Professor Andrew Walters, Director of Research, explains how PDR is working with Clwstwr to support Wales’ creative industries.
In our recent #walkandtalk video, Andrew explores the project in depth...
Research and development: more often associated with large corporations, it’s actually a valuable business process with benefits for companies of every size. In the creative industries, where the need to consistently engage, educate and entertain demands innovation, adopting research and development practices could be vital to the sector’s prosperity.
PDR is a partner in Clwstwr, one of the nine Creative Clusters programmes funded by the UK government. Here in Wales, Clwstwr’s focus is on developing new innovations within the Creative Industries around screen (typically experiences for television, film and digital devices) and news.
How PDR is supporting Clwstwr
Working with the other Clwstwr partners, PDR is providing participating organisations with the tools they need to explore new products and services. Drawing on our 26 years of design innovation experience, we are helping Welsh creative companies to gain a stronger understanding of their markets and customers, supporting the exploration of innovative ideas.
Already, we have worked with a number of promising organisations who are looking at new and exciting ways to engage their audiences. Each project has allowed us to equip creative companies with simple and actionable R&D practices, with the intention of driving growth both for individual businesses and the wider creative sector.
We believe that every single participating organisation has benefited from the Clwstwr project. Each company has presented a unique and interesting concept. A couple of projects stand out for us.
The White Tent Company is a murder mystery events host. They wanted to develop an engaging AR and VR experience for their customers, using handheld devices. For a smaller company without previous R&D experience, the prospect of testing a totally new idea was a little daunting. By introducing them to a few simple and affordable techniques, PDR was soon able to help The White Tent Company conduct effective research.
To determine how this new service might work in practice, we encouraged the events company to storyboard their concept and find ways to discuss their ideas with prospective customers. We introduced to them ways of developing low cost prototypes, that helped their customers to envision new concepts and generate excitement amongst their audience. By going through this process, the company was able to understand which aspects of their idea needed further development. They also gained valuable insight into their customers’ interests and the kinds of experiences they would enjoy.
The Box is a project from Omidaze, a Welsh theatre company. They were keen to develop new educational tools to improve youth engagement in the democratic process. This project is an excellent example of how R&D can lead not only to economic benefits, but social benefits too.
Supported by PDR, Omidaze identified confusion amongst young people about their local political representatives; they weren’t sure what their representatives did, how they could provide support, or even how to contact them. The Box project facilitated in-depth discussions with young people, encouraging them to document their attempts to connect with local representatives. The findings revealed opportunities to simplify the process for young people, which in turn has informed the focus of the project going forward.
Every participating company has learned new methods which will help them to innovate, understand their market and grow their business. This will have long-lasting benefits both for their own organisations, and for the wider sector.
We relish the opportunity to work with the creative industries in Wales and to develop new methods of research geared towards them.
Valuable relationships have been nurtured across Wales’ creative industries thanks to the Clwstwr project. We want to maintain those relationships and see the investment in innovation continue. We look forward to working with universities, broadcasters and the wider creative community on projects that benefit the industry long after the five-year Clwstwr programme has come to an end.