Nottingham Spirk, think[box] partnership will inspire innovation, bring products to market

A partnership between product design innovation firm Nottingham Spirk and CWRU’s think[box] is designed to both inspire new inventions and bring existing ideas to fruition. CWRU announced late last month that Nottingham Spirk, known for creations like the Dirt Devil vacuum and the SpinBrush toothbrush, will work with Case faculty and students on the first floor of the new think[box] facility, scheduled to open in the fall.

The partnership was announced by John Nottingham and John Spirk, both Cleveland Institute of Art graduates, at Case’s Engineering Week banquet on February 26, during which they were the keynote speakers.

The idea is to build on Nottingham Spirk’s reputation for creating innovative products in the consumer and medical device fields by helping faculty members, and eventually students, fully develop their own ideas.

“We’re creating a partnership in innovation so that they can see what the faculty are doing and what might be applicable to their work,” explains Jeff Duerk, dean of the engineering school. “They’ll be brainstorming how to take them to the next level. Nottingham Spirk is the premier design and innovation company in the United States. They’re like Reese’s Cups – they bring things together in such an obvious way. This is about how to take high-quality concepts and bring them to market faster.”

Bill Nottingham calls think[box] the “nexus” between Case’s seven schools and CIA. “The greatest thing that can happen is we work together to promote more successes,” he says. “Hearing about think[box] and what they are doing to promote innovation, and hearing about the startups going on right down the hill from us, it’s really exciting.”

Nottingham sees the potential between the two organizations as unlimited. “There are going to be disruptive innovations that come out of think[box] based on the CWRU and Nottingham Spirk collaboration,” he says. “Our success is only as good as our relationships.”

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.