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Get Ready to Innovate

August 2017 -

Northern Design Centre

Creatuve Fuse North East

Are you a registered freelancer, sole trader, or SME?  Do you have a big idea that could help your business… but you don’t have enough time to work on it, or enough resources to fund it? 

We all know that small businesses are agile and adaptive. But often they are constrained by scale and resources. Creative Fuse North East's new innovation package – ‘Get Ready to Innovate’ – will help you tackle these issues.  

Delivered by the Creative Fuse team at Northumbria University, ‘Get Ready to Innovate’ will help you develop your potential for innovation and increase your understanding of how to overcome barriers and challenges. Take part and we will help you start to:

  • develop new ideas, concepts, products, services, strategies (and more!) in a concentrated amount of time;
  • consider new ways of working which are supported by our innovation tools and approaches;
  • evoke change within your organisation.

Sign up now!

If you'd like to take part in 'Get Ready to Innovate', contact Northumbria's Creative Fuse Team.  We will send you a very short survey to help us determine whether your organisation is eligible to take part in Get Ready to Innovate. 

Find out more

The headings below provide further details about 'Get Ready to Innovate'. If you have any questions about the innovation support package, contact us.  

You can also find out about other business support opportunities available from Creative Fuse North East through our project website.   

Through 12 hours of action-focused intervention over 4 sessions, we will help you develop your potential for innovation and increase your understanding of how to overcome barriers and challenges.  

During face-to-face sessions, a team of expert practitioners will use innovation tools and techniques to help you challenge your current way of thinking, investigate blind-spots, and generate new opportunities to create value.

The sessions include two ‘design sprints’ that work as catalysts for change and inspiration for innovation. In these fast-paced events you will work alongside our talented innovation team to explore your organisation’s opportunities and challenges.  You and your colleagues will take part in collaborative activities to develop rich insights and find early stage solutions to the problems you face.

‘Get Ready to Innovate’ is delivered by Northumbria University’s talented innovation team, based at the Northern Design Centre in Gateshead. While we draw in expertise from across Creative Fuse, the members of the core team at Northumbria are:

  • Mark Bailey: Mark is the academic lead for the Creative FUSE at Northumbria. With a focus on design-led responsible innovation practice, Mark leads design-led innovation in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences. During the last two years alone, Mark has worked with around 35 different companies across third, public and private sectors, including BBC, Unilever, Age Concern, Fendor, NCVS, Berghaus, Sonoco Alcore, Elddis and the Parking Appeals Tribunal.
  • Nicholas Spencer: Nicholas’s research explores how designers' experience of stress, uncertainty and discomfort influences design decision-making. As well as leading Northumbria’s Multidisciplinary Innovation Masters programme, he also develops international educational partnerships for innovation in commercial and third sector organisations.
  • Nate Sterling: Nate is an ‘Innovator in Residence’ at Innovate (Northumbria’s Design-Led Innovation Centre).  He is also a Research Assistant for the Creative Fuse North East, and a Freelance Designer.

‘Get Ready to Innovate’ is a fully funded opportunity for SMEs and registered sole traders. You can take part if you are an SME, registered sole trader, or registered freelancer from the public, private, or voluntary sector within the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area: Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland, Sunderland, and most of County Durham.  


In line with the project’s funders, we define an SME as an enterprise employing fewer than 250 employees and with: either an annual balance sheet total under 43 million euros; or an annual turnover under 50 million euros, and which is not more than one quarter owned by firms that do not comply with the above requirements.  SMEs are registered companies with a VAT number. If you’re not sure whether your company is an SME, please get in touch with us!

Sole traders and freelancers

Sole traders and freelancers should be registered with HMRC and have a Unique Taxpayer Reference Number. If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible to take part, please get in touch with us!

If you’re not sure whether this includes you, complete the form below and we will get in touch with you.

‘Get Ready to Innovate’ is a fully funded opportunity for SMEs and sole traders.  The package is offered as part of a larger project, ‘Creative FUSE North East’, which is funded jointly by the North East’s universities and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Arts Council England (ACE), and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 

Event Details

Northern Design Centre
Abbott's Hill

August 2017 -

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