All entries for January 2012

January 31, 2012

What is Experience Led Innovation?

Writing about What is Experience Led Innovation? from Experience Led Innovation at WMG

My colleague Carolyn Parkinson has written a good post to break down and explain what we mean by Experience Led Innovation. This is a big area of expertise for WMG, and will feature in our new funded project for SMEs running out of the International Institute for Product and Service Innovation. See below Carolyn's post.

"What is Experience Led Innovation?

Is this something new? Or a new way of saying something old? Why do we need to know about it?

Let’s start by talking about what we mean by this. Experience Led Innovation (ELI) is an approach to innovating which seeks to put the user’s experience at the centre of the process for all types of product and service innovation. Experience Led Innovation pulls together a number of approaches to innovating, including human factors engineering, participatory design, and experiential engineering.

Previous terminology which has been used includes User-Focussed Design, but personally I find this term somewhat limiting. Very often there is not one individual who represents the target of the innovation - but picturing this individual is a technique often encouraged in design and marketing contexts. A more rich and informative source of input for the innovation process is to better understand the experience of the users.

Why is this distinction important? People behave in unpredictable ways, and often do not interact with a product, service or environment in a logical or expected way. They have emotional responses to using products and environments. Look, sound, and feel all influence the way users experience and interact with an innovation. Very often their interaction with a product or service takes place at a subconscious level, so asking a user to articulate or predict their needs is less valuable than observing real experiences, emotions, and behaviours as a product is developed.

I am fortunate to work with an excellent team of researchers and knowledge transfer specialists in this area. From our perspective, the key features of Experience Led Innovation include:

  • Taking a cross-discipline approach to understanding user aspect of innovation – at WMG our team includes psychologists, engineers, computer scientists, marketers, ergonomists, and designers.
  • Accepting that technology innovation cannot occur in isolation from understanding real world user behaviour.
  • Participation and engagement with users early and often in the innovation cycle, closing the gap between post market data and early stage design requirements.

There are an enormous number of applications for this approach… but more of that later. In the mean-time find out more about Experience Led Innovation at the following links:

Experience Led Innovation at WMG, University of Warwick: www.warwick.ac.uk/go/iipsi"


January 09, 2012

Funding and Support Opportunities in the West Midlands

The new look MAS launched last week with funding available for small and medium manufacturing businesses. The delivery team consists of Grant Thornton, Pera, WM Manufacturing Consortium Ltd and SWMAS Ltd. Some of the tools and support will be delivered through expertise provided from WMG. MAS is already a well-established business support programme in the region and highly respected for all areas of manufacturing advice and new product development.

The initiative is aimed at improving the global competitiveness of UK advanced manufacturing supply chains and it is estimated that it will help to generate £1.5bn in economic growth, 23,000 jobs and safeguard 50,000 jobs.

Launching the MAS programme, Business Minister, Mark Prisk said: "Manufacturing contributes half of Britain’s exports and has much higher productivity than the rest of the economy so it is essential to our plans for growth. That is why we are taking steps to ensure our industrial base is thriving as part of a strong and balanced UK economy.”

For more information visit: http://www.mymas.org/

Other current Government funded opportunities available for SMEs in the West Midlands include:

Smart Research Grants

Creative KTN Games Competition

Sustainable Manufacturing for the Process Industry

Manufacturing Processes

Building Performance Evaluation

WMG is keen to collaborate on projects with SMEs so do get in touch if you have an idea you want to partner on. Additionally there are locally/European funded initiatives from university departments like WMG to support SMEs. Please contact wmgsmeteam@warwick.ac.uk for more information.


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