3 Points for Innovation // Gripple Workshop

During week 3, Studio 4 visited Gripple to have a guided tour of the factory, and then to participate in a workshop with students from The University of Sheffield.

Gripple are well known for their culture of innovation. They have a target to deliver 25% of turnover each year from products which are less than four years old, and to enable this they employ a team of 10 employees who work specifically in Ideas and Innovation. This team constantly search for new ways of doing things, and they also work collaboratively with their customers.

From the workshop, we came up with three main points which we believe assist innovation:

1 // Experimentation (open source)

Gripple generate approximately £5m profit from a lighting suspension kit which developed from an outsider asking the question, “What would happen if you were to rotate one of your tensioning-clip products by 90 degrees?”

Learning is about experimentation, and the constant connection between cause and outcome. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I have merely found a thousand ways that won’t work.”

2 // Inside Outside Factory

This point relates to our project theme: Design as a Distributed Agency.

There are several Agents involved and different outside influences impacting on the design processes which take place within Gripple. A manufacturing company has to work alongside their clients, as well as alongside several suppliers. Materials and products available from Suppliers, trends in the media, and Client budget are amongst a few of the external influences which might affect a design.

3 // Good Energy

Gripple believe it is important to encourage the behaviours which go with innovation, and not just the outcomes i.e. creativity. “If you only recognize big outcomes, then people will only make the effort when they feel they are likely to achieve a big outcome. If we encourage the right behaviours, we will see more of those behaviours, which in turn generates to the outcomes desired.” Gripple, 2016.

Gripple encourage a happy and creative working environment in many ways. They display art work in all of their spaces, even on the shop floor. And of course, the company is employee owned. This means that the workforce are more engaged, more fulfilled and less stressed, which results in higher productivity and greater levels of innovation.


(I will upload the diagram produced from the workshop once the scan becomes available)


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