SMEs and start-ups work to Design. Develop. Publish at REACTOR’s Concept Development Workshops

Published: 10 December 2018 at 14:58

Concept Development Workshop Cambridge

In November, REACTOR held two Concept Development Workshops. The first spanned two afternoons at the Holiday Inn, Peterborough, on 21st and 22nd November. The second took place at the Doubletree Hilton, Cambridge, on the afternoons of 28th and 29th November.

Both workshops offered local SMEs and start-ups the opportunity to take an early business innovation idea through a two-day programme of support – including practical, mentored workshops – to begin the process of turning their concept into a viable product and, essentially, considering how incorporating elements of game mechanics could enhance their product or service concept.

Support was also on hand to guide participants through preparations to scale-up, and to pitch their Minimum Viable Product to potential investors.

The workshops are an essential part of REACTOR’s Design. Develop. Publish programme, with the events structured around four workshops:

  1. Antony Quinn from Creative Breakthrough ran the first workshop, focused on Design, in which he encouraged attendees to think like a Product Designer. Delegates created a persona based on who they thought their target audience would be, and Antony guided the group through sketching and defining elements of their persona on which to design their product around.
  2. The second workshop was run by James Shepherd from Cypherdelic, based on the Develop element of the programme with a particular focus on gamification and rapid prototyping. With a background in gaming both at Microsoft and PlayStation, James built on the personas attendees created in Antony’s workshop, to encourage thinking around how to build a theme or environment to suit the mindset of the target audience. He spoke about how to engage audiences, how to encourage user feedback and input, and attendees particularly enjoyed hearing about how the use of colour can influence a user’s experience of a game or product or service via an app, for example.
  3. First up on the second afternoon was the Publish workshop, run by Roger Chittock, Commercialisation Officer from Anglia Ruskin University. The focus of the workshop was ‘Protecting your intellectual property’ and, as one attendee put it, “Roger takes a really dull subject and makes it come to life with examples to show how similar knock-off products can be without infringing the IP of a copyrighted original”. He also explained some of the processes around pursuing IP conflicts and how to decide whether to legally pursue an infringement or not.
  4. The final workshop, Funding & Innovation Project Canvas, was delivered by Simon Atack of Exemplas. Simon provided valuable advice for attendees on how to take a concept through to seeking funding; looking at the different types of official funding and angel investor funding available to SMEs and start-ups, and also helping attendees to prepare their business plan and pitches to make the best first impression on potential investors.

REACTOR’s James Bullen closed the event with a look ahead to the many ways REACTOR can support SMEs and start-ups as they pursue their innovative concepts during the last year of REACTOR’s European Regional Development Funding.

Participants only have until September 2019 to benefit from the project’s business mentoring, support networks, match-funded grants, practical workshops, and access to its Cambridge Incubator Space – so if you have not yet been in contact with the REACTOR team or have not signed up to the Big Gamification Challenge, now is the time to do so, please get in touch with one of our team members.