Design Foundations is aimed at helping businesses engage with customers, users, or wider stakeholders through early-stage, people and planet centred research to identify high-value innovation opportunities and generate more innovative products, services and business models.
Design Foundations invests in early-stage, people and planet centred design projects.
What is Design Foundations?
Design Foundations is aimed at helping businesses engage with customers, users or wider stakeholders through early-stage, people and planet centred design research to identify high-value innovation opportunities and generate more innovative products, services and business models.
There have been several previous rounds of Design Foundations as a stand-alone and part of other programmes.
The Innovate UK Business Connect Design team has been working with a wide range of companies across the UK that received funding through Design Foundations. Find out more about how design techniques helped them refine their ideas and create new opportunities to scale up and grow.
Why is Design important?
Design is critical to the success of the UK’s innovative business scene. Why commit spend to the development of technology without an understanding of the needs, motivations, attitudes or frustrations of the people that will use it? With this in mind, Innovate UK has opened up the Design Foundations grant funding programme to find the next generation of exciting new products, services and business models.
Evidence shows that businesses that use early-stage design, generate increased revenue, market share and exports as well as having a faster and more cost-effective innovation process. It will give you, senior members in the organisation and investors greater confidence in your ideas, streamline the development of those ideas and reduce cost and the likelihood of failure.
What can Design can do for you?
If you are a business that can benefit from an understanding of market demand to identify or validate your innovation opportunities and de-risk the development of ideas, Design Foundations is for you.
The benefits could include:
- Explore better ideas and identify the right opportunity.
- Communicate ideas and bring clarity.
- Get buy-in and act as a glue for collaboration.
- Iteratively develop concepts and manage risk.
- Rethink strategy and boost innovation capability.
On completing a Foundation project, your business is likely to be better positioned to address investors’ and customers’ needs for a particular new venture or proposition. This may be in relation to approaching private investors or refining a subsequent application to a specific Innovate UK, sector-related, competition.
Where can I find top quality design partners?
Any programme featuring Design Foundations may need high calibre designers to provide the relevant tools and approaches to collaborate with another business in assessing, exploring and moving them forward.
Speak to our Design Team if you would like advice or introducing to a credible design partner. Please detail your project and request to ensure we can find you the right connection.
Innovate UK innovation loans future economy: round 13
Opens: 11/01/2024 Closes: 06/03/2024
UK registered businesses can apply for loans for innovative projects with strong commercial potential to significantly improve the UK economy.
Innovate UK Smart grants: January 2024
Opens: 18/01/2024 Closes: 24/04/2024
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25m for game-changing R&D that can significantly impact the UK economy.
Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2024 to 2025 Round 1
Opens: 13/02/2024 Closes: 10/04/2024
UK registered academic institutions, RTOs or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £9 million to fund innovation projects with businesses or not for profits.
Related Events and Recordings
What is the most exciting opportunity for design?
This article features insights on exciting opportunities in design from designers and innovators working in the sector.
What does the future of design look like?
This article features insights on the future of design from designers and innovators working in the sector.
The journey to designing a world-first servitization technology
The Design Innovation Network team met with Advanced Services Group to discuss technological innovation and the importance of design for servitization.
Ignite Lab: Designing Circular Systems - Textiles
The first Ignite Lab is focused on designing circular systems – Textiles.