Author:Deirdre Walters

Hunting Growth In The Third Sector

At Untapped, we are passionate about giving back, and ensure that we donate our time to good causes and third sector groups every year such as SportInspired, The British Science Association and WISE (Women in STEM).  We think innovation is important in every part of society. As this month’s guest blog coincides with World Charity Day, we have invited our new associate, Heather Newton, to share her deep experience in how best to innovate in the third sector. She explores how the tension of innovating in a climate of risk aversion has taught her lessons that are super-relevant beyond the third sector. Happy reading and thanks to Heather!   It’s not new news that innovation demands both an element of risk-taking in trying new things, and a willingness to accept that some...

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2019 Degree Show Round Up – 4 Big Themes

At Untapped, we are passionate about connecting human needs, technical possibilities and future trends, and nowhere is this seen more brilliantly than the year end degree shows of some of the UK’s best university programs. This year we visited University Of The Arts Central St. Martins, The Royal College Of Art, University Of The West Of England, amongst others, to experience new thinking from students of Creative Product Design, Service Design, Textile Design, Innovation Management and Material Futures. Here is our round up of the ‘4 Big Themes’ seen in the brightest, emerging ideas. Do More With Less Unsurprisingly a central theme to all of the degree shows was sustainability and doing more with less. At UWE we loved Thomas’ Elwescustom eye-glasses pressing technique which uses recyclable plastic to ‘make something different’ and...

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Intentional Sustainability – Designing It Right From The Start

So much of the sustainability conversation is influenced by our rear view mirror, as we attempt to fix problems that have been created over time. And while this is important, what if we could design sustainability into our propositions right from the beginning? What should a product or service with sustainability at its core look like across different sectors? And how would it be different vs. today? At Untapped we see a clear trend across extensive sectors that sustainability has moved from being a ‘nice to have’ to a clear ‘must have’ in any product or service. In April’s blog, Molshee Vaid walked us through significant sustainability aspects within the fashion industry that are starting to become a reality. Vogue Business endorses this point of view in George Arnett’s sustainability report...

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Agile Research Tools for 2019 Part 2: De-Risking Innovation With The Right Blend Of Research

At Untapped, we feel that all good innovation comes from the resolution of a BIG tension – and nowhere do we see this more acutely than in the world of insight and ideas research. Often in the same breath, clients will tell us: ‘We need exciting, emotional insights and know qualitative research can unlock these’, but … ‘We really need the rigour of quantitative research to be sure of the data afterwards’. Combine this with: ‘We really need to focus on inventing for the future’,but … ‘We can’t alienate today’s consumer base’. And then overlay with the reality of operating in the challenges of today’s world: ‘I need results fast, really fast’, but … ‘My budget is much smaller than before, and my growth targets are the same (or higher)’.   So how can we help our clients de-risk their...

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Stuck In A Reorg-Rut? Tips To Get You Inventing Ideas Again

With over 80% of our clients going through a reorganisation in the last 12 months we frequently see first-hand the effect on innovation output – plenty of ‘innovation inertia’. While reorganising can be the right course of action in response to new business development, workplace efficiencies or address specific shareholder concerns, it frequently has a detrimental effect on innovation, especially in the short-medium term. In ‘Re-Org – How To Get It Right’ (Harvard Business Review) it’s states ‘No other management practice creates more anxiety and fear among employees or does more to distract them from their day-to-day jobs’. Not exactly an environment to inspire new ideas.   In our experience at Untapped, there are some really quick and easy approaches that you can use to help inspire new thinking, get ideas off...

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The Power of Digital Scouting for Product Design

Over the past 6 years Untapped has been busy building an incredible network of global freelance talent – from industrial designers, to futurists, to digital / data analysts and beyond. Our extended network of over 50 carefully chosen connections has played a vital role on our client projects and critically informing how we think and evolve as an innovation agency. This blog introduces Rosie Blake, founder of The Social Club, a Social Media consultancy and influencer community. Enjoy!   There’s no denying that Social Media is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our every day lives. For most of us, this probably just means regular notifications from our friends tagging us in Facebook video funnies, finding ourselves spending too long scrolling through Instagram or jumping straight on to Twitter whenever we need to complain...

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The Importance Of In-Context Research

Artificial Settings Lead To Artificial Responses No respondent sets out to be untruthful when doing research, but sometimes the act of sitting in a stuffy room, with 4 or 5 people they have never met, being asked questions about things they don’t normally talk or think about can dramatically influence the quality of how people respond. Respondents can over-intellectualise responses or forget important factors completely as the settings are out of context. We think the best way to invent breakthrough products and services is to visit people and understand them in their natural environment e.g. discuss their favourite food in their kitchens, beauty products in their bathrooms, or portable electronics on their commute.   What Can You Do When You Can’t (Or Shouldn’t) Be There? If budget and time were...

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Weaving Future Concepts

Over the past 6 years Untapped has been busy building an incredible network of global freelance talent - from industrial designers, to futurists, to digital / data analysts & beyond. Our extended network of over 50 carefully chosen connections has played a vital role on our client projects and critically informing how we think and evolve as an innovation agency. Over the coming months we will feature guest blogs to share their talent with you. This blog introduces Steph Rolph, a leading textile designer & material futurist who specializes in the intersect between craft & digital. Enjoy!   Who Weaves In 2018? When I introduce myself as a weaver the most common response is: “what do you make?” Unlike my ancestors who wove cloth to clothe or baskets to carry, I do not weave things as such....

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Design Fusion & Future Ideas

Collaborating With Designers To Imagine The Future At Untapped, our mantra is fusing the art & science of innovation to create big ideas for our clients. Over the past number of years, we continue to see the pattern that our best ideas and innovation come from fusing unobvious connections from many different sources. One deliberate way that we drive these unobvious connections is to involve a variety of freelance designers in our projects. While consumer insight is important in any project, we recognise that it is difficult for consumers to predict the future. They can tell you what they like, love and hate today, but imagining what is next is very challenging for them. In contrast, designers from the fashion, beauty, textile, industrial and other worlds are out there, every day creating...

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Beauty Innovation & Future Forecasting

The Beauty Trends & Innovation Conference September 2016 Following a fascinating day at the Beauty Trends & Innovation Conference last week we took some time to reflect on some overarching themes that emerged throughout the key note speeches, panel discussions and the all important coffee conversations (http://www.globalinsightconferences.com/). Before delving into specific consumer trends, there were some strong innovative business approaches seen throughout the day in response to ever changing consumer needs & consumer behaviours:   Business Approach 1. Speed Up Product launches take too long to get ideas to market. In a beauty world that is becoming faster every day products must get to market quickly before the idea is no longer relevant. Rather than spending R&D and Marketing budgets on 18+ month qualification programs, there was strong advocating of grass roots ‘real world’ research...

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