Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Creating brand value through intellectual property

Post Adrian Burns See here for an exciting update to this post
Any interiors & lifestyle futures companies who couldn’t make the IP workshop on 24 February – don’t worry – there are three more IP workshops in the West Midlands. These take place in March and April and are run by The Intellectual Property Office (an operating name of the Patent Office), the government agency responsible for registering IP rights in the UK.




Protecting your ideas and inventions
Where: Birmingham Science Park Aston, Faraday Wharf, Holt Street, Birmingham B7 4BB
When: 09:00 - 13:00 Wednesday 16 March 2011
Register/more information: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/whyuse/events/events-calendar/events-pyi-birmingham.htm

Creating brand value for your business

Where: Stafford County Showground, Weston Road Stafford ST18 OBD
When: 09:00 - 13:00 Wednesday 13 April 2011
Register/more information: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/whyuse/events/events-calendar/events-cbv-stafford.htm

Creating brand value for your business
Where Walsall Football Club, Banks Stadium, Bescot Crescent, Walsall, WS1 4SA
When: 16:00 - 21:00 Tuesday 5 April 2011
Register/more information: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/whyuse/events/events-calendar/events-cbv-walsall.htm

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Seat of Learning: A design and development case-study

Post Adrian Burns

West Midlands’ interiors and lifestyle businesses are invited to a talk that launches an exhibition of a new range of educational seating.

This exhibition documents the design and development stages of the seating project. Designed by David Rowe and Richard Snell, this innovative range of products is designed to comply with the new European standards for school furniture and addresses the need for posture to be considered more fully in the design of pupils’ chairs.



The project was realised through a close collaboration between Birmingham City University, BKF Plastics Ltd. and Hille, a company with a well established reputation for the design of furniture for public spaces.

Lecture: Tuesday 1 March 2011 @ 6.00 pm
Venue: Emma Jesse Phipps Building, Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Gosta Green, Birmingham B4 7DX
Exhibition: now until 4 March; The Foyer Gallery Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Gosta Green, Birmingham B4 7DX (opening hours: Mon-Fri 10.00am – 7.00pm)

To attend the lecture on Tuesday 1 March, please email: Yanyan.Wang@bcu.ac.uk

Friday, 11 February 2011

Innovating through Intellectual Property - Putting your assets to work

Post Adrian Burns
Interiors & Lifestyle Futures companies should be very interested in this IP workshop on Thursday 24 February. It will provide a practical review of what Intellectual Property is (and isn’t), why you need to incorporate the management of your key knowledge assets within your overall planning for innovation, and how to set about exploiting your rights most effectively in a changing world.


IP and Innovation
Gathering IP isn’t an end in itself. Protecting IP is only of value if it is carefully aligned within your overall strategic approach to innovation and business growth. This session will explore:
• Knowledge, competitive advantage and innovation – why is IP important?
• Where does IP sit within the process of innovation?
• Identifying your key knowledge assets
• Strategic choices - protection, secrecy, time to market etc.

What is IP?
This will review the key features of the major categories of formal IP: Patents, Trademarks, Copyright, and Designs.
• What do they protect?
• What do they allow?
• For how long?
• What must I do?
• What mustn’t I do?
• What help is available?

Commercialising your Knowledge
Whether formally protected or informally managed, your unique know-how is a core asset of your business, but its value is only realised when you exercise it in a commercial transaction or venture. This session will look at some of the main ways IP can be put to work on your behalf and at how new thinking around Open Innovation is changing the way that businesses are expanding their knowledge base, accelerating their development of new products and services, and expanding their routes to market.
• Routes to commercialise IP – practice, licensing, selling, joint ventures, etc.
• Knowledge protection and knowledge leakage
• Open Innovation – a new paradigm and new possibilities

When: 9:00am - 1:00pm Thursday 24 February
Where: The Drum, 144 Potters Lane, Aston Birmingham, B6 4UU

Places are going quickly– so they will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. If you’d like to know more please call 0121 200 0910 or email innovation@bcguk.com.

Innovating through Intellectual Property is a workshop from the Stimulating Innovation Programme, which is designed to provide innovation support to eligible businesses within Birmingham. Expert coaching is also available for eligible innovative Birmingham businesses with high growth potential to facilitate the development and commercialisation of new products.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Trends theme makes for a winning collaboration at Interiors Show


As an update to our earlier post about the 2011 Interiors Show: West Midlands contract furniture company, mrf Ltd’s collaboration with third year students from Birmingham City University won Global Color Mix’s award for Curve as the best interpreted trend. mrf’s S200 lotus chair was upholstered using an in-house digital print process based on an original textile design created by Rebecca Church while Morven Hauser created the wall covering included on the Curve stand. Both are Textile Design students at Birmingham Institute of Art & Design (BIAD).

Curve trend: L-R Anaisa Monteiro, Linda Sam, Jillian Hurst, Morven Hauser with mrf’s chair

Global Color Mix also praised BIAD student Zoe Walker for her outstanding work on the Fable trend in partnership with another West Midlands company, Glass Domain. Her embroidered textile was digitally printed on to vinyl. Zoe was awarded a year’s subscription to Global Color Mix magazine. Carolina Calzada, Marketing Director, Global Color Mix – Research presented the Curve and Fable awards.

The Tektura award for ‘Design and Innovation for Wallcoverings’ –as voted for by visitors to the Trends Stand, on the first two days of the Interiors Show, went to Holly Kneller. Her Botanic trend wallcovering was included on the Hille Educational Seating section of the stand. Angela Paterson, Marketing Director, Tektura PLC presented Holly with vouchers and announced that her work will be promoted via Tektura’s website and newsletters throughout the year.

Afrika, the fourth trend included, was demonstrated using a Windsor chair from West Midlands company, Sitting Firm.

Professor Chris O’Neil, Executive Dean BIAD, introducing the awards said: “This stand is a triumph of the collaborative efforts of over 30 BIAD students, several academic and support staff with four forward-thinking interiors companies and our sponsors.

“In a challenging economic environment, innovation is key. And, for innovation to thrive, new ideas, skilled staff and the application of new technology are all important. Here at BIAD, Birmingham City University, we are committed to supporting all such areas when collaborating with organisations.

“Trends is just one of many projects that reaches out to industry to stimulate new thinking and to provide students with practical real life industry experience.

“We are always interested in further collaborations and look forward to working with companies and organisations, students and practitioners to ensure that we all move forward with some profitable and interesting results.”

Professor Chris O’Neil centre with BIAD textile students

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Free workshops for designer makers and sole traders

Post Wendy Jones
The West Midlands has a community of over 2000 designer makers and sole traders who currently total about £30 million per year in sales. According to recent research, this group is underperforming as compared with national averages to the tune of £15,000-£20,000 of turnover per company each year.

With this in mind, Interiors & Lifestyle Futures has created specially-designed workshops to support this important group within the interiors and lifestyle sector.” We know how difficult it can be to run a business on your own with little input from others,” says Kathryn Burns, a project director with Interiors & Lifestyle Futures.




“These workshops take account of that and include an understanding and appreciation of the creative issues. They are inspired by the concept of looking at a business in terms of narrative, character and plot rather than graphs, charts and statistics.”

Each workshop comprises two sessions and the next set is on 16 March and 23 March.

The workshop provides a practical and user friendly approach to making real and beneficial changes. If you are interested in taking part, please contact the team on 0121 331 7925 or email networks@ilfutures.co.uk.