Nottingham Spirk Blog

    Katherine Hill Ritchie at Healthcare Impact Investing Summit

    A 30 minute panel discussion moderated by Katherine Hill Ritchie and two sophisticated family offices executives.

    John Nottingham at Innovation Intersection

    John Nottingham discusses the need for innovation at MidTown Cleveland, Inc. and Cleveland Health-Tech Corridor’s Innovation Intersection series.

    NS Named to Fast Company's The 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators

    Nottingham Spirk is honored to join notable companies named to Fast Company's second annual Best Workplaces for Innovators list.

    Northeast Ohio playing sizable role in new disinfectant product

    Crain's Cleveland Business first published this article about Northeast Ohio's significant role in getting the Sterifre AURA disinfectant system to market.

    Remote Possibilities: XR could be the future of socially distanced collaboration

    Nottingham Spirk is always exploring new avenues for innovation, and XR and mixed-reality technologies offer intriguing possibilities for collaboration.

    NS Leverages Partnerships to Produce Face Shields for Hospitals

    Nottingham Spirk leveraged partnerships with nearby universities & manufacturers to mass-produce face shields to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19.

    Thaw the ‘frozen middle’ of leadership for creativity to flow

    To become more innovative, organizations need to encourage creative thinking and risk taking to thaw the "frozen middle" management.

    Open Innovation requires a mindset shift

    Open Innovation and crowd sourcing can result in innovative product development solutions, but it often requires a mindset shift in your organization.

    The 95% Commercialization Solution

    John Nottingham, Co-President, describes how our unique Vertical Innovation process has resulted in product commercialization more than 90% of the time.

    Biomimicry: The Future of Innovation

    The Greater Cleveland area has become a global leader in the practice of biomimicry. Read how Nottingham Spirk learns from nature to accelerate innovation.

    John Nottingham at TEDxAsburyPark

    Listen to John Nottingham's TEDxAsburyPark talk on "Getting to Wow" and learn more about Nottingham Spirk's track record of success.

    Innovation is an "Infinite Game"

    Smart companies understand that business competition is an "inifinite game" and the objective is to keep playing as long as possible.

    Empower Teams with Purpose

    To encourage creative, innovative thinking, we have learned to create small, multidisciplinary empowered teams for every project.

    3 Key Takeaways from Front End of Innovation's Brightest Minds

    Nottingham Spirk's business development team participated int he Front End of Innovation 2019, and returned with some key innovation takeaways.

    Five scenarios suggesting you need a new category strategy

    Nottingham Spirk's PathFinder white space analysis program can help companies identify a new category strategy for innovation and growth.

    TEDxAsburyPark Preview with John Nottingham on “Getting to Wow”

    Listen to John Nottingham’s interview on the podcast “Expert Open” with TEDx AsburyPark founder, Brian Smiga, in advance of his TEDxAsburyPark Talk.

    For true disruption, be “Gritty” in your approach

    Here's what Philiadelphia Flyer's mascot Gritty can teach everyone about ideating and launching disruptive products. Learn more.

    Don't stifle cognitive diversity in the workplace

    Learn why it's so important to champion cognitive diversity in the workplace from the innovation experts at Nottingham Spirk.


    Nottingham Spirk exhibited at CES for the first time in 2019, and we invited a few of our client-partners to show the world what we achieved together.

    Innovation Due Diligence: Looking Ahead, Not in the Rearview Mirror

    John Nottingham, Co-President at Nottingham Spirk, shares his thoughts on what companies must do to reach their innovation potential.

    The Power of Culture and Leadership: Boston's 2018 World Series Win

    We believe that empathy in leadership establishes a winning culture, and this approach is evident in Alex Cora, manager of the World Series champions.

    3 Tips for Perpetual Disruption and Increasing Innovation Success

    Bill Nottingham shares his thoughts on how to achieve "perpetual disruption" by increasing creativity to innovate over and over again.

