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.
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 cranfieldtechnologypark.co.uk/latest-news
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:
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.