Embedding Design-Led Innovation Processes in a Multinational Manufacturing Organisation

Timeframe: 2014 – 2018
Funder: Innovate UK and Parker Hannifin

For over 50 years, Parker GSFE have remained instrumental in the development of filtration technology, setting the benchmarks for energy efficiency and shaping several of the international standards. However, new price-based challengers were threatening their market-lead position, and the company knew it needed to find new sources of product innovation and distinctiveness. The research team worked closely with Parker GSFE’s management team to define the new knowledge and methods they would need to create a design-led approach to innovation in the business, combining insights from Design Thinking, Industrial Design and Strategic Marketing. The research focused on forming, piloting and embedding design-driven approaches to innovation, beginning by focusing on understanding real customer needs. Through several years of partnership, this approach was embedded in the business, initially in the UK and Europe, before the processes defined were cascaded into other divisions (principally in the US). New product ranges accrued, generating significant commercial returns, driving up UK Exports and leading to the organisation’s first Red Dot international design award in 2018.