    NS Biomedical Engineers: “It’s About Making People’s Lives Better”

    This month we are featuring our Biomedical Engineering Team and their thoughts about Nottingham Spirk's approach to medical device design.

    Seize the Moment Between Meetings, That's When Ideas Take Shape 

    We like GM's policy of no looking at smartphones on the way to a meeting. We find ideas often take shape in the moments between meetings.

    Technology Empowers Innovation

    Nottingham Spirk was honored to be selected as a feature episode in a video series on innovative companies for Intel Corporation.

    Take Risks & Rock! — What Innovators & Musicians Have in Common

    At Nottingham Spirk we take a creative approach to business. And we can learn about innovation and collaboration from musicians.

    A little empathy goes a long way–and trust goes even farther

    At Nottingham Spirk we understand that innovation requires risk, so our workplace culture cultivates empathy and trust to encourage creativity.

    The Business of Play: Bill Nottingham and Brent Bushnell

    Brent Bushnell recently joined Bill Nottingham for a discussion about the "business of play" on the Innovation Navigation podcast.

    Boundary Crossing with The Marvel Method

    We find's profile of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and the so-called Marvel Method an intriguing glimpse into the process of innovation.

    Musings: Where Do Ideas Come From? Part 3

    Bill Rabbitt, Engineering Project Manager, answers the question, "Where do ideas come from?" This is the third in a series.

    Nottingham Spirk Out and About

    At NS we encourage our associates to engage in industry, academia and in our community to gain stimulation and inspiration. Here are some recent examples.

    Get Out for a New Perspective

    Bill Nottingham has found that getting out of the office — for trade shows, conferences and other events — has been an important way to keep up with industry trends.

    CES 2018: A Viewpoint from NS

    Bill Nottingham made his annual visit to CES 2018, the Consumer Electronics Show. Here's his view of emerging technologies and consumer gadgets.

    Your Not-To-Do List: More phrases that stifle innovation

    Nottingham Spirk weighs in on seemingly innocent phrases we hear from partner-clients that dismiss new ideas and stifle their ability to innovate.

    Musings: Where Do Ideas Come From? Part 2

    Vikki Nowak, Nottingham Spirk's VP of Strategy, answers the question, "Where do ideas come from?" This article is the second in a series

    Lessons from Google's "Moonshot Factory"

    We use the Atlantic's recent article on Google X's secretive "moonshot factory" as an opportunity to comment on radical creativity.

    Biomimicry, the ancient, cutting-edge science

    Ariana Rupp, our Biomimicry Fellow, brings a cutting-edge scientific and multi-department approach to product design at Nottingham Spirk.

    Musings: Where Do Ideas Come From?

    We recently asked Nottingham Spirk associates, "Where do ideas come from?" This is the first in a series of articles exploring that topic.

    If I Knew Now What I'll Know Then: Data-First Innovation

    Data-First Innovation challenges companies to define the richest and most valuable data they would like to collect, then begin ideating.

    The Business of IoT: What's your hardware strategy?

    With the rush to develop connected products, we suggest companies first focus on their hardware strategy by asking themselves important questions.

    Close the Innovation Gap: Strategic Alignment vs. “random acts of innovation"

    A recent report from PwC gave us a fresh perspective on our own experience with client partners and how they often struggle with innovation.

    Disrupt Markets, Enhance Lives

    This article, first published in i3 Magazine, explores how disruptive technology that changes everything enhances lives, giving us everything we love.

    Let's Change the World

    In this Smart Business article, learn about some innovation strategies that resulted in some of Nottingham Spirk's "world's first innovations."

    Design is Collaborative & Relentless: A (360) Round Table Discussion

    In this roundtable discussion, the Nottingham Spirk design team give insights into the collaborative process of designing new products.

    SXSW: A “Mini-CES” in Austin

    NS visited SXSW 2017 and sat in on a discussion about how policy and innovation must work together to protect people, but not stifle creativity.

    Leadership By Design: Views from the Montgomery Summit

    NS participated in the annual Montgomery Summit, and came away with some fresh insights about leadership for innovation and design.

