading the market on an emotional level that it wants a new way of doing something
  • Take the initiative to take forward your new ideas, whether speaking to a potential partner or seeking funding. Innovation is ‘a smart idea brought to action.’

About the events
Cranfield University Technology Park’s free business seminars are designed to suit the needs of growing businesses in the Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire, with topics ranging from finance and business development to apprenticeship programmes.

The events which include a networking breakfast are hosted in the Cranfield Innovation Centre offices’ conferencing suite and are open to all.

The events are delivered in partnership with Cranfield University, South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and Central Bedfordshire Council.

CentralBeds                    Print                    CranfieldUniversityWeb