Method Design Lab - Business Accelerator to Drive Design-led Innovation

Method Design Lab: Business Accelerator to Drive Design-led Innovation

Method and Central Saint Martins (CSM) have come together to create Method Design Lab, a new business accelerator, which aims to bring up to 20 new innovations to market each year. Method Design Lab (MDL) combines the expertise of Method, a leading global design and innovation consultancy headquartered in San Francisco, and Central Saint Martins, one of the world's foremost design colleges, to deliver a unique model that will drive UK economic growth and innovation. The venture brings a radical new approach to developing ideas and is focused on developing world class, design-centric products, services and companies.

"The new frontier in innovation is about design and user experience, not solely about technology," said Kevin Farnham, Chief Executive of Method. "This is why we have come together with Central Saint Martins to develop the world's first accelerator that recognises this and is willing to invest the expertise and resources to build the brands, products and services that will shape our future. We recognise that London is a hotbed of new ideas and creativity and Method Design Lab is focused wholly on fulfilling the potential of that."

"Innovation is at the core of what we do at Central Saint Martins," commented Professor Jane Rapley OBE, Head of College, CSM. "Our students are some of the world's most creative, dynamic and ambitious. Through our partnership with Method we will not only uncover many ideas that may never have seen the light of day but we will be able to develop, improve and commercialise them in a way that was not possible before."

Unlike other academic incubators MDL is driven solely through private sector investment. Investors have the opportunity to enter the MDL fund in order to acquire a share in the range of new ventures MDL will bring to market. This portfolio-based approach reduces risk and allows for a high level of return as MDL aims to launch up to 20 products and businesses each year. MDL will expand the fund through industry partners, angel investors, banks and high-net worth individuals that want to benefit from an Intellectual Property-based portfolio with good returns.

"By bringing together creative ideas with the right type of private capital and expertise we are uniquely placed to introduce some breakthrough concepts to the market over the next 12 months," added Santiago Matheus, Managing Director, Method Design Lab. "We will be working with both partners and investors to ensure that great ideas don't just sit in the Lab but make it onto the market."

MDL operates a rigorous and transparent six-step process to take an idea from concept to full commercialisation, which includes:

Step 1 - Idea sources: Ideas are identified from sources including the 4,500+ CSM students and the extensive internal and external global network of Method and CSM experts.

Step 2 - Primary selection: Ideas are selected using an online voting system that allows Method and CSM experts to identify which ideas should be explored further. This step draws on over 100 global experts that specialise in design, innovation and user-experience who have a track record in bringing innovation ideas to the market.

Step 3 - Early feasibility: Ideas that make it beyond the online voting stage undergo a rigorous internal vetting process with those who make the cut then being subject to due diligence in which the Method Design Lab team will identify potential routes to market, possible competition, design potential and audience.

Step 4 - Transfer of ownership: Once early feasibility has been conducted and the idea is to progress further an agreement is reached with the IP author.

Step 5 - Development: This involves the development of the idea to prototype stage and is where the combined strength of the joint venture partners will come to light. MDL, CSM and Method staff will bring their discipline expertise to bear and ensure that the output of this phase is as high a caliber as the world-class work done for clients of the independent consultancies.

Step 6 - Commercialisation: Developed idea is presented to potential market partners and additional investors to support large scale commercialisation and development.

The development of MDL is testament to the increasing focus on innovation, and it will challenge traditional innovation hubs. Its model, approach and structure make the joint venture different to anything seen before.