    Open Innovation: Insights Provide a Roadmap from Ideation to Innovation

    In this NS roundtable discussion, our in-house Insights Teams discusses how our Vertical Innovation process relies heavily on consumer insights.

    New Year: Resolve to Innovate More in 2017

    In the new year, companies can resolve to innovate, break old habits and be more productive. Here are our top suggestions to maximize innovation potential.

    Connected Mobility: CES 2017 was filled with moving experiences

    After attending CES 2017, our takeaway was the theme of "Connected Mobility" and the relationship between people and devices, and devices and other devices.

    MIT Sloan: Working Together Management

    Bill Nottingham attended an MIT Sloan workshop led by Senior Lecturer Douglas Ready, and picked up some new perspectives on assembling creative teams.

    The Back End of Innovation is Critical

    Trevor Jackson, our Manufacturing Program Director, finds opportunities for innovation during a product's commercialization and manufacturing process.

    Microinteractions in Packaging Design: Detail-Oriented Design Pays Off

    This informal roundtable discussion of packaging design innovation and trends revealed the importance of consumer “microinteractions.”

    Lessons Learned: Disruptive Product & Business Innovation Go Hand in Hand

    Learn how to overcome the obstacles in getting disruptive product innovation to market using business innovation.

    Location & Innovation: Cleveland a Top Center for Medical Innovation & Design

    Cleveland, Ohio is emerging as a top center of medical innovation, and business experts are working to brand the region as “the Medical Capital.”

    Innovation Perspectives: Designing for Seamless Care with Chronic Health Conditions

    Rebecca Blice shares her thinking on the emerging promise of the Internet of Things and next generation patient care for chronic health conditions.

    Top 5 Consumer Product Innovation Trends

    Nottingham Spirk looks at some recent trends in consumer product innovation and development that are likely to remain important in the foreseeable future.

    Disrupt yourself before someone else does

    Chief Executive Magazine reached out to Nottingham Spirk and client-partner Matco Tools for input about how to 'disrupt yourself' for growth.

    The Business of Play: Bill Nottingham and Brent Bushnell

    Brent Bushnell recently joined Bill Nottingham for a discussion about the "business of play" on the Innovation Navigation podcast.

    Troy-Bilt FLEX Wins Edison Awards Gold

    The Troy-Bilt FLEX was a 2016 Edison Awards Gold winner. FLEX is the result of a business innovation partnership with MTD Products.

    Virtual & Augmented Reality: The Real Potential through "Soft Science"

    Virtual & Augmented Reality really is coming. At NS, we've found success by finding applications for the tech that will be meaningful to users.

    SXSW Interactive: The Front End of Innovation

    Nottingham Spirk visited SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX to find the front end of innovation that might debut at some future CES.

    Innovation Insight: SmartMouth™ Mouthwash Delivery System

    Innovative design is truly customer-centric, as explained in this article about the Nottingham Spirk developed SmartMouth packaging and delivery system.

    Bloomberg Advantage: IoT Benefits Every Market

    Nottingham Spirk senior designer Bill Nottingham talks patents, Internet of Things and "consumerizing" healthcare on Bloomberg Advantage.

    Innovation Navigation: An Interview with John and Bill Nottingham

    John and Bill Nottingham were guests on Innovation Navigation, a SiriusXM radio show from the Wharton School of Business. Here are some highlights.

    What does customer service have to do with innovation? Everything.

    We are business innovation evangelists, but balance is necessary. No organization should let the pursuit of new ideas blind it to customer service.

    Creative Collisions: The spark of inspiration for Vertical Innovation™

    The spark of inspiration for Vertical Innovation™ can be what we call "creative collisions," because it hints at the messy nature of innovation.

    Innovation is not a thing we do on Thursday

    John and Bill Nottingham talk about business innovation ideas, creativity and inspiration at Cleveland's venerable City Club.

    2016 CES Highlights & Trends: Displays Transformed

    At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, we were most impressed with the stunning advances in screen technology.

