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Cambridge Design Partnership was established in 1996 by three engineers. One of the founding partners, Mike Cane, had a vision to create a company that took a user centred approach to technology development and design, helping clients launch better, more successful products.

Headquartered in Cambridge, one of the world’s leading innovation hubs that recently attracted research and technology powerhouses including Astra Zeneca, Cambridge Design Partnership boasts a state-of the-art R&D campus complete with laboratories, consumer research facilities, workshops and a 3D printing suite.

Ben Strutt, the company’s head of design, joined Cambridge Design Partnership in 2010. The five years since have seen design and front end innovation become an increasingly important part of the business alongside mainstream product engineering. “My original motivation was to deliver an unrivalled combined design and technical R&D offer,” he says. “Full integration of industrial design puts the emphasis on humancentred technology, and now, our front end innovation service is being used by clients globally to increase in-market success.”

2015 proved another exciting year for Cambridge Design Partnership in terms of continued team growth with new staff expertise ranging from a former Formula 1 aerodynamics expert to a 3D brand innovation specialist. It has also published a new process called Potential Realised which is a consolidation of their product development process bringing together
learning from many years of consulting in both consumer and regulated markets. It is a proposition dedicated to providing maximal potential and optimal realisation and consists of five core product development phases.

The Potential Realised process begins with Phase 0: Opportunity Definition, which focuses on building a comprehensive evidence base for the, initially solution-independent, innovation opportunity. The Front End team travel all over the world and use a range of leading techniques to formulate and prioritise strategic direction. Working with clients from the earliest days of a new initiative they are often involved in developing the right brief to inspire breakthrough opportunities.

Armed with extensive qualitative and quantitative market, technology and strategic evidence, Phase 1: Concept Creation,
flows naturally, and provides the ideal platform for holistic creativity well beyond the obvious solutions. The result is an optimised product concept that will deliver clients commercial expectations.

Phase 2: Concept Realisation, Phase 3: Product Realisation, and Phase 4: Manufacturing Realisation, provide a progressive and systematic framework for efficiently and smoothly transitioning new solutions into client dedicated, or outsourced and qualified manufacturing facilities.

“We have always operated with process rigour,” adds Mike Cane, founder. “It’s a necessary part of successful innovation, and this year we have been pleased to document and share our experience of how to fuse process best-practice with our culture to maximise the value of our client’s investment in product innovation. Potential Realised is being welcomed by customers and viewed as key tool to optimise their innovation pipelines as well as getting the best out of individual projects.”

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