Accelerating Innovation

Accelerating Innovation (Part 1): From the WHY to the HOW

Accelerating Innovation

The critical importance of innovation to national and company competitiveness has become widely accepted.  The only legitimate question now is the ‘how’.

Companies are coming under increasing pressure to innovate and grow. Unfortunately, much of the advice being proffered in this area is not massively helpful - see our previous post Innovation Quick Fix.

With the need for innovation now being widely accepted by most senior executives, there is less of a need for generic advice encouraging organisations to innovate. Few remain to be convinced.

With the desire being there, it is the ‘how’ of innovation that most companies now struggle with.

From the 'Why' to the 'How'

Innovation by its very nature is risky, costly (more so if you get it wrong) and difficult.

So, how do we make it better?

With the argument ‘WHY innovate’ having been won, the focus now needs to shift to the HOW; overcoming the many obstacles and barriers preventing companies from leveraging the full potential of innovation for supporting sustained business growth and competitiveness.

In our new blog series entitled ‘Accelerating Innovation’, we will examine the key pillars of innovation success, providing highly practical advice on the key steps involved in ‘getting there’. The advice proffered will ensure that your innovation strategy is fully aligned with and supportive of agreed business goals and objectives, delivered successfully, on-time and within budget.

We will provide high level strategic and very practical advice to accelerate innovation in your organisation covering key issues such as:

  • The potential of innovation for your business
  • The innovation landscape
  • Assessing your readiness to innovate
  • The innovation process and innovation strategy development
  • Key success factors
  • Overcoming internal barriers and obstacles to innovation
  • Leadership, innovation culture and management development
  • Measuring innovation performance
  • Case Examples

Evidence is emerging of a growing innovation divide between organisations who ‘get innovation’ and those who don’t; between those successfully applying innovation to support business growth and those still stuck on the starting blocks.

The divide is beginning to have a major impact on subsequent financial performance with ‘innovation leaders’ significantly outperforming others.

Hopefully, our new series will help you on your way to becoming an innovation leader.

4c Design

DBA Procurement Ready

Standards for Innovation and Design

Do we need standards for innovation management and design? ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, certainly thinks so.

Since 2012/13, Technical Committee ISO/TC 279 has been working towards the development of standards covering the ‘terminology, tools, methods and interactions between relevant parties to enable innovation’.

Progress, however, has been very slow with the new standard not expected until October, 2018. Apparently, it is not easy to reach agreement among 50 experts from 47 countries :-)

DBA Procurement Ready Status

In the meantime, 4c Design are proud to have achieved ‘Procurement Ready’ status from the Design Business Association (DBA), the trade association for the design industry. The DBA PQQ Badge confirms that we are ‘ready for procurement’ having already provided all of the information required in most standard Pre-Qualification Questionnaires.

DBA Procurement Ready

To achieve PPQ status we submitted, among other things, 14 very detailed policy documents covering a level of detail unusual within the design industry, making us one of only several hundred agencies UK wide who have met the standards required to achieve ‘Procurement Ready’ status.

Although time consuming to develop, the information we collated will save potential clients a lot of time, allowing us to get straight to discussions about the project work.

As an organisation, DBA champions the transformative power of design with members representing some of the best design businesses in the UK demonstrating a commitment to the highest standard of business behaviour and performance as described in DBA’s code of conduct.

For 4c Design, the DBA PQQ Badge shows that we are ready to meet the requirements of any procurement department regardless of how onerous these may be. It shows that we are ready to ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’ in terms of delivering customer value.

Back to ISO 50501

While October 2018 may still be a long way away, we will keep you posted on developments with ISO 50501, the proposed new standards supporting “business, public sector, and not for profit organizations in marketplace innovation, value chain innovation, process improvement innovation, organizational culture innovation, product and service innovation, as well as social innovation.”

Early indications suggest that for an organisation to be considered innovative, it will need to fulfil seven key principles of innovation management:

  • Realization of value
  • Future-focused leaders
  • Purposeful direction
  • Innovation culture
  • Exploitable insights
  • Mastering uncertainty
  • Adaptability

Source: ISO Technical Committee on Innovation Management Systems

From 4c’s perspective, we would clearly welcome anything that improves quality standards in innovation management.

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The Engineering Design Show 2017

The Engineering Design Show Preview 2017: Innovation, Inspiration, Interaction and Insight

The Engineering Design Show 2017Visitor registration is now open for the Engineering Design Show, the UK’s largest exhibition and conference dedicated to the design engineering community.

Highlights include:

  • 24 keynote presentations from senior design engineers representing leading brands across the aerospace, automotive, motorsport, electronics and other industries, providing powerful insights into the future of engineering design.
  • High quality practical workshops covering a range of topics from software design and rapid prototyping, to material selection, test and measurement.
  • The largest number of exhibitors since the show launched in 2012, with 220 exhibitors confirmed and record visitor numbers anticipated across the two days.
  • The Innovation Zone presenting some examples of great British innovation.
  • The opportunity to try and test the very latest and emerging design tools in the Future Zone.
  • CPD points earned by attending the IED approved conference and workshop sessions

For more details and registration please visit the Engineering Design Show web site.

