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Innovation leaders from technology and product design firm Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP) have just returned from a week-long trip to China where they were invited to share their expertise in using breakthrough technology to tackle real-life issues.

They were in Shanghai for the inauguration of the Shanghai International Energy Innovation Centre and to launch a report on open innovation in collaboration with non-profit organisation SHEnergy and Professor Alan Barrell, entrepreneur in residence at the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning in Cambridge.

“In China there is no shortage of advanced technology – however, in order to really impact their bottom line and improve people’s lives, it requires an application that is based on real needs and problems worth solving,” said Cesar Lastra, consumer insight and innovation leader at CDP. “The message they were able to take away from us – and that we hope to continue to develop with them – is that true innovation happens at the intersection of consumers, technology and business.

“We also addressed the somewhat misunderstood topic of intellectual property (IP) and the perceived copycat effect in China. Part of what we do at CDP when exploring commercial opportunities and innovation strategies is to conduct IP landscaping and technology road mapping up front – before going down the path of extensive product development. That way we can reassure our clients that we are co-developing viable, protectable technology and designs from initial prototype through to launch and beyond.”

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