US-based consultancy Method is teaming up with Central St Martins College of Art and Design to launch an accelerator programme to bring products, services and companies to market.
The team behind the Method Design Lab, which launches this week, says it aims to combine the private capital and expertise of Method with the creative ideas from CSM’s consultancy Central Saint Martins Design Consultancy.
San Francisco-based Jason Meil, principal of Method Strategy, who sits on the MDL management team, says, ’There were existing models in the US based around public-private partnerships, but they were very much in the technology sector – we hadn’t seen anything with this sort of approach.’
The MDL accelerator programme is based around a six-stage process, which aims to identify and commercialise projects.
The first stage involves identifying potential ideas from sources including the 4500 CSM students. These ideas are then subject to an online voting system, which allows experts from Method and CSM to identify which ones should be further explored.
Selected ideas are put through a due diligence process, with CSM looking at due diligence on the creative side, and Method examining the ideas from the business side. Yann Mathias, director of the CSM Design Laboratory, says, ’We are planning to complete the due diligence process in around five weeks.’
Once early feasibility has been examined and the idea has been selected to progress further, an agreement is reached with the owner of the intellectual property.
Mathias says, ’This will be treated very much on a case-by-case basis.’ Depending on the project different parties might take different amounts of equity.
The development stage that follows will involve the development of the idea up to prototype and alpha stage, while the final stage will be commercialisation, where the idea will be presented to potential market partners and investors to support commercialisation and development.
The MDL backers say the initiative is particularly appropriate at a time of public-spending cuts.
An MDL statement says, ’This is clearly the time for innovative partnerships to be established between industry leaders with a track record of bringing products and companies to market and academic institutions with a reputation for creative excellence.’
CSM’s Mathias says, ’It’s a new model and it answers so many different questions for us.’
Method’s Meil adds, ’Our goal is to get the best ideas out there. Method will be really heavily involved in the process as well, we won’t simply be providing funds or space.’