Magazine article Management Today

Business Is Great: My Business - Limbs & Things

Magazine article Management Today

Business Is Great: My Business - Limbs & Things

Article excerpt

Margot Cooper moved to Bristol from London at end of the 1980s, having put her artist career in medical education on hold following the birth of her third child. But she then decided to do what she describes as 'a last dash'.

Nearly 25 years later, Limbs & Things is a 100-employee, pounds 12m-turnover business and is a world-leader in medical education, designing and making human body parts out of silicone and foam latex.

Cooper's idea was to create models that could replace the patient at the first stage of training so medical staff could learn how to conduct procedures away from the operating theatre. The models needed to be as accurate as possible in order to provide the right experience. There was little market research. 'We just had to get some models out there and do the development ourselves.'

In the 1990s, every part was made from foam latex. Now the principal material is silicone. 'It is strong, soft and has a good memory,' explains Cooper.

Most parts are made in Bristol or within Britain. Cooper says the close relationship between R&D and production is vital. 'The key factor in successfully innovating is to understand the market and be able to predict the needs of, in our case, training in medicine. …

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