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Business innovation

A KTP which has enabled a global energy and services company to deliver and support innovation.

Accelerating innovation

Students at a workshop in Cardiff Business School

Centrica is an international energy services and solutions business. Supported by around 7,500 engineers and technicians the large organisation is over 200 years old and wanted to refresh the way it works, its methodologies and approach to innovation.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Cardiff Business School and Centrica was formed to deliver an accelerated innovation process within the company.

Led by Dr Luigi M. De Luca, Professor of Marketing and Innovation and Associate Dean for Doctoral Studies at Cardiff Business School, the KTP brought together project management, technology marketing, new product development design, and redesign of team processes and organisational systems.

We are excited by this ongoing collaboration: we strongly believe that the integration of research-led expertise and on-field experience can provide both parties with great advantages when it comes to transferring and integrating knowledge around innovation and new product/service development. We are looking forward to nurture this collaboration with Cardiff University further.

Zahir Sumar, Head of Innovation (Accelerator Hub), Centrica

Collaboration, consulting and coaching

The 3-year project ended successfully in October 2021 after navigating two tumultuous years characterised by the pandemic and other shocks to the energy industry. The KTP delivered its key benefits through Centrica’s Accelerator Hub, a new innovation team tasked to develop and support innovation within Centrica. The core activities of the Accelerator Hub are collaboration, consulting and coaching.

With support from the KTP, the Accelerator Hub developed a repository of innovation and product development tools and techniques, which have been shared with hundreds of Centrica employees over the last two years – across the whole organisation – via their internal innovation academy, Feel, Empathise, Learn, Identify, Test, Evangelise (FLITE School).

The collaboration has attracted interest internationally and the case study will be featured in the forthcoming Handbook of New Product Development by the Product Development Management Association (PDMA).

The partnership between Cardiff Business School and Centrica will continue in the future with new objectives, including more collaborative research, a two-way exchange between Centrica and Cardiff’s MBA and Executive Education programmes, student placements and doctoral projects.