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KTN Break Through Innovation

KTN Innovation Conference - 2018

We recently attended Break Through Innovation, a day-long conference hosted by KTN (Knowledge Transfer Network) Design and Innovation Effectiveness team, to learn and to share experiences with designers and entrepreneurs of how collaboration can help deliver products to market effectively. It’s increasingly understood that involving designers at the beginning of the innovation process makes a crucial difference to the overall project success. Designers don’t only make products look aesthetically pleasing, they are multi-skilled strategic consultants that add long-term value. Strategic design, focussing on both the business and the customer, helps start-ups get smart ideas to the right target market and helps established businesses expand their offering. Insights that stood out on the day were the ones that illustrated both the perceived challenges of human-centred strategic design process and the lucrative results it can produce.

What is the true benefit of an external perspective?

Sometimes being a designer can feel like being a therapist who can draw. Visualising an idea is often the first step towards fully understanding its value, when we don't fully understand something then we tend to make assumptions, which designers are trained to question. It’s important for entrepreneurs to allow their assumptions to be challenged, running a business is demanding and often it’s hard to see the bigger picture. This is where designers have an advantage, they can bring an external perspective to the table.


What does it mean to have your ideas challenged?

At Crux Product Design we challenge processes to drive efficiency, delivering the right product to market in reduced time. We worked with LettUs Grow (a technology start-up) to reach new markets. LettUs Grow’s original focus was a consumer product that would allow people to easily grow their own food in their kitchens at home with the aid of new aeroponic technology. This focus changed when through Design Foundations, LettUs Grow worked with Crux Product Design to research new markets. LettUs Grow discovered their unique technology could have a significant impact on saving energy and water by pivoting to a B2B model. From this, LettUs Grow could establish Europe’s first aeroponic vertical farm in Bristol. 


Change and collaboration may seem uncomfortable but to achieve a successful outcome you need to be able to trust your designers and work together towards shared goals.


Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

Nicholas Sharp

Product Designer