Event Report & Video Highlights: ‘Design: Taking Ideas to Market’

Technology Scotland’s ‘Design: Taking Ideas to Market’ event was held on 1st November 2016 in Edinburgh, in association with Enigma People Solutions and with sponsors Scintilla IP and Space Solutions. A full report can be post-event write up can be found below, along with a video of our event highlights.

When speaking with our members, we continuously hear calls for design-themed events to reflect Scotland’s long tradition of innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialisation in the design, technology and creative sectors. As a cluster organisation, we aim to bring companies, organisations and other institutes together in ‘concentrations of interconnected companies and institutions in a particular field’, so holding an event for Scotland’s design community seemed an excellent opportunity to do this. We were fortunate enough to find an excellent venue: The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh.

The strength of this event lay in its subject matter and broad range of attendees from the design industry. Along with our partner, Enigma People Solution, we determined that Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular, is a vibrant hub of innovation and design; in fact, Edinburgh has just this month (November 2016) been named as the best city in Europe to start a tech business by European Business Magazine. However, when talking to design-related start-ups and SMEs, it became clear that one of the biggest challenges in designing a product or service is making sure it identifies a market need, and then taking the product to market in a way that focuses on the end-user.

The program for this evening event involved hearing 2 leading industry speakers, Grant King of Wideblue and Lynne Cadenhead, a serial entrepreneur involved in companies such as Nano-Lit Technologies, Bio ID Security and Women’s Enterprise Scotland.

Grant, who has over 30 years of experience in designing and developing products for the computer, electronics, photonics and telecoms industries, focused his presentation on the question of: ‘How do you know what to design in the first place?’ He offered attendees an insight into different approaches to design using the example of an orange juicer, from a classic supermarket juicer to a lovingly designed Philippe Starck model, via a £10,000 industrial juicer. Focusing on modern day speed of technological development and the surge of entrepreneurship, Grant triggered a discussion on how best to design a product before a new disruptive technology disturbs the marketplace.

Following Grant, Lynne Cadenhead gave a fantastic overview of designing products and taking them to market, demonstrating that you need as much business knowledge as technical! She offered some very insightful tips for the audience based on her own successes, setbacks, and lessons learned over her career. This triggered an interesting speaker/audience discussion regarding the customer, and to what extent their viewpoint matters when designing a product: do you listen to the customer and design a product based on their views and opinions? Or, like Steve Jobs, do you design a product that a customer doesn’t know they want yet and hope that the market is ‘ready’ for it?

Following the discussion period and presentations from our sponsors, Scintilla IP and Space Solutions, attendees had the chance to network over an evening buffet and wine reception.

In total, we had over 55 industry attendees representing a wide range of Scotland-based start-ups, SMEs and large companies, 2 speakers, 2 event sponsors, and our event partner, Enigma People Solutions.

Thank you to our Partner and Sponsors