Business support to spark innovation

Members of Northumbria University's Creative Fuse North East project team

Business support to spark innovation

Small businesses from the North-East are being invited to take part in fully-funded creative workshops to gain a fresh perspective on opportunities and challenges, develop ideas for new products and services, and share experiences.

‘Get Ready to Innovate’ is a high-intensity innovation support package delivered by Northumbria University’s project team for Creative Fuse North East. Across three half-day workshops, businesses will be challenged and supported to see their organisation through different perspectives. Participants will also be offered the opportunity to receive a one-to-one innovation support session to develop a strategy for implementing the ideas explored within the workshops.

Nate Sterling, a research assistant in Northumbria’s Creative Fuse team, said: “This innovation support package is perfect for anyone who has the seeds of a new idea for their business, for those who feel ready to grow their business but aren’t sure where to start, or for those who are struggling to find the time to work on their ideas and ‘passion projects’. Through design techniques and tools we will help each participating business realise their ideas.

“Our team of expert design-led practitioners will use a variety of tools to help small businesses and sole traders challenge their current thinking and generate new ways to create value.

“Each participating business or sole trader will have its own facilitators to guide them through the process during the workshops. Afterwards, each business will have an additional one-to-one session with our innovation experts to drill down deeper and focus on developing their ideas further.”

During the first workshop, Northumbria University’s experts will work with those attending to capture the basics of their business and explore initial ideas. The team will help attendees to look at their business with a fresh perspective and begin to look forwards. Participants will gain first-hand experience of taking a design-led approach to spark innovation and create new ideas.

The second workshop gives participants the rare opportunity to dream about the future and imagine ‘what if…?’ The third workshop explores which of the ‘what ifs…?’ might be feasible and how to put into practice the first sparks of an idea.

After completing the workshops, each business will receive a one-to-one session with Northumbria University’s innovation team to reflect on key learning points and turn ideas into strategy.

The fully-funded support package is available to SMEs, registered sole traders, micro-business and registered freelancers from the public, private, or voluntary sector within the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area: Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland, Sunderland, and most of County Durham.