The Innovate Story
We spent the last 20 years getting better at helping inventors and startups to develop product ideas on tight budgets.
Find out how we went from one inventor’s mission to make it easier for individuals to develop their ideas, to an award-winning design studio exporting British design services to inventors around the world.
Meet the team
Alastair founded Innovate in 2001 and spent the next 20 years growing Innovate to become the place to develop new product ideas. He is a founding member of the California Invention Centre, a member of Design Innovation Plastics Student Awards Organising Committee, a fellow of Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce and was a co-presenter of BBC Knowledge ‘Science Fix’ show.
In 2021 Alastair became Chairman and now uses his extensive business knowledge to develop Innovate’s business support services.
Co-MD, Head of Operations
Barbara Bouffard is Co-Managing Director at Innovate Design, a company that she initially founded 20 years ago with her husband Alastair to support inventors in bringing their ideas to commercial reality. Educated at Business School in Bordeaux, Barbara recently graduated with an MBA with distinction from the University of Bath.
In her previous life, before co-founding Innovate Design, Barbara was a marine insurance broker with Lambert Heath in the City of London. After beginning a family and moving to the southwest, alongside her business development work at Innovate Design, she was the owner-manager of the 23-bedroom Guest House for ten years.
Barbara has always been a working mother. “My life has very much been a balancing act” she says, and particularly loves supporting our client “mumentrepreneurs” and entrepreneurial women who show inventive flair. “When I was working in the City of London, I was always led to believe that to be successful as a woman you had to show more masculine qualities, and work-life balance definitely didn’t exist. Now, I want all of our clients – and particularly women – to know that they don’t need to sacrifice the parts of the life that are important to them to create new ideas and turn them into successful businesses.’
As Co-Managing Director, Barbara oversees operations and licensing processes at Innovate.
Co-MD, Head of Design
James manages Innovate’s design process and oversees the development of client projects to make sure every product is developed for the best chance of commercial success. He is also an Associate Lecturer at The Univerity of Warwick where he helped to create the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Masters course.
James has over 15 years of experience in developing commercial products including helping to develop award-winning smart lighting products for UK startup Halcyon and building early prototypes for Richard Browning’s jet suit project “Gravity Industries”.
Your idea development guides
Our knowledgeable IC team help our clients navigate the idea development process. Development can feel complicated but our team are on hand with useful information and support throughout the process.
Product development experts
Our award-winning team of UK-based designers includes specialists in product design, electronics, engineering, app development, fashion, packaging, branding and more. Our broad selection of talented designers and state-of-the-art facilities enable us to do more in-house and turn great ideas into incredible products.
Our research team covers intellectual property, customer, market and business research. Overseen by a UK patent attorney and with subscriptions to commercial databases, the team can conduct thorough research which can inform the direction of your design and help you avoid wasting money.