New Product Success for Innovative Welsh Company

Currently engaged in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Cardiff Metropolitan University, family-run Zest 4 Leisure, part of the P&A Group*, recently won the award for the Best Overall New Product at major garden trade event, Glee 2020, as well as winning three best in category prizes.

Winning the Garden Leisure & Entertaining category, the Burghley Arbour is a new design from Luke Roberts, KTP Associate, and the Zest 4 Leisure New Product Development Innovation team. The KTP with Cardiff Metropolitan University – co-funded by Welsh Government and Innovate UK – is introducing UCD (User Centered Design) and DFMA (Design for Manufacture and Assembly) principles to the new product development process at Zest 4 Leisure. 

Commenting on Zest 4 Leisure’s success, Steve Morgan, Managing Director, said, “Working in collaboration with Cardiff Metropolitan University on the KTP has introduced a more structured approach to new product development at Zest.  It has embedded advanced design practices into the business, and is enabling a greater understanding of market trends and end-user needs, whilst generating a focus on designing for  ease of manufacture and assembly. Product design at Zest has been successful to date, but the support from the KTP has enabled us to do this on a more consistent, innovative basis, which is already producing some great results”.

Adding his thoughts on how KTP can fruitfully contribute to innovation impact, Gareth Barham, Principal Lecturer, Cardiff School of Art & Design, Cardiff Metropolitan University and one of the Academic Supervisors on this project, said “The KTP has provided the opportunity to introduce cutting-edge design methods and strategic marketing into operational procedures at P&A. In return, we have been able to observe and understand the challenges of implementing new ways of working in the company and this has given us insights into how companies adapt to change. The awards received for the three new products demonstrate how the adoption of new methods can lead to commercial success”.

This project was co-funded by Innovate UK and Welsh Government which recently announced an increase in its funding contributions to Welsh SMEs engaging in KTP to 75%. SME businesses are usually expected to contribute 33% of the total project costs, but eligible businesses in Wales will now only have to contribute 25%. 

Kirsty Williams, the Welsh Government Education Minister, said: Our Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme is just one of the ways we are promoting collaboration between business and education.   

By supporting Welsh businesses to work with our universities and colleges, we will create opportunities to innovate and create new products, processes and services which will support the growth of the Welsh economy into the future.”

KTN is a key delivery partner of the KTP programme via its national network of expert Knowledge Transfer Advisers, one of whom is Mick Card, with responsibility for this project. He said “Business leaders tell us that KTPs are one of the most effective methods for embedding new insights, energy, capabilities, people and most importantly success into their business. P&A is no exception – the ability to work across departments, bring in a talented new team member, all supported by industry-leading experience and advice from global experts in their field is what makes KTP so worthwhile”.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships link companies with universities, research organisations or catapults to apply and embed knowledge and expertise to make innovation happen. 

Funding competitions for KTP are open throughout the year. 

Find out more about KTP on the dedicated KTP website or contact one of our 31 specialist Knowledge Transfer Advisers based throughout the UK. You can also discover more about the opportunities of working as a KTP Associate and see the latest vacancies here.


*The P&A Group of Companies, based in Flintshire, was established in 1985 as a manufacturer of timber pallets, packing cases and fence panels. It has since grown into a successful multi-divisional organisation selling timber products to the garden trade industry, pallets, manufacturing and installing eco classrooms for schools and includes the Woodworks Garden Centre and Café in Mold.


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