Flora Drainage: Consultancy, innovation & product development support
WHO ARE FLORA DRAINAGE?
Flora Drainage is a start-up business founded by Barry Julian in 2018. Having worked at a public utility organisation for 40+ years, Barry noticed a number of problems in the way in which drains were cleared and had many ideas of inventions to increase the efficiency of drain clearing, as well as improving the health and safety for employees tasked with clearing drains.
WHAT’S THE INNOVATION?
Existing industry tools require employees to bend over open drains or over stretch to reach awkward blockages, and in some cases it’s necessary for workers to enter the manhole chamber themselves – all of which carries health and safety risks for workers. Barry’s solution looks to reduce all of these risks and increase safety by inventing an extendable device which helps drain cleaners get to those harder to reach places.
WHY ARE THEY DOING IT?
Flora Drainage’s innovation not only improves the effectiveness of drain clearing, but increases efficiency and improves safety aspects on the job. It’s a no-brainer for utility organisations to equip their workers with this new extendable product.
WHAT BUSINESS SUPPORT HAVE THEY RECEIVED?
Flora Drainage were initially referred to ATI for innovation support by the Growth Hub. After which, Barry met with his Business Innovation Advisor who helped him develop his ideas, to get them out of his brain and down onto paper.
“We’ve made huge progress. My Business Innovation Advisor really understood the project and got to grips with the problem”, says Barry.
Working collaboratively with Barry, ATI undertook an exercise known as ‘design thinking’, which encourages clients to focus on the problem of the end user. Once completed, the next steps were to map the customer’s pain points and assess areas which require further research, identify any problems and solve any barriers to innovation.
“I’d totally recommend the service. I’m very pleased with the advisors and the Cornwall Innovation Centres” he adds.
WHAT HAVE THEY ACHIEVED SO FAR?
Working together with ATI’s Business Innovation Advisor and specialist consultants in design and manufacturing, Flora Drainage now have a product specification for the initial prototype design. Without which, Barry says he would be at “ground zero!” He has the following advice for any business thinking about working with the programme: “Certainly do it! I’ll bring them to speak to an advisor myself.”