Innovation studio
ATI News

The Only Fully Subsidised* Business Members Club in Cornwall

19 March 2019

March saw the first 2019 Cornwall Innovation Club gather to discuss ‘The Power of Market Research’ and undertake a little bit of market research of our own with our clients from the Cornish Seaweed Bath Company. The 8am breakfast got off to a great start, with coffee, bacon sandwiches and a buzz of networking activity in the room.

The club, run in partnership with the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, is the only membership in the duchy which can boast being fully subsidised, thanks to the ATI project and ERDF*. Mel Colton-Dyer, Chief Operation Officer at Cornwall Chamber, attended the event saying “In these ‘interesting times’ it is more important than ever for Cornish businesses to embrace change and innovation. That is why we are delighted to be partners with ATI for the Cornwall Innovation Club, and ask businesses to make the most of this incredible opportunity.”

Members settled down to the first knowledge sharing session with Robert Rush of PFA Research, who gave a witty insight into the world of getting to know your market. “How do you know you know?” asked Rush, as he challenged the attendees to answer to some fun Cornish polls.

True to the core of Cornwall Innovation Club, his talk focused on market research for innovation, in particular looking at proof of market and commercial viability for new products, services and processes. As we moved onto the more serious stuff, Rush highlighted the importance of “user design”, adding that it’s a “complex thing” where consumers needs and wants need to be aligned with design and feasibility.

There were also lots of tips and practical knowledge given to help any businesses thinking about conducting their own ‘DIY’ research. Effective market research is systematic and requires: Objectives, Evidence, Analysis and Action.

Dominant data collection includes quantitative (online surveys) and qualitative (in person focus groups), whereby Rush pointed out that if businesses are going to undertake online surveys, then you need to be aware that 14% or surveys are answered on mobile – “so keep it simple” he says.

Although market research does take time and resource, costs can be kept low and there’s lots of DIY research that business owners can be doing themselves, such as:

Desk Research:

  1. Study competitors’ web sites
  2. Search engines
  3. Industry research (
  4. Government sources (,
  5. Directories
  6. Just ‘investigate’

Quantitative Data & Surveys

  1. Do a “Surveymonkey” (& others!)
  2. Social media polls
  3. Customer satisfaction ratings
  4. Sales figures
  5. Just recording data!

Qualitative Research:

  1. Listening to customers
  2. Observations
  3. Blogging / bulletin boards
  4. Depth interviews
  5. Conversations
  6. Focus groups


To see PFA Research’s full deck of slides, click on the link: CIC Market Research Presentation.

Attendees were then introduced to the luxury skincare range from The Cornish Seaweed Bath Company and asked to evaluate their brand, packaging and test the products themselves. Conducting audience testing on behalf of our clients was an ATI first, but it really went down a treat. Jen Keywood, ATI Events and PR Officer, explains: “adding an interactive element to our event not only breaks the ice for a really productive networking session, but it also encourages our members to share ideas and sets the supportive tone that we wanted to establish at all future Cornwall Innovation Club events.”

The audience testing also proved productive for The Cornish Seaweed Bath Company, as Hannah, one of the founders details:

“The product testing was incredibly valuable for us, being able to receive honest feedback from other professionals about our existing brand and our new brand concept was invaluable.

The whole event was organised incredibly well and ATI’s Innovation Champion was amazing at constructing the questionnaire/survey. Despite the researcher’s background not being in skincare, she managed to totally ‘get’ what we were trying to achieve in discovering potential customers ‘hierarchy of needs’ when purchasing skincare.

We were incredibly well supported though the whole experience and I would highly recommend the Cornwall Innovation Club to other businesses.”

This was the first bi-monthly club event of 2019 and the next Cornwall Innovation Club is all set to take place on the 16th May, at the Headland Hotel. If you would like register as a member and receive invites to our exclusive networking breakfasts, please click here to subscribe to our list.

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