Durham Future Innovation Building Project

Durham Future Innovation Building Project


A new project which is aimed at key growth sectors of Construction, Elec-tech and Healthcare aims to support SMEs to invest in R&D and build their potential to innovate successfully.

The project will identify their ideas and connect them to people who can help them to build new innovations. It will allow them to think about how to change and adapt to trends, discover new markets, become trend setters, continuously assess their products, and adapt quickly to market conditions, by building an innovation mindset from a series of educational events, which will be held over the next 2.5 years.

How will this project help a business to innovate?
Events will be designed, to help SMEs to unlock their innovation potential by giving them the wide range of skills, knowledge and understanding to problem solve ideas, even those outside their initial area of expertise. The events will focus on developing the mindset and skills to drive creativity and innovation, and could include learning skills from product design, such as design thinking, user research, brainstorming, and co-designing. Innovation events will also help people to understand the business innovation life cycle, how new innovations can progress an existing product, disrupt markets, or create entirely new markets. We will look at how successful innovators progress their ideas to market. These sessions may be masterclasses, workshops and practical design sessions.

Why innovate?
Innovators can sometimes have great ideas, but they are not always be able to research and develop products. Sometimes this is due to lack of resources, time, money or expertise, or simply because they are too busy growing their business. This project aims to address these challenges, not only by allowing business to apply for funding to innovate, but it also aims to inspire, educate and excite businesses in the many fantastic possibilities of innovation, to see beyond their current products.

What are some of the trends in these sectors?

Historically, successful innovators in healthcare have transformed the quality of life for people globally. They have been inspired to change the quality of life to meet a specific challenge. Innovations have included new diagnostic equipment, surgical equipment, robotic and none- invasive methods, customised healthcare, telehealth, precision medicine, advancing imaging systems, digital imaging, and more. Recent growth has been accelerated by smart technologies. Significant growth has been seen in biotechnology, pharmaceutical customisation, holistic healthcare, and a move to take healthcare to the patient

Construction is undergoing a value-based innovation. In part this has arisen from the ability to innovate directly with the Industry 4.0 revolution, but it is now being accelerated by environmental needs to provide sustainable materials, a circular economy, and to think about how we live and work in the future. Linked to this is a drive to look for renewable fuel sources, less polluting transport methods, water recycling, energy harvesting and clean technologies.

We can now use sensors and smart technologies to drive innovation across all sectors, and areas of life. Digital technologies have acted as a catalyst to a new industrial revolution which cuts across energy, logistics, transport, construction, health, wellbeing, agriculture, manufacturing, renewable energy, smart cities and towns, houses, health, hospitals, food and drink and more. Artificial intelligence and big data have further roles to play in how we live and work in the future and how we are able to fully appreciate the power of electronic technologies across all industrial sectors.

How can we help you?
1. Come to our innovation events. By attending our innovation events we can help you to kick start your ideas, learn new skills, and provide you with some inspiring speakers, workshops and methods to help you innovate.
2. Formulate a well-researched innovation idea. We will help you to create a well-researched innovation proposal and application, which can then be considered by our panel for funding. You don’t need to be an expert in every single aspect to your idea either.
3. We will connect you to the right people to research and develop your idea with you, and sign post you to other support to help you progress your business.
4. When you have successfully secured funding, we will monitor how you are progressing, as you develop your innovation and support you to ensure that you are successful.
5. We will provide one to one business support to ensure that you get the most out of your innovation potential as a business and that you are able to explore your potential as an innovator, understand your existing skills and markets and explore new markets.