Showcases / Accelerated new product programme comes to Shetland

AS PART of its region wide entrepreneurship programme, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is bringing Dr Steve Carden and Dr Paolo Siciliano from PA Consulting in Cambridge to Lerwick at the end of September to help Shetland entrepreneurs develop new products, services and processes to grow their businesses.

Taking place at The Shetland Hotel in Lerwick on 25 and 26 September 2018, with a follow-up session on 5 December 2018, this is an in-depth three-month programme to help businesses and social enterprises accelerate business growth through developing and implementing a structured approach to new product/service or process development.

The programme comes at a time when new product development is on the rise in Scotland. The latest annual report from the European Patent Office, issued earlier this year, indicated that patent filings rose by almost ten per cent in 2017 versus the previous year, outperforming the rest of the UK. HIE believes there is a real need for a programme like this in the Highlands and Islands.

Commenting on the programme, Rachel Hunter, area manager for HIE in Shetland, said: “We know that there are many entrepreneurs in Shetland with great ideas for new products or services but the end to end process from idea generation to launch can be time-consuming, costly and fraught with challenges.

HIE area manager for Shetland, Rachel Hunter.HIE area manager for Shetland, Rachel Hunter.

“This programme will help to focus the mind, prioritise and, importantly, reduce the risk. We know from a pilot in 2017 that there is a real appetite for this type of support so I am really looking forward to watching the programme progress in Shetland over the next few months.”

Dr Paolo Siciliano, new product development consultant at PA Consulting, said: “Having been part of the team that delivered the New Product or Process Development programme in the Highlands and Islands in 2017, I can’t wait to get to Shetland and meet more passionate entrepreneurs, eager to improve and grow their organisations.

“From PA Consulting’s Global Innovation and Technology Centre in Cambridge, our team of more than 250 innovative designers, scientists and engineers take our clients’ biggest and most complex challenges and turn them into positive outcomes at every step of the innovation journey, from ideation to market.

“We’ll be bringing this experience and expertise to Shetland and I hope entrepreneurs in the area will embrace the opportunity to innovate and increase the efficiency of their new product development.

“Taking part in the programme also gives a chance to learn from other attendees; sharing examples of good practice, success stories and failures, and to compare challenges and barriers to successful innovation.”

The Accelerated New Product or Process Development programme is being rolled out across the Highlands and Islands following a successful pilot in 2017. Taking part in this pilot was John Ellis MBE, technical support assistant at MacLean’s Highland Bakery.

Mr Ellis said: “Having felt the need for a more structured way of developing new products for both customers and ourselves as a company, HIE’s Accelerated New Product or Process Development programme was the perfect opportunity to learn how to do so.

“The action plan we received was especially helpful, as was interacting with others on the programme as it gave us a great insight into how businesses from a cross section of sectors develop new products.

“Developing and producing a new product is both difficult and daunting but if used properly, the advice and assistance given on the programme can give you the confidence to go forward while avoiding many of the potential pitfalls along the way.”

Those interested in taking part in the programme should email to register interest and receive an application form.