Innovation Tracker

As part of our response to the pandemic, IAWM have been tracking the various examples of innovation the West Midlands, many of which we have been sharing on our daily #IAWMhour on Twitter.

We’ve collated a list of some of these brilliant examples which we’ll be updating regularly. Has your business done something you’d like to share, or have you seen some inspiring examples elsewhere? Email: or contact us on @InnovationWM on Twitter and we’ll showcase your innovations!

Virtual antenatal classes support parents during lockdown

Soon-to-be parents in Birmingham are now taking part in virtual antenatal classes as part of social distancing.

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s have embraced technology to continue to support expectant mums and dads by offering the classes – which usually take place at Birmingham Women’s Hospital – online via video link.

Read more here.

Women’s Aid launches secure webchat service

Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, a specialist domestic abuse support charity, have launched a free anonymous, secure online webchat facility.

The charity has been receiving huge volumes of calls since lockdown measures were put in place in the UK, and say that domestic abuse is exacerbated by lockdown, and women and their children will suffer unless more is done to protect and support them. The charity provides specialist support for women and children through their helpline, drop in centre, and Housing Options Hub. The team also support women in legal proceedings, and healthcare settings.

Now their support has extended to an online support service, to enable women during lockdown and beyond, to be listened to.

Read more here.

My Internal World

My Internal World offers tools and strategies for emotional health developed by expert coaches. Their unique emotional wellbeing assessment will provide you with detailed personal insights, along with guidance and support in figuring out your next steps.

They have taken down the paywall for those who need support with their emotional health throughout the COVID-19 crisis, so you can use their website to help support your emotional health for free until 21st June.

Read more here.

Ricoch 3D Additive Manufacturing

After initially answering the call for PPE with their Ricoh 3D Additive Manufacturing department, tens of thousands of face shields are now coming off the line at Ricoh UK Products Ltd every week to protect the frontline healthcare workers. Thanks to organisational investment in an injection mould and a phenomenal cross-team effort to make this happen they have now diversified their operation to help address this crisis.

“We’ve now received feedback on how their PPE is helping NHS and Care Workers. This makes us feel very humble that we can play our part in tackling Covid-19. Thank you to our frontline workers – it’s our honour to help protect you.”

Read more here.

90% of West Midlands school nursing teams are using ChatHealthNHS messaging to support young people during COVID-19.

The #ChatHealthNHS service finder is now live! Young people can search for their local school nursing team and start a messaging conversation via Nationally, messages are up by 50%.

3D Printers helping create PPE

Many companies across the region and the country have stepped up to help create PPE.

Working with Warwickshire-based engineering firm 3P Innovation, Cadbury Mondelēz is re-purposing its 3D printing technology to help produce thousands of visors for medical personnel to protect them against COVID-19.

Other examples include 3D printing company Simple Design Works, who have printed surgical mask clips for various hospitals across the West Midlands. Check out their work here.

YouSmartThing: COVID-19 Essential Travel Assistant – Providing Essential Travel advice for Care Workers

Government Coronavirus travel advice covers second homes, recreation, and foreign travel ( Advice on regional domestic travel for essential workers or trips is scarce and sometimes contradictory. Essential workers, and volunteers in particular, are fearful and anxious about their travel options. Reserved parking areas are not being effectively communicated. Pop-up ‘Nightingale’ hospitals and new test-centres don’t feature on Google and as people are redeployed, untypical patterns of travel and reduced public transport timetables are not catered for. This current gap in travel management puts care-workers and volunteers at increased risk of catching and spreading Covid-19 rather than curtailing the pandemic.

The Covid-19 Essential Travel Assistant directly addresses this problem. Additionally, it provides a seamless extension to managing social distancing throughout the recovery phase and accelerates the opportunity for sustainable on-demand transport.

Read more here.

Nearly 40 Midlands companies have been making ventilator components

As widely reported, a consortium of UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors has come together to produce medical ventilators for ventilatorchallengeuk and help the NHS fight the Coronavirus.

The consortium has now delivered the first ventilators, meeting the demanding specifications for a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System that were developed by clinicians and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Read more here.

Midlands based company Just Checking among 18 #Techforce19 winners

NHSX and MHCLG have announced 18 digital solutions that have been awarded funding under the TechForce19 challenge. TechForce19 has awarded up to £25,000 each to innovation that offers a digital way to support vulnerable people who need to stay at home or need other help in the community for extended periods of time. The response to the challenge was extremely strong, with over 1,600 innovations submitted.

Just Checking supplies activity monitoring systems, used by local authorities to help with assessment of older people in their homes, for social care. Sensors pick up activities of daily living and display the data in a 24-hour chart. The company also has a second, more sophisticated activity monitoring system, to help manage the care and support of adults with learning disabilities.

See a full list of all the fantastic winners here.

Sandstone Yoga goes digital to combat the Covid-19 disruption

Sandstone Yoga & Pilates is a training franchise based in Aldridge, Walsall which currently has 6 studio spaces in 4 locations in the Midlands and the Cotswolds.

During the disruption caused by the Coronavirus outbreak, Sandstone Yoga have changed the way they operate to appeal to the new ‘normal’ consumers are facing of being at home for the foreseeable future. The company have started to stream their usual sessions live using the internet to connect with customers, offering a completely online service.

Alloy Wire International produce 5km of materials for NHS Nightingale  

Alloy Wire International are a world-leading manufacturer of precision drawn round wire, flat wire, profile wire, bars and wire rope in more than 60 different high-performance nickel alloys based in Brierley Hill, Dudley.

The company has been working hard to keep up with the increased demand for materials during COVID-19 and recently produced 5km of materials to be used in life-saving equipment within the NHS Nightingale Hospital in London.