Reducing the risk: a partnership between academia and a small to medium enterprise

This paper describes a User-Centred Design approach to new product development applied through a partnership between the Department of Design and Technology and a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME), Eze Drive Limited. The partnership enabled the SME to gain access to advice and technology. This provided an opportunity for academic staff and students to apply theoretical models and practices within a live project. This case study highlights the need for such collaboration and demonstrates the potential benefits that can be gained by both parties. The case study illustrates the use of value analysis and quality functional matrix. It shows the way in which the product was reviewed and redesigned ready for pre-production prototyping within one week.