Turning Ideas into a Reality; 'We Are Always Keen to Hear from SMEs, Entrepreneurs or Inventors with Ideas'

Coventry Evening Telegraph (England), January 27, 2014 | Go to article overview

Turning Ideas into a Reality; 'We Are Always Keen to Hear from SMEs, Entrepreneurs or Inventors with Ideas'


Byline: Jenny Waddington Business editor jenny.waddington@coventrytelegraph.net

IT is true that often the best ideas are drawn up on the back of an envelope or entrepreneurs will have a Eureka moment while they are in the pub, in the bath or simply day dreaming.

But how do you then turn these inventions into a reallife product which could make life easier for hundreds or thousands of people? That's where the team at Coventry University Health Design & Technology Institute can step-in.

HDTI has helped a wide range of SMEs, entrepreneurs and inventors commercialise a range of products focused on the assisted living and community healthcare sector.

Products ranging from a shock absorbing walking stick ferrule to a social care employment app and a single-handed games controller have been helped with support from HDTI.

The rapid growth in the UK's ageing population means there is increasing demand for new products to give older people a helping hand to retain their independence and stay in their own homes.

Government figures show there are currently 10 million people in the UK aged over 65-years-old. The latest projections are for this figure to grow by 5.5 million in 20 years' time and the number is expected to have nearly doubled to around 19 million by 2050.

The good news for SMEs, entrepreneurs and inventors active in this market is that PS341,500 of second phase funding has been secured from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for HDTI to continue its support across the West Midlands, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire over the next 18 months.

The support itself consists of up to five days' worth of product development consultancy provided free of charge for design and usability testing; vital in ensuring a great idea has the best possible chance of moving from an initial concept to a commercially available product.

The design offering is provided by HDTI's team of in-house product designers, supported by academic input from the university's internationally recognised School of Art and Design. The Institute's design studio includes a workshop and prototyping suite including 3D printers, where physical forms of new design ideas can be created quickly and inexpensively.

Usability studies are delivered by a dedicated research team with links to the university's entire academic base, drawing on expertise from all schools and faculties.

Usability research includes a range of methodologies including field trials, focus groups, interviews and questionnaires.

Led by an academic with knowledge and experience relevant to the product being tested, a usability study provides the client with a rigorous and independent evaluation of their innovation.

The report produced at the end of the research has several benefits: it provides feedback into the design process, it can be used to support product marketing claims and serve as an extremely valuable tool in helping to attract investors, licensees and collaborative business partners. …

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