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Innovation method creates commercial value for business

Businesses have to innovate to stay competitive, but innovation rarely occurs spontaneously:  more often than not it requires a helping hand to tease out the potential. Dr Stuart English is a specialist in design-led innovation at Northumbria University.  From his research he has developed a process called Multiple Perspective Problem Framing (MPPF), which explores a problem or business situation from several different perspectives at the same time.

One of the companies that have benefited from Dr English’s design-led innovation approach is Eve Products Ltd, based in Skipton, North Yorkshire. Eve Products manufacture roller banners for the exhibition industry that are marketed and sold across the world. Eve Product’s successful application of the MPPF process has enabled the company to double its workforce over five years and to increase turnover by nearly 200 per cent in the same period.

Applying the MPPF design-led problem-solving process to its business Eve Products was able to identify new commercial opportunities and how it could adapt and improve its own product line to exploit these opportunities.

The result of this process is  five new  product ranges, under the brand names of, ‘Twist’, ‘Curve’, ‘Lumos’, ‘Connect’ and ‘Link’.  These products solve a number of practical problems common to the exhibition industry including the tensioning of banners to display a flat graphic; the linking and levelling of multiple banners; and the controlled retraction of roller banners.  These innovations solve problems that other companies do not address therefore providing Eve Products with a unique proposition in the market place.

Stuart Sapsford, Managing Director of Eve Products Ltd, confirms the impact of MPPF on the business:  ‘Through the application of Dr English’s multiple perspective problem framing methods we have generated new innovations and new intellectual property that are now used in 80 per cent of our products. These innovations give us a significant advantage over our competitors and as a result our annual turnover has increased by more than £1million.’

To date MPPF has been used by more than 50 companies operating across a wide range of sectors from original equipment manufacturers in consumer electronics to technology companies operating in fields including satellite GPS, renewable energy, printable electronics and advanced chemicals.  They have used it to help them to develop new commercially viable products or manufacturing processes to establish a competitive advantage in their markets.

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Eve Products


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