Service
Business growth
Design associate
Andy Cripps

Gripple is a Sheffield-based, Queens Award-winning manufacturer of a wire joining and tensioning device – the Gripple – which connects wires and holds them tight.

Since launching the Gripple in 1988, the company has developed more than 100 new products and has an annual turnover of more than £39m, 85% of which comes from exports to more than 80 countries.

Challenge

Though already a successful design-led manufacturer, in 2007 Gripple’s management team was ambitious for further growth and eager to ensure design and new product development was managed as effectively as possible. Gripple looked for help at Design Council, where Design Associate Andy Cripps was assigned to work with them.

Cripps’ first step was to lead a workshop at which all aspects of the business were analysed. This highlighted a number of key issues. “We needed to think through how we did what we did more clearly and develop new frameworks to do it better,” said Gordon Macrae, Gripple’s Special Projects manager. There was room for improvement when it came to how the business managed design, too, and an opportunity to better harness innovation at all levels within the organisation.

What we did

Cripps began by helping the team identify key projects which could add value to the business. He also took them through a review of new product development which identified opportunities for streamlining. As a result, these changes were implemented, enabling the company to get a feel for whether a particular product idea was viable earlier in its development.

Design Council arranged for Gripple’s management team to visit the London headquarters of Innocent Drinks to garner ideas of how to design a more stimulating working environment. £40k was invested in upgrading Gripple’s Ideas and Innovation Centre to make this dedicated product design area more creatively inspiring. An internal reorganisation then aligned the centre more closely with the marketing department, enabling designers to better respond to customers’ needs.

Results

Inspired by the initial workshop, another project captured and encouraged innovative thinking within the company through a Dragon’s Den-inspired competition. An internal innovation prize called ‘Grinnovate’ was also introduced to inspire staff.

Innovation is at the heart of what we believe the business is about but it doesn’t just come from designers or marketers. Anyone can have a great idea, but to make the most of them you need a framework to bring people together.

Gordon Macrae, Special Projects Manager, Gripple

Today, Gripple’s products are coming to market faster and productivity has improved. Turnover has grown 2.5 times from £15m in 2007 to £39m in 2014.

Macrae said: “Our growth since 2007 has been extraordinary, averaging out at 10% a year. This can be put down to the strengthened focus we have on new product development. This is the most important impact of the design support we received from Design Council - we now have a 10-strong innovation team delivering 25% of our turnover every year from products less than four years old.”

Design support for business

We've supported hundreds of businesses to rebrand, innovate and grow. How can we help you?

Find out more

News & opinion

Uniti cars: From Sweden to Silverstone, the electric car revolution Swedish automotive start-up Uniti’s first eco-friendly city car will be built at a facility in Silverstone Park, home of the British Formula 1 Grand Prix. Swedish automotive start-up Uniti’s first eco-friendly city car will be built at a facility in Silverstone Park, home of British Formula 1.

Feature — 11/12/2018

London isn’t the only option – the growth of regional creative hubs Mike Rawlinson, Design Director and Founder of City ID, a city information and wayfinding design company based in Bristol, tells us how his organisation has benefited from being local and the introduction of their design award for students. Mike Rawlinson, Design Director and Founder of City ID, tells us how his organisation has benefited from being local

Feature — 11/12/2018

The Guardian: The benefits of design thinking Earlier this year The Guardian underwent a print and online redesign led by creative directors with the input of senior designers and editors. Here Alex Breuer, Executive Creative Director and Tara Herman, Executive Editor, Design tell us about how they feel design thinking benefited them. Alex Breuer, Executive Creative Director and Tara Herman, Executive Editor, Design tell us how design thinking has benefited The Guardian.

Feature — 21/11/2018

Innovating by design with UK Science Festivals Network How can design thinking help science festivals to improve their programme and reach underserved audiences? How can design thinking help science festivals to improve their programme and reach underserved audiences?

Feature — 19/11/2018

Resources