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Digital innovation at WMG in the hands of leading academic and entrepreneur

Professor Irene Ng  WMGIt has been announced today, Tuesday 18 September, that a leading marketing academic and entrepreneur, Professor Irene Ng, has been appointed as Director of the International Institute for Product and Service Innovation (IIPSI). IIPSI is the newest building for WMG at the University of Warwick and is funded by the University of Warwick and the European Regional Development Fund. IIPSI will translate WMG’s innovation into commercial outcomes within small businesses. This digital innovation space will enable businesses to access the very latest cutting edge product and service design technology, leading to the creation and testing of market leading products and services.

Demonstrating three of WMG’s research areas - Digital Innovation, Polymer Innovation and Experience Led Innovation - IIPSI is the new destination for companies looking to innovate and compete in the digital economy.

To ensure the Institute has a sustainable future, Professor Ng has been appointed as Director. Professor Ng joined WMG in 2011 and has an entrepreneurial and academic pedigree that fits with the strategic vision for IIPSI. Professor Ng was an entrepreneur for 16 years as CEO of SA Tours (one of the largest tour operators in Southeast Asia, based in Malaysia, Singapore and China) and as the founder of Empress Cruise Lines, a company with an annual turnover of USD250m which she sold in 1996. Her change of career to become an academic in 1997 has led to global recognition for her work in value-based pricing and service systems with 22 journal articles, two books and prestigious appointments such as the ESRC/AIM Services Fellow in 2008 and ESRC/NIHR Fellow in 2009. Professor Ng leads the service systems research and digital innovation team at WMG and her new book ‘Value: Creating New Markets in the Digital Economy’ will be released in January 2013. She is also one of the four investigators of NEMODE (New Economic Models in the Digital Economy), a £1.5m initiative under the Research Councils UK (RCUK)’s Digital Economy (DE) Network+ programme. With a research grant portfolio of more than £7.9m as well as acting as an advisor on pricing and business models innovation to start-ups and SMEs, Professor Ng is well placed to drive and develop a future strategy that connects digital research and the need for business growth.

Joining Professor Ng’s team is Jonnie Turpie, appointed as Deputy Director of IIPSI. Jonnie has produced and directed public service drama, documentary and digital media over the last 25 years from the West Midlands. Acknowledged across the industry as a forward thinker, he has applied new video, technology and digital techniques to create innovative styles and approaches to award winning television and media. Over the past 20 years he has been a Director of Maverick Television, which he founded and has grown into one of the UK’s leading regional and national independent production companies. Maverick has embraced the digital economy over the last decade and is a genuine multiplatform company creating content and services for the large and small screen. He is a director of Creative England, Screen West Midlands, the children’s charity First Light Movies, a member of Birmingham Science City and a trustee of the Birmingham Ormiston Academy. Jonnie was an Advantage West Midlands board director, a member of The Innovation Technology Council and is an Honorary Fellow of Warwick University. Jonnie was awarded an MBE for services to international trade in the Queens 2010 New Years honours List.

Professor Ng said “Digitisation is changing the way we buy and use products and services. The future digital economy will be the convergence of connectivity, community, content and objects that would be more personal than ever before, creating markets for products and services that would serve individuals wherever they are, and on demand. This means we need much closer collaboration between manufacturing, computing, social science and business research. The relationship between research and practice has also to be closer, with winning firms having the abilities to develop their technologies quicker, creating new markets and constantly innovating their business models. IIPSI will be a showcase of cutting-edge interdisciplinary research that works alongside businesses in a creative and innovative knowledge eco-system can create real impact, from startups to established global corporations. Jonnie and I have ambitious plans for IIPSI to be a global exemplar as an innovation institute while making a difference locally.“

IIPSI is expected to create or safeguard more than 200 jobs and catalyse start-ups through a funded support programme for West Midlands SMEs that will run until the end of June 2015. During this three year project an Innovation Programme will be delivered by WMG’s SME team, headed by Dr Mark Swift, working with innovative West Midlands SMEs to exploit new ideas through an established knowledge exchange programme. The SME team has recently created more than 200 highly skilled jobs and 13 new start-up businesses on the successful digital lab programme. Companies will be able to access WMG’s academic experts who will be showcasing the depth of the research that can be achieved to embed new capabilities into their business, as well as supporting research bids.

IIPSI will also feature a range of demonstrators and examples of the three technology areas in practice. SMEs will be able to test the demonstrators and explore ways in which the technology can work for their specific business needs.

For further information please contact:

Lisa Barwick, WMG, University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721

Peter Dunn, email:
Head of Communications, Communications Office, University House, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 8UW, United Kingdom UK
Tel: 024 76 523708
Mobile 07767 655860
International +44 (0)24 76 523708; Mobile +44 7767 655860

PR162 18th September 2012