Innovation in Design Management - new funds available

4 September 2018, John Denton

The long hot summer may be giving us a last burst of sunshine but, I suspect, most of us are now back at our desks and getting down to work. Well get your skates on as there is a pot of money available that may help you with developing new business models and generating ideas for services and products.

Innovate UK, in collaboration with KTN, has released £1 million in funds to support UK companies as part of its Design Foundations programme. You can apply for a share of this up to £40,000 per project with each project expected to last no more than 3 months (and be complete by March 2019).

So what is Design Management? This is a way to create new ideas and to test business models by aligning them with user needs. It is one of the key approaches that Golant Media Ventures (GMV) uses with our partners to help them create change within their organisations.

It can be a physical or digital product or service you are thinking of developing or an approach to test a business model. In its essence, it asks you to put yourself into the shoes of your target audience or customers. Then, using various design approaches, prototype and iterate your ideas using user insights and market knowledge. In effect it helps de-risk a concept you want to take forward by ensuring that there is a need for it in the relevant market and in its iterative approach, allows you to discover possible other applications for your ideas that may appear out of working with your end customers.

GMV ran an Innovate project in 2017/18 and has just successfully won a second award to deliver another project in partnership with a small cultural organisation. Our track record in developing, writing and winning bids is strong, and we are looking to partner with other interested organisations for this round of funding.

The scope of any project must be to apply a proven, human-centred research and design process so a further benefit of working with us, is that we can help train your teams up on Design Management so it becomes core to how you operate.

Your project or business model must be looking to:

  • Understand human motivations and behaviour
  • Identify high-value innovation opportunities
  • Create ideas for new or improved products and services
  • Test and improve ideas (using quick, low-cost methods)
  • Communicate ideas ready for further investment and R&D activity
  • Document findings to support investment pitches or funding applications

You don’t need to deliver a working product or service but see this as an initial stage to test ideas and help set yourself up for future development rounds. For example, you may have an idea that you think will be great so this stage is to get that idea into shape, talk about it with your ‘customers/audiences’ and demo how it works to see what the take up may be. You also review the market and competitors to make sure your idea is resilient enough to work out there in the real world.

It obviously needs some commitment from you and your organisation but the benefits are great:

  • Funding towards a new product or service
  • Design Management experience that can be situated within your organisation
  • Some space to help you focus on innovation; and
  • Working with the exciting team at GMV!!

We only have two weeks to get these bids in! Yes the summer was lovely and sunny but now its back to the grindstone.
Your first step is to call us on 0844 884 9230 to talk through your idea to confirm it may be eligible or if you want to go it alone, then check out the Innovate Design Foundations website which has all of the relevant information to support a bid.

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