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Adapt, adopt and improve - Horizontal Innovation in action

Adapt, adopt and improve - Horizontal Innovation in action

High Value Manufacturing Catapult

3 min read Partner content

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVM) invites SME's to submit entries in the Horizontal Innovation Competition and invites MPs to attend HVM Summer reception on 21st June in parliament.

Taking existing successful ideas and applications from one environment or sector and adapting them for use in a different situation is one of the most effective ways of implementing innovative solutions. This process - also know as Horizontal Innovation - shows some specific benefits. Adapting a promising idea that was already tried and tested elsewhere, often requires significantly less time and money than developing something from scratch. Also, the fact that something has been proven to work elsewhere often means there is performance data available which improve chances of getting it right the first time. 

Horizontal Innovation is an ideal and accessible way to innovate for SMEs and other who might otherwise be deterred by the cost and the inherent risk that any type of innovation carries.

At the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, taking lessons from one sector and applying them in other sectors, is a commonly accepted way of working. Examples range from taking aerospace composite materials and applying them to car applications, introducing the use of VR technology into the world of building design and construction, and applying 3D printing methods to the manufacture of orthopaedic implants.

To encourage SMEs to engage in this type of innovation, and to help find solutions to current pressing sectoral and societal challenges, the HVM Catapult and the Institution for Engineering and Technology (IET) have joined forces in the Horizontal Innovation campaign.

A small-scale pilot programme last year undertaken by IET and the HVM Catapult's Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), focussed on healthcare challenges. The winning proposal worked with MTC engineers to adapt the dispensing nozzles commonly used in squeezable mayonnaise bottles, allowing them to be used in hospital catheters. Prototype testing shows that the new one-way valve could dramatically reduce the risk of infections, thus saving thousands of lives and millions of NHS funds.

This latest extended Horizontal Innovation Competition invites SMEs to submit their horizontal innovation proposals around seven specific challenges in the areas of:

  1. Agritech
  2. Construction
  3. Energy
  4. Food and Drink
  5. Healthcare
  6. Nuclear
  7. Transport

The application process for the competition is a simple on-line form which needs to be submitted before COP 31 July. Winners will be announced in October, and they will be offered up to £50,000 worth of engineering support from one or more HVM Catapult centres between October and the end of March.

For more information: visit

The HVM Catapult are holding their Summer reception on 21 June from 4pm-6pm in the Terrace Pavillion at the House of Commons. MPs and other invited delegates will receive a copy of the HVM Catapult Annual Review for 2016-17, and they will have the opportunity to view a range of technology exhibits and speak to apprentices and business working with the Catapult. The Secretary of State for Business, the Environment and the Industrial Strategy Greg Clark has agreed to speak the HVM Catapult Summer reception.

To find out more about the HVM Catapult, visit

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