    2016 Edison Awards: Three Client Collaborations Nominated

    Three products designed by product & business innovation firm Nottingham Spirk are in the running for the 2016 Edison Awards, which recognizes innovation.

    MTD Named A 2015 Lowes Innovation Partner of the Year

    Lowe's named MTD Products as a 2015 Innovation and Vendor Partner of the Year for the Troy-Bilt FLEX yard care system, developed with Nottingham Spirk.

    Millennials Are Changing Corporate Structure — for the Better

    This article describes how millennials in the workplace are changing corporate structure and management style.

    A Mammoth Undertaking

    Nottingham Spirk designed the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's logo, created in the early ‘70s with a calligraphy pen.

    Designing a $93M Medical Technology: A Behind the Scenes Look

    Nottingham Spirk and CardioInsight developed EC VUE Sensor Array vest, acquired by medical device company Medtronic earlier this year for over $100 million.

    Smart Business: Innovation Factory

    Business innovation needs to be constant and relentless, which is why Nottingham Spirk has created a complete innovation factory. Read more.

    Biomimicry is "Natural" Innovation

    Biomimicry isn’t itself a product but a process, drawing on natural organisms and processes in order to spark innovation. It’s an emerging field.

    Freedom and Responsibility Culture

    We addressed this troubling trend with a solution that matches our “freedom and responsibility” culture, by establishing a DPTO policy.

    The Relentless Pursuit of Information and "Insights"

    User Insights, the relentless pursuit of information, even when you think you have all the answers, guides everything we do.

    Innovation and Education: We need more "STEAM"

    Larry Quinlan, Deloitte’s CIO officer, argues in favor of “STEAM,” in which the A stands for the arts. “It’s not enough to be technologically brilliant,”

    Troy-Bilt FLEX: Modular Outdoor Power Equipment

    Troy-Bilt FLEX modular yard care system, a Lawn Mower, Snow Thrower, Leaf Blower and Power Washer are “attachments” that operate from the same Power Base.

    CardioInsight Technologies Acquired To Further Advance Heart Mapping Technology

    The ECVue system is the first non-invasive mapping system to provide simultaneous, 3-D, multi-chamber mapping and localization of cardiac arrhythmia.

    Learning To Innovate By "Making"

    When individuals engage in hands-on activities and learn about tools and technology, they not only ‘know’ but can also ‘do.’

    The "open office" trend is not a one-size-fits-all solution for innovation

    Pixar’s success was very much on our minds when we established our Innovation Center in a grand former church in 2005.

    Maintaining The Culture of Creativity

    Nottingham Spirk’s Vertical Innovation process relies on a flat management structure and a team-based approach to projects.

    Cub Cadet HAULER: Innovative Versatility

    Sides up, the Cub Cadet HAULER can hold 10 cubic feet of soil, mulch, stones, etc., weighing up to 800 pounds. Sides down, the hauler becomes a flatbed

    CWRU & Nottingham Spirk Partnership for Innovation

    University Partnership For Innovation: We don’t want to just watch, we want to work with students and faculty to help them reach the marketplace more quickly.

    Shattered Glass: The Value of a "Soft Launch"

    Soft Launch: Glass’ failure doesn’t ultimately stem from people perceiving it as uncool; it’s that Glass isn’t perceived as all that useful.

    Engineer Opportunities: Elsie's New Car

    Four students upgraded a little girl’s beloved motorized mini-car. Flynn McPherson explains how the students were able to engineer opportunities.

    2015 CES: Emerging Innovation

    At the 2015 CES Show, we were impressed with showcases from universities like CWRU, with 9 student startups, along with other smaller companies

    Hiring For Creativity

    When hiring for creativity, we don’t spend a lot of time talking about the applicant’s resume. We’re more interested in what drives them.

    Commentary - "Goodbye, TiVo?" via

    Commentary - "Goodbye, TiVo" Innovated at a pace unbefitting its role as a disruptor; it got weirdly complacent for company that was facing constant threat

    HALO Bassinest: Innovative Solution for Co-Sleeping

    The HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper is the only infant bassinet that moves to bring the baby closer to you.