4c Design

History of the Pen

Video: The Fascinating History of the Pen

History of the PenWe liked this at 4c Design. A short video tracing the fascinating history of the pen.

Required viewing for all industrial design students?

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With thanks to Core77.

Take care.

4c Design

Michelin’s Futuristic Airless Tire

Video: Michelin’s Futuristic Airless Tire

Michelin’s Futuristic Airless TireIs this the tyre (tire) of the future? Airless and 3D printed straight onto the car.

The porous interior architecture provides stability with on-demand tread being easily changed with each printing to accommodate different mobility needs; wireless connected and self-monitoring.

Science fiction or the tyre of the future?

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Read the full article here.

4c Design

The European Innovation Scorecard 2017

European Commission

Two main conclusions emerge from the 2017 European Innovation Scorecard published last week by the European Commission.

First, the EU's overall record on innovation is improving, albeit slowly, but huge differences remain between the best and worst performing member states and regions.

Second, in global terms, the EU could catch up with the US over the next two years. However, the performance leads of South Korea and Japan are likely to increase even further. China shows the fastest progress in international comparisons, with Russia, Brazil, India and South Africa all catching up with the EU.

The annual innovation scoreboard compares the performance of 28 EU countries bench-marked against each other and major international competitors. Twenty-seven indicators, distinguishing between ten innovation dimensions in four main categories, are used to rank order countries in terms of progress being made:

  • Framework conditions capturing the main drivers of innovation performance such as human resources, attractive research systems and innovation-friendly environments.
  • Investments including public and private investment in research and innovation, external finance/support and own-resource investments.
  • Innovation activities and efforts at company level, covering three dimensions: innovators, linkages and intellectual assets.
  • Impacts illustrating how innovation translates into benefits for the economy as a whole: employment impacts and sales effects.

Using these criteria, overall innovation performance was found to have improved in 15 countries, though large differences exist between member states.

Four main innovation performance groups were identified:

  • Innovation Leaders – Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom performing 20% or more above the EU average;
  • Strong Innovators – with the innovation performance of Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Slovenia being above or close to the EU average;
  • Moderate Innovators – with Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain showing an innovation performance below the EU average;
  • Modest Innovators – the innovation performance of Bulgaria and Romania is well below 50% of the EU average.

Switzerland continues to set the pace for innovation in Europe with the UK jumping into the leader group for the first time mainly because of the strength of its hi-tech sector.

Worryingly, the report concludes that the gap between the best and worst performing member states shows no sign of narrowing.

A more detailed summary of key findings can be found here - European Innovation Scoreboard.

4c Design


Video: Design for UK Manufacturing Growth

ManufacturingIn a previous blog post, Realising Potential, we showed a Design Council video highlighting the importance of innovation and design to UK economic growth.

A second video explores why innovation and design are fundamentally important for the stability and growth of our manufacturing base.

The international competitiveness of UK manufacturing depends on innovation and design. Good design, in particular, is critical to commercialising technology, accelerating exports and growing our advanced manufacturing base. Design is the linchpin holding our manufacturing industry together, supporting its future development and growth.

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As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

4c Design

Museum of Failures

Visit the Museum of Product Design Failure (Video)

Museum of FailuresCan we learn from product design failure as well as success?

The Museum of Failures in Helsingborg certainly thinks so.

In the video below, Dr. Samuel West, Director of the Museum, talks about the exhibition of product design fails. The point is not to pillory, but to learn.

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Read the full article here.

4c Design

Design Council

Should Design Be Front and Centre of Jobs, Skills and Services in the UK?

Design Council

Sarah Weir, Design Council Chief Executive, has called for design to be placed at the centre of rebuilding the post-election UK economy. An economy strong enough to tackle wide ranging social problems relating to health, social care and housing while raising living standards for all

In a hard hitting message, she argues that a new, game changing industrial policy is required:

“Our current and future economy, more than ever, depends on creative thinking, innovation and knowledge. This doesn't quite fit with industrial strategies of old. Design is at the heart of the solution. And the more we debate the industry, jobs and skills of the future, the more design leaps out. Yet the game-changing opportunity of design is not recognised in the manifestos. Good design puts people first. It uses creativity to solve problems, challenge current thinking and change lives - and it's already being used to drive economic growth and social change across the world.”

A four-point post-election action plan is required:

  • An education system that not only puts design back into the national curriculum, but inserts design skills into core subjects.
  • A clear plan for life-long work, retraining and redesigned workplaces of tomorrow. A vision and radical rethink on how we consider working environments and ageing in the UK.
  • Keeping talent in the country. The next generation of designers working across the economy must receive world-class training in Britain and an environment created encouraging them to stay and practice their craft here.
  • The government's core focus should be on designing a better Britain that works for everyone. Design should be positioned at the centre of plans for a healthier, more prosperous, better Britain for everyone.

You can read the full article at Designing the Future: Design Council Calls for Design to Be Front and Centre of Jobs, Skills and Services

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

4c Design