About us

Edge Innovation was setup in 2015 to support innovation with and across public, private and third sectors, working with organisations of all sizes across different industries.

Our expertise lies in our ability to nurture environments which enable people and processes to realise innovation that provides value in an ever-changing world.


How we work

We take a design-led approach to our work, which to us means the following:

Principle #1
We seek, embrace & empower alternative perspectives

We will make many voices heard and gather from conflicting sources.

Our tool kit:

  • Ideation sessions
  • Human centred research
  • Cross discplinary & sectorial workshops
Principle #2
We build collaboration beyond boundaries

We will cross boundaries and share capabilities to get the best results.

Our tool kit:

  • Open innovation workshops
  • Co-design sessions
  • Challenge programmes implementation and facilitation
Principle #3
We nurture innovation capacity & capability

We will up-skill and embed the ways of working so the thinking doesn’t leave once the project ends.

Our tool kit:

  • 1:1 business support
  • Coaching
  • Innovation management (staff and managers)
  • Internal innovation facilitation
Principle #4
We seek to fully understand challenges first, before moving to solutions

We will understand the brief in detail before jumping into solution mode.

Our tool kit:

  • Framing workshops
  • Innovation diagnosis
  • Innovation for change
Principle #5
We make information and ideas tangible

We will bring information and ideas to life to share an understanding.

Our tool kit:

  • Impact evaluation study
  • Business Storytelling
Principle #6
We are curious, and put into practice, at pace, what we learn

Our tool kit:

  • Continuous prototyping
  • Ideation iteration to realisation

The team that make up edge

We are a team made from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and expertise. From design-led thinking to policies compliance we are linked through our intention of making a better future together.


Simon Green
Chief Executive

Simon has a background in corporate innovation, leading projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia for five years. He subsequently set up and ran technology businesses in healthcare and transport before moving into innovation support and access to finance, generating over £20m in funding for North East businesses over the past decade.

Having set up Edge Innovation in 2015, Simon subsequently span out the Innovation SuperNetwork (where he remains Chair) and Rural Design Centre (focused on design-led solutions for rural communities). Simon has a degree in chemistry from Sheffield University, an MBA from Durham University and the Certificate in Corporate Finance through the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.


Alex Tinning
Senior Design Associate

Alex is a design innovation specialist with international cross sector experience of managing the innovation process. Alex joins us from Graft, an innovation strategy consultancy, where she was responsible for supporting private sector clients in building innovation capabilty. Prior to this Alex was a Service Designer at NatWest where she helped develop design methods and mindsets to catalyse the early stages of the design process.

Prior to this, she was Design & Innovation Manager for Mars Chocolate covering the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region; responsible for facilitating the design process from insights to delivery. Alongside her work at Edge Innovation, Alex is working towards a Ph.D exploring design's role in mental health services.


Mélissa Bourseau
Design Associate

With a master's degree in multidisciplinary innovation from Northumbria University’s world class Design School, Melissa uses human-centered design principles to develop new concepts and turn them into implementable solutions. Her experience is in running design-led processes from initial discovery work through to delivery, having worked across a range of corporate, small business, public and academic projects.

This experience has included work within tightly regulated industries such as utilities and financial services, providing the skills to innovate in fields where compliance is important. Melissa’s particular strength is in creating and facilitating interactive design sessions, bringing together multiple perspectives to reach new but implementable solutions.


Harry Ridpath
Design Associate

Harry’s passion for hands on and practical applications of design led him to Northumbria University’s design ​school where his particular interest in front end innovation was ignited.

Taking advantage of the course's placement modules, Harry was able to work with Quorn Foods and Graft on a 6-month intensive design process which focused on packaging. As the first official in house designer at Quorn, Harry led the process from insights to first prototypes. This involved organising design-led research activities, communicating and visualising concepts and effectively managing stake-holders.

Post-graduation Harry further applied his research and visualisation skills to the private sector while working freelance for Graft before joining Edge as a Design Associate.


Susan Ross
Cluster Innovation Manager - Social Enterprise Lead

With over 20 years’ experience in voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in the Midlands and the North East and experience of leading complex multi-stakeholder partnerships for the public sector she a passion for community led regeneration and development, particularly in rural communities. She has an extensive knowledge of the VCSE sector and experience in the private, public sectors bringing a unique perspective to the team having supported small programmes to multi-million pound developments. With expertise in engagement and developing bespoke consultation techniques. Specialist knowledge in marketing, promotion, leveraging funding programmes and project management.

Susan holds a number of voluntary positions including as a director of a health and wellbeing Community Interest Company, co-founder of an electric vehicle car club and chair of a community association. She prides herself on placing people at the heart of open and challenge-lead innovation through the Tees Valley Business Challenge Programme.


The board

Alan Holmes
Chair

Alan has a successful track record as a businessman, having worked in a senior role with Formica before establishing, growing and selling the strategy consultancy Wood Holmes. He has supported SME innovation through a number of positions including as the first Chair of the Innovation SuperNetwork and as Chair of fast-growing cycling holiday business Saddle Skedaddle.

Whilst at North East Finance, he launched the Routes to Investment range of SME support activities and services. He has expertise in a range of markets including business to business, education, public sector, construction and engineering.


Estelle Blanks
Non-Executive Director

With over 20 years’ experience in economic development through regeneration and innovation in the North East of England, and working across the UK and Europe, Estelle has a thorough understanding of the national and local innovation eco-system.

She has attracted and led multi-million-pound high-profile programmes in the North East region aimed at supporting new and growing innovative companies. Estelle has in-depth practical knowledge of open-innovation and challenge-led innovation to help address organisational and societal challenges. An expert in access to innovation finance, she has also supported hundreds of companies on their fundraising journeys.


Our impact

Since 2015 our work has led to a number of spin-out organisations and we work closely as a family with these organisations. In particular, we developed and span out:


Innovation SuperNetwork, the innovation network for the North East of England, working with 60 partners and over 5,000 businesses to drive innovation in the region, for the benefit of the region.

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Rural Design Centre, working with rural communities, businesses, public authorities and researchers to co-design solutions to complex rural challenges.

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Working alongside these family organisations and with our wider, extensive networks of partners across the UK ensures we remain up to date with the latest innovation thinking and can capture practical learning from delivering innovation projects across the country and across industries.


Previous projects

A selection of projects and challenges we've been involved in.