    Forbes Reinventing America: Invest In The Midwest

    At the Forbes Reinventing America event John Nottingham spoke about partnerships to create disruptive innovations in healthcare.

    Innovation Brewing in Cleveland

    NBC News feature story on innovation brewing in Cleveland. John Nottingham & John Spirk discuss how the next 40 years are going to be unbelievable.

    BioInnovation Partnership

    Leaders of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) and Nottingham Spirk announced a strategic bioinnovation partnership

    Relentless Innovation in 2014: Commentary

    We believe that innovation must be simultaneously continuous and disruptive if a company wants to consistently grow,and we call this relentless innovation.

    Empowering Innovators Intel Film Series

    A film series called Empowering Innovators to explore the ways in which Intel technology plays a vital role in creative, cultural, and physical endeavors

    John Spirk: We Have to See the Invisible and do the Impossible

    John Spirk took the stage at the Reinventing America Summit, Forbes' inaugural event designed to bring together leaders of the next industrial revolution

    The Invention Machine

    The Invention Machine, as referred to by Dan Alexander in Forbes, was originally fired up by Nottingham and Spirk in a garage in 1972 in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Create a Culture of Innovation

    Nottingham & Spirk provide practical advice on how companies can foster a culture of innovation that engages employees and delivers compelling results.

    A New Years Greeting from Nottingham Spirk

    As we approach the New Year we are thankful for the many stakeholders who have made this a successful year for Nottingham Spirk

    Creating Ways To Make An Impact: 70-20-10 Rule

    Get more detail on how your business can follow the 70-20-10 rule.

    Keep Big Ideas From Eating Your Core Business

    John and Bill Nottingham of Nottingham Spirk discuss what companies need to do to create the next big ideas in this Tech Talk Podcast.

    DualSaw recognized on

    The DualSaw Reciprocating Saw is an example of a successful product collaboration between Infusion Brands and Nottingham Spirk.

    Spur Innovation, Go All In, powered by Investor's Business Daily, includes R&D innovation quotes from John Nottingham, co-president of Nottingham Spirk.

    Rug Doctor® Launches Portable Spot Cleaner

    Nottingham Spirk partnered with Rug Doctor to create an innovative portable spot cleaner with differentiated features and a ready-to-use design.

    Key to Success: Innovation

    Investing in innovation was key to success in order to keep their manufacturing operating at capacity.

    25 Most Innovative: Urgent Rx

    Urgent Rx is known for their fast-acting, over-the-counter, single-use, powder packs that treat common ailments such as headaches, allergies, and more.

    Sustainable Living Trends: LED Light Bulbs

    The shift of switching from traditional incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs (light-emitting diode) tends to be an expensive sustainable trend to the average consumer.

    Nottingham Spirk: The Church of the Game Changer

    Read why Steve Minter refers to Nottingham Spirk as "The Church of the Game Changer" in Industry Week.

    Exploradio Visits Nottingham Spirk

    Jeff St. Clair visits the Nottingham Spirk Innovation Center in the renovated Church of Christian Science as part of his on-going series Exploradio

    RainX Perfect Dose Car Wash Now Available

    Nottingham Spirk and ITW Global Brands collaborated and developed a 3-in-1 Perfect Dose Car Wash to clean, rinse, and wax your car with less mess and waste

    NorTech Innovation Award: Nottingham Spirk/CardioInsight

    The NorTech Innovation Awards recognizes companies in Northeast Ohio for their advanced innovations producing world-class technology.

    Lockitron - featured in Time Magazine

    Nottingham Spirk's Lockitron digital deadbolt solution simplifies your life by letting you leave your keys behind.

    Ninja Innovation by Gary Shapiro features Nottingham Spirk

    Consumer Electronics Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro released his new book Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Businesses, this year at the 2013 Inter

    NY Times Interview Uncovers Barriers to Innovation

    Ideating, creating, and implementing are three critical factors that go into a successful innovation. However, there are plenty of moments that might slow down or hinder the innovation process.

