24 Jan 2024

Partner Spotlight – January: Smallfry

Jo Rudzki
Partner Relationship Manager



In the spotlight this month is the team at Smallfry, an industrial design consultancy with over 50 years’ of expertise specialising in turning good ideas into great product design.

In today’s fast-paced business world, innovation is the key to success. That’s why many companies are seeking partnerships and collaborations to foster creativity and bring fresh ideas to the table. One such partnership is between Smallfry, one of the UK’s leading design consultancies, and TBAT, together they have helped numerous companies achieve breakthrough innovations and drive growth.


Smallfry are based in the heart of West Midlands with over 50 years’ experience offering design, research, strategy, and engineering services across the globe. Smallfry deliver market-leading products and services across the consumer, industrial, FMCG and medical sectors, from cocktail shakers to robotic surgical devices, vacuums, dialysis machines and tractors. Find out more.

What distinguishes Smallfry from its competitors is the team’s dedication to people’s needs, desires, and drivers. Their sophisticated research methods uncover insights from consumers to channel customers, using them to guide and validate development decisions to ensure stakeholder satisfaction. However these insights would be worthless without proper execution; the Smallfry team are equipped with the expertise to turn them into new product or services, from initial ideation and concept refinement through to prototyping and manufacture.

If you have ever heard Smallfry’s CEO, Steve May-Russell, speak you will understand why he has been invited to represent UKTI on numerous occasions and addressed the UN in Geneva by special invitation. He was also elected chair of the British Industrial Design Association and won the prestigious IOD director of the year award in 2015.

Innovation helps companies stay ahead of the curve, anticipate and meet customer needs, and keep pace with changing technologies and trends. But how can companies innovate successfully?

The team at Smallfry were recently tasked with helping heritage brand Hoover to reinvigorate the brand, following years of losing out to competitors and having their market share eroded, their strategy and insights resulted in a consumer rated 5-star vacuum. Some of the reasons why Hoover felt they were the perfect partner for innovation were:


  • Proven Track Record
    Smallfry has been in the design thinking and innovation business for over 50 years. Over this time, they have worked with a diverse range of clients across multiple sectors, from helping clients like Adidas, the NHS, and Boots to explore, define and exploit market opportunities, to pioneering the ‘Granagotchi’ an assisted living home monitoring system taken up by the Procter & Gamble FutureWorks team in from Cincinnati who commissioned them to develop alternative business models for its commercialisation.
  • Wealth of Expertise
    From strategy and explorative research through to design and engineering Smallfry house a multidisciplinary team of experts with a deep understanding of design thinking and innovation. They apply design thinking to a broad range of challenges, allowing them to deliver high-quality services and innovative solutions that are tailored to specific client needs.
  • People First Approach
    Smallfry’s methodology prioritises consumer insights throughout the entire development process. They believe in looking beyond the user’s needs to understand the underlying motivations, behaviours, and emotions that drive their choices. This leads to successful products, services, and business strategies that resonate with customers and users.
  • Collaborative Solutions
    Smallfry work closely with clients to understand their needs and concerns, and involve stakeholders in the design thinking process, from ideation to prototyping, and testing. This collaborative approach ensures that all stakeholders are invested in the innovation process and that solutions are practical, feasible, and sustainable.
  • Competitive Advantage
    By using design thinking to innovate products, services, and business strategies, Smallfry can anticipate and meet customers’ needs before your competitor, naturally resulting in increased market share, customer loyalty, and revenue growth.

Great design is essential for all businesses. When done well it can transform a brand, it can help attract and engage customers, build trust, improve the user experience, increase brand recognition, and ultimately, increase sales. If you want to create a successful company, investing in great design is a must it can transform a brand. However, great design often comes at a high cost, which can be a significant challenge for small and medium-sized businesses.

Working together, Smallfry and TBAT have been minimising some of the barriers to innovation.

Partners and Pastries

Smallfry will be hosting our summer Partners and pastries, at their offices in Wolston, Coventry, on Wednesday 12th June 2024, from 8:00am – 10:00am.

Join us for:

  • Breakfast Refreshments
  • A Short Overview of Smallfry Industrial Design by Managing Director Steve May-Russell
  • Networking Opportunities
  • 5 x 90 second Partner Pitches

Registration is essential, book your place now

To learn more about Smallfry’s innovation expertise, get in touch:

W: smallfry.com
E: kelly@smallfry.com

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