The Transform Initiative was a catalyst for New Zealand textile companies to develop innovative, export oriented products.
TRANSFORMING THE INDUSTRY
Textiles New Zealand (TNZ) was created in 2006 to champion research and stimulate development within the textiles sector, and to help companies grow their exports. The conundrum facing TNZ was that a large amount of research and development funding from the Ministry of Economic Development had not been allocated and the deadline was rapidly approaching. TNZ was looking for a way to attract the right applicants to fulfil what it had set out to do. Locus created the Transform Initiative to give the program structure and encourage companies in the textile industry to apply for funding.
A NEW WAY OF THINKING
The initiative focused on a validation program designed to accurately investigate and assess a product and the market context. We introduced a structured approach with four simple steps that would allocate the funds to progressive companies and interesting projects.
- Identification of a wide variety of technologies and companies.
- Selection of the best candidates.
- Validation of each selected project using our PDS process.
- Action the actual R&D project against plans developed during the PDS process and monitored by the Foundation of Research Science and Technology (FRST).
Critical to the program was the validation step using our ‘Product Development Specification’ (PDS) process. The PDS defined the development strategy for each individual project, along with the key market, design, production, environmental, business, and budget requirements, to ensure that the risks were clearly outlined and understood. This rigorous process also developed the project plan for the applicant, assessed the project’s feasibility, and accurately planned its implementation. Over a duration of three months, Locus and TNZ worked with each company to develop a robust PDS for each proposal. A newly established Stakeholder advisory board, made up of industry leaders, created the final layer to ensure the selection of top quality projects.
The subsequential action phase focused on implementing the PDS and commercialising new product within a 12-24 month timeframe.
“The Transform Initiative has been an excellent enabling catalyst for Levana Textiles, assisting with the development of a new global business stream for the company, and providing the impetus to drive a more innovative culture across the company.”
– VERNE ATMORE, MARKETING MANAGER, LEVANA TEXTILES
The initiative stimulated interest in research, science, and fabric technology with over 80 registrations, and 66 detailed proposals being received. From this, ten proposals were selected for further evaluation by an experienced external advisory panel that included industry leaders from Bendon, Ground Effect, Meat & Wool, AgResearch, and the FRST.
We then investigated the proposals further, alongside FRST and TNZ, and in the end selected six companies to proceeded forward into the validation phase.
The Companies/Projects Selected were:
- Levana Textiles – ‘Encircle’ – Non-Invasive compression technology.
- Jaedon Enterprises & Manukau Knitting Mills – Forester ‘Protex’ – Technical chainsaw protective wear.
- Zephyr Technology – ‘Bioharness’- Fabric sensing technology.
- Designer Textiles – ‘Modus’ – Sustainable merino shrink resistance.
- Maxwell Rodgers – ‘Lave’ – Machine washable bed throws.
- South Canterbury Textiles – ‘Repose’ – Easy care sleepwear.
Using the funding provided by FRST, the Transform Initiative provided up to a 75% contribution toward the developmental costs for these innovative and ‘transformational’ projects, and kick-started an intense R&D programme for each company.
A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR TEXTILES
After over 12 months of hard work, the Transform Initiative was successfully completed for Textiles New Zealand. The six chosen companies were awarded a total of $810,000 in research and development grants to be administered by FRST. Not only did they directly benefit from the grants they also ended up with a structured framework for future developments.
Several of the products that resulted from this initiative are available for sale today, including Encircle Compression Therapy and Forester Protex Chainsaw Trousers, the development of which was aided by Locus Research.
MEDIA & HIGHLIGHTS
Transform RFP brochure