    PackH2O Receives Popular Science Award

    A water backpack, designed in collaboration with Greif, Inc., has been honored with a 2012 Best of What’s New Award from Popular Science magazine.

    Business Hall of Fame Inductions

    The Northeast Ohio Business Hall of Fame recognizes John Nottingham and John Spirk’s innovative work over the last 40 years.

    CEA Industry Forum Feature

    Bill Nottingham spoke at the annual CEA Industry Forum took place on October 2012 where he spoke about the NS vertical integration platform

    Innovation Leadership Keynote Address

    The third annual NineSigma Open Innovation Leadership Summit took place October 1-3 2012 in Philadelphia.

    Medical Device Partner Featured

    Nottingham Spirk medical device partner CardioInsight was featured on August 19, 2012 in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

    Innovation Awards for Scotts Snap System

    The spreader system was applauded for bearing standout graphics, encompassing colors, brand identity and clear communication of product intent.

    ViewRay MRI System Gets FDA Approval

    Drawing on our experience with medical systems development, we worked closely with ViewRay to enhance the patient and technician's use experience, from what the patient sees and feels, to the function

    Sales Growth Driven by Innovation

    Scotts credits their new Snap fertilizer system – developed by Nottingham Spirk – with helping to drive a 14% increase in consumer spreader purchases plus higher than anticipated fertilizer purchases.

    Walk of Fame Plaque Design

    Nottingham Spirk worked with the Rock Hall to create the ‘bronze-record’ plaque design and production of the first round of ‘records.’

    Bill Nottingham Carries on Inventive Spirit at Nottingham Spirk

    Bill Nottingham, 33, is a project manager for the firm's Innovation Center. He spoke with Cleveland Plain Dealer PDQ's Michael Heaton.

    Cleveland Arts Prize

    The oldest award of its kind in the United States, the Arts Prize is a testament to the standard of excellence and quality of artists in Northeast Ohio. This video celebrates the work of John Nottingh

    CamelBak Performance Bottle Makes It to Primetime

    In NBC's TV hit series, Parks & Recreation, Rob Lowe is featured using one of Nottingham Spirks' very own inventions, the CamelBak Performance™ Bottle.

    Toothbrushes in Need!

    We had discovered a way to make the benefits of mechanized brushing dental care accessible to the masses in the U.S. with the SpinBrush, the electric toothbrush. It would be fitting if we could take

    Lawn Care Innovation With Scotts

    Scotts Miracle-Gro sums up what a desirable innovation is: “When we make something easier and less time-consuming, we think we have a good innovation.”

    Open Innovation Partner

    Creating the world’s smallest aerosol would take time and resources away from other important initiatives for Unilever. Nottingham Spirk was hired and within a year, the world’s smallest aerosol was c

    Medical Device Innovations in Cleveland

    Nottingham Spirk has increased their medical device portfolio by 40%, with clients such as CardioInsight, a biomedical start-up developing a vest with sensing technology to assess heart health and the

    Open Innovation Summit

    At the recent Open Innovation Summit in Washington DC, featured speaker, John Nottingham shared best approaches for how companies can dramatically increase their competitive advantage with breakthroug

    NineSigma and Nottingham Spirk Partner

    NineSigma and Nottingham Spirk are partnering to provide an end-to-end solution to allow companies to take a product from idea to marketplace in 12–18 months.

    Freon Free Cooler Saves Energy

    After a client complained that sales of their regional juice products were lagging because of poor placement in the back coolers of retail stores, Nottingham-Spirk set about creating a new way to disp

    If Sustainability is the New Religion, Maybe it Belongs in Church

    Saving a beautiful old church and rehabbing it as a den of creativity, Nottingham and Spirk catalyzed community revitalization in a Cleveland neighborhood.

    Ideas Made Here

    John Nottingham and his partner, John Spirk, run Nottingham-Spirk, the most successful industrial-design firm you’ve probably never heard of.