Blueprint Product Design in Leeds has transformed the way it does business – from being purely a sub-contractor to creating their own branded products and now playing a key role in a €6.33 million Horizon 2020 digital health project.
CEO Mick Karol credits EEN in the North of England with guiding him through a radical re-engineering of his company:
“We risked everything – and I mean everything – to go from a sub-contract business charging for our time to using our own money and funding to become a product-based business,” he said. “We couldn’t have done it on our own.”
The successful change of direction is largely due to the Innovate 2 Succeed innovation management programme, funded by Enterprise Europe Network through Innovate UK.
EEN network advisers helped the firm win €500,000 of Horizon 2020 funding for its part in a multi-national ‘human on a chip’ project co-ordinated by the University of Leeds, called HISENTS (High level Integrated Sensor for Nanotoxicity Screening).
It reflects Blueprint Product Design’s new offer as a turn-key service in the development and marketing of technical and scientific products.
With that in mind, he has a world-wide, three-year, exclusive licence on a water toxicity sensor from the University of Leeds. Potential applications include an aquaculture tool for fish farms; chemical terrorism detection; and health and the environment.
Skills within the business now extend from establishing a need for the product through early-stage market evaluation all the way through to full product development and manufacture.
For the Horizon 2020 project, where partners have still to articulate an application for their nano-particle toxicity detection technology, Blueprint Product Design has added a post-doctoral chemist to the team although the company has no role in developing hardware or software.
What we found through working with EEN was we had skills that no other designers had. We’re not just designers; we’re marketeers. We’re not just marketeers; we’re manufacturers. To use all that capability, we needed to be designing our own products.
Mick Karol, Blueprint Product Design