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The Growth Department
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The Growth Department – How Industrial Design, Strategic Marketing and Engineering combine to drive Innovation at Parker Hannifin Corp.






Neil McPherson

Division Marketing Manager at Parker Hannifin



Matthew Lievesley

Reader and Business & Engagement Lead at Northumbria University’s School of Design



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Session Description:


Contemporary product manufacturers now compete in international markets where competition is intensified. Differences in manufacturing quality and technical performance, between the established market-leaders and new-entrants are diminishing. In this environment of hyper competition, where technical advantages are no longer as clear-cut, new sources of distinctiveness are necessary.

In this presentation we hear how Parker Hannifin, a US headquartered Fortune 500 manufacturing company adopted new innovation approaches. In doing so, they have moved from being driven mainly by R&D and technology-centric, to using Industrial Design and Strategic Marketing together to explore customer requirements and define new product opportunities – ahead of technical development.

The presenters describe the partnership between the business and one of the UK’s leading Design Schools at Northumbria University, which promoted knowledge exchange and established customer-centric innovation, as a source of insight for prioritizing a smaller portfolio of products with significantly higher-growth potential.

We will see how this has been the catalyst for culture-change in the UK division, better integration across European sites, and has become highly influencial across the whole Division in a relatively short period.





Neil McPherson
Over the past 20 years, Neil has worked in Industrial, Life Science and Food and Beverage markets successfully developing business for gas generation and compressed air treatment products.

He has experience in both sales and marketing disciplines - developing Strategic Key Accounts and developing OEM customers and in recent years, has focussed on strategic marketing, new product development and brand management.

During his career with Parker Hannifin (including domnick hunter), Neil has developed new business in Asia, EMEA and also North America, where he had full P&L responsibility for the gas generation business operating out of Charlotte, NC.

His current role is that of Platform Marketing Manager for Parker's compressed air and gas treatment business, which includes three manufacturing locations in Europe.


Matthew Lievesley

Alongside his Academic role in one of the UK’s leading Design Schools, Matthew has a track-record of forming open and effective business partnerships. He works with a range of research and innovation funders to help companies and public-sector organisations benefit from the Design School’s knowledge and expertise.

Trained in both design and business, Matthew manages research and design projects across disciplines, from digital-media through product and brand and into service design. This can involve leading user-centred design projects to define new product or service opportunities, growing an in-house 'Design Department' inside a business, or researching and evolving new design methods to suit a particular requirement.

Matthew is a passionate advocate of business improvement through design and brings this to his core teaching topics of Innovation and Enterprise.

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