Innovation in design a powerful tool for companies against downturn

More than 200 local business people discovered how the power of design and innovation could help steer their companies through the downturn, at Invest Northern Ireland’s latest Innovation Masterclass.

Inspirational addresses from two of the UK’s top commercial design practitioners demonstrated how innovative design can be a powerful tool for local companies of all sizes, across all sectors as they seek a competitive edge for the recovery.

Ralph Ardill, founder of The Brand Experience Consultancy, and Professor Martin Darbyshire of international strategic design consultancy Tangerine, highlighted the value of good design and how it can deliver significant benefits in the marketplace.

Speaking at the event in BBC Blackstaff Studios, Belfast, Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, said: “Many of the world’s most successful businesses can attribute their success to a strong ethos of excellence and innovation in design.

“Whether it is a brand new product that changes a market altogether, such as the iPod, or a new image that repositions a company and opens up new avenues, design can have a profound effect on bottom line performance.

“By encouraging staff to embrace innovation and by nurturing a culture of inventive thinking, businesses here can identify ideas that could have strong commercial potential. This is especially true in the current climate, where companies that differentiate themselves from their competitors will best capitalise on the upturn.”

At the event, delegates accessed one to one sessions with advisors from Invest NI’s Design Advice Service which helps companies to identify and progress projects in areas such as branding and visual communications, product and industrial design, design management, and packaging.