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Inaugural Innovation Week hailed a success

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3M BIC and partners inspire regional businesses to embrace innovation

Over 100 businesses from across the Leeds City Region took part in a week-long event (4-8 November) at the 3M BIC that was designed to encourage innovation adoption and support business growth across the region.

Those attending events held at the Innovation centre in Huddersfield represented a mix of sectors, including manufacturing, engineering and design that benefitted from insights into innovation practices from 3M and Siemens, had the opportunity to meet academics from the University of Huddersfield, and attended workshops on how to write innovative business models and access innovation funding.

Delegates were also given the opportunity to tour the 3M BIC, which houses advanced technologies to support innovation, including scanning and design tools; 3D printing in polymers and metals; inspection equipment, including x-Ray, and virtual and augmented reality.

The week’s focal event ‘Business Innovation: How to create extraordinary value’ took place on 5 November and featured Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, Sarah Chapman, technical manager at 3M, who discussed how 3M has created a workplace where innovation thrives and how businesses can apply the practices to their own, and Parth Mehta, business development manager at Siemens who talked about Siemens’ approach to innovation and Smart City Technology.

The 3M BIC’s lead design and visualisation specialist, Paul Tallon, also discussed the principles of generative design linked to leading edge additive manufacturing to help reduce waste and increase efficiency.

Over 23 academics from the University of Huddersfield took part in the Meet the Academic drop-in event on Wednesday 6 November, which saw businesses seek potential collaboration opportunities with researchers within their field. Topics included data analytics, logistics and supply chain, technical textiles, product design, management and strategy, rail, Computational Fluid Dynamics, applied microbiology, and spreadable marketing, plus much more.

Sue Cooke, CEO of the 3M BIC, said: “Innovation comes in all shapes and forms, but in essence it’s about creating ways to help strengthen your business. It can be anything from creating a new product, improving productivity or effecting change in an industry.

“Innovation Week at the 3M BIC brought together those that excel at innovation to inspire businesses to adopt it, and those that can support businesses to innovate. Our sessions were well received and we’re looking forward to rolling out similar events in the future.”

Other highlights from Innovation Week included:

  • A session hosted by strategic design consultancy, The Engine Room, that gave emerging entrepreneurs from The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Centre (DOYYEC) an insight into innovation to inspire them to adopt innovative methods in order to create successful entrepreneurial plans. The engaging and interactive session looked at how design thinking methods can aid entrepreneurial success, innovation and effective business planning.
  • A Business Model Canvas (BMC) workshop, run by RTC, on how to build an innovative business model. Businesses left with a clearer understanding of how a business operates, how to operate more efficiently, the impact on costs and how differing revenue models might positively impact.
  • An Innovation Workshop hosted by PAPI, designed to help businesses optimise commercial, innovative and entrepreneurial capabilities.

Emily  Cooper was announced as the winner of the best overall design at the student design challenge, announced on 5 November, which was sponsored by 3M, Siemens, Mamas & Papas and Elmwood. Emily’s healthcare monitoring device ‘MEKKIN’, attracted the judges due to its innovative approach to solving a problem within the healthcare sector and will work with 3M BIC’s design and visualisation team to produce a prototype of their design using the centre’s advanced technologies.

Winners of the other categories included Harley Widdowson, Emily Slide and James Hoare who won a site tour from their category sponsor.

If you missed out on Innovation week and would like a tour of the 3M BIC, contact the team on for more information.

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