Since I made the transition from an intern at Scott & Fyfe to Ideation Business Manager a lot of people ask me what does an Ideation Manager do? To begin with the definition of Ideation is stated as:
“The formation of ideas or concepts”
This is exactly what my role is as the Ideation POD manager within Scott & Fyfe. When there is a new idea or concept I am involved its development from the earliest stage carrying out research, product development and further market research. Another part of my job is to look at next steps within our existing markets. For example, we recently launched new products within our
PFT POD's cured in place pipe (CIPP) range and in the Composite POD's Polymat range and I am now looking at what can come next. In order to carry out these tasks I utilise many of the skills that Scott & Fyfe learnt throughout their “Creating Cultures of Innovation” work with Glasgow School of Art including the Double Diamond, P.O.I.N.T and dotocracy tools.
I began my journey at Scott & Fyfe working as an intern whilst carrying out research for my dissertation. This was a requirement at the course I was doing at Saxion University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands; this course offers education focused specifically on technical textiles.
The knowledge that I took from my course is applied to my work on a daily basis in some way or another, varying from the learning of how different knitting patterns affect the product to understanding the properties of different polymers and the affect they have on the production process and final product. This education has helped me greatly.
One factor that I think is very important when working in an idea generation and product development role is the understanding of how new methods can be applied and their relevance to market areas and the business as a whole. A question that I need to ask is whether or not a new technology really adds value to the textile product or if a more conventional method is better. Another aspect that I must consider is the investment that it would require to produce. This is perhaps one area that significantly differs from my theoretical work in University, as now I have to consider the financial implications within a business. Not all new technologies require investment though; an example of this is that some new and performance enhancing nano coatings can be applied by conventional coating processes therefore adding no additional cost.
I believe that growth in technical textiles lies in finding new applications thereof. For example a few decades ago nobody thought of reinforcing concrete with textiles rather than metal bars, or replacing steel cables with textile fibres (e.g. Dyneema), which outperforms traditional steel.
Nowadays we find ourselves making boats, planes, trains and all sorts of construction materials with textile reinforcements. The major benefits being that textiles are flexible and much lighter than traditionally used materials and can have many other improved features. Textiles can be formed around the most difficult bends because of their conformability. Additionally textiles can be given almost any desired property such as conductivity and insulation properties. Given these beneficial aspects it will be interesting to find out what else can be done with textiles in future for areas where they are currently not being used yet and as Ideation Manager it is partly my job to find out.