Open Innovation for Design

The University of the Creative Arts in partnership with Brunel University aims to create a “Creative Open Innovation Network for Excellence in Design”, consisting of a workflow for fashion and product designers, linking academia and industry in their assessment of ideas for and development of new products.

Part of the Access to Resources and Open Innovation (Phase 2) portfolio, the COINED project is an Open Innovation project funded by the JISC Business and Community Engagement programme. Funding has been provided to help institutions develop and demonstrate effective models for opening up selected knowledge assets for co-development, with externals, in open online marketplaces.

Susiane Sampaio (from the UCA Research & Enterprise Department) and I met for a chat about the progress of the project. Since starting COINED has been assessing which online tools it will adopt for delivering its model, as well as developing the workflow process and hiring staff to facilitate the use of it.

The partnership integrates the related, yet mostly separate, areas of Creative Design (UCA) and Engineering Design (Brunel). Innovation will arise from ideas which crossover the two areas and can be co-developed.

The innovation workflow for COINED will take participants through the following steps

    • challenge
    • sign-up
    • inspire
    • concept
    • evaluate
    • select
    • refine (and build)

The “challenge” consists of the submission of ideas for new products to the workflow; sign-up is commitment from interested academics, mentors and industry partners to the process of working through the ideas from concept to product. The workflow will involve a number of online activities (such as webinars to explain the process and get people together, and videos pitched online for review) for participants in the selection process, as well as offline, face-to-face events to discuss and exhibit design concepts.The workflow is designed to support cooperation between institutions and their industry partners in order to meet the challenge of co-development of new products. The benefits, advantages and disadvantages of using this approach will be captured and documented by the project team, and it is likely that the scope for transferability of the approach is high.

The process is being supported by the recruitment of specialist mentors, who will initially be involved in revising the workflow and “touchpoints” (places in which people enter the workflow), but who will then bring their professional experience to bear on the refinement of the concepts and building of the new products.

The project has a lot to do, but is currently on schedule to be piloting the workflow from September 2012.

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