News Oct 2019

What it’s like working at Innovia within a particular discipline

A behind the scenes glimpse into what it's like working at Innovia...

MORRIS – Materials Scientist

I did a summer internship at Innovia before finishing my degree in Materials Science at Oxford University. I have always been interested in the boundaries where different disciplines meet and overlap. I was looking for a role that allowed me to continue exploring the interdisciplinary nature of science — Innovia was a great fit. Holistic innovation is at the heart of Innovia’s values. I love the work I do here. I have worked on creating novel textures in food products, explored potential alloys for biomedical devices, built a strategic roadmap to develop manufacturing processes for a healthier snack and envisaged the future of research laboratories. I find applying my knowledge in phase transformations and mechanical working processes to a wide range of industries very fulfilling.

Beyond the work I do at innovia, I came back for the people. I truly enjoy spending time with the people at Innovia both in and outside of work. Conversations during coffee is often as fascinating as those in a creative session. I look forward to the lunch conversations no less than the free lunch. Innovia’s commitment to work-life balance helped maintain a vibrant culture and allowed me to develop amazing friendships with many colleagues.

Guen – Veterinary surgeon

I’m a veterinary surgeon with a degree in Pharmacology. Before I came to Innovia, I spent years in companion animal veterinary medicine, teaching at a vet school, and working with laboratory animals. When I talk with our clients, they are often surprised that I’m a vet, but they don’t realise how transferrable my skills are. Not only do I have a very broad training in the biology of health and disease, but also I’m a trained consultant. There is a reason that we call a vet’s room a ‘consulting room’. The consultation process is the same, whether a client wants my advice on their dog or their innovation problem.

I love what I do. I enjoy applying skills and knowledge that I gained in my degree and in my previous jobs to completely unforeseen challenges. I relish the variety of work that I get involved in – about half is medical, and usually none is directly veterinary. I like to think from first principles – this helps when I have to think on my feet, and it helps me to operate on and manage projects in many different sectors. I also enjoy selling innovation work – the sales process is shorter than a project and more similar to the veterinary work in which I started!

Callum – Physicist

As a physicist finishing a PhD in Quantum Information, I decided that the long-term perspective of academia wasn’t for me. Instead I wanted to pursue a career where I could have a noticeable impact more immediately. At Innovia, I have the opportunity to apply my analytical mindset and technical knowledge in a range of industries. I have been surprised by how physics can be used to quickly determine whether a new idea could be practical. For example, I’ve used the heat diffusion equation to help innovate in apparel, food, medical devices, cosmetics, shaving, food storage and pillows!

Beyond the projects, Innovia is made special by the people. From day one, everyone has provided the support that I needed to develop in a new career. There are also lots of social opportunities, from summer frisbee to after-work pub trips, which was particularly helpful when settling into a new city. Finally, the range of disciplines at Innovia means I’m always learning new things. I love helping to combine insights from different disciplines to create concepts that none of us could have produced individually.


I joined Innovia after spending a couple of years in strategy consulting. I realised that, while I enjoyed the business aspects and variety, I missed science. Innovia provided the ideal opportunity to use both my business and strategy skills and my technical background, thinking about how companies should use their resources to support current business and future growth.

I’ve now been here nearly 10 years, which is far longer than I would have expected if you’d asked me when I started. I’ve worked on next generation carbon capture technologies, thought really hard about surgical imaging and surgeon behaviour and helped make many kinds of products and packaging more cost effective and more sustainable. Part of what makes this job so fascinating is dealing with technical uncertainty – how do you make long-term decisions when faced with changing technology, regulation and consumers, and yet keep what makes your business great?

I’ve stayed because of these interesting problems, and the chance to have insight into, and influence with, world-class companies. I work with with a great group of people; Innovia supports my professional development, and we have a strong set of values that ensures the work we do is both good for our clients and the world. I’m still looking for a chance to properly apply my astrophysics PhD though…

hannah – product designer

Before Innovia Technology, I attended Nottingham Trent University and graduated with a degree in Product Design. I originally came to Innovia on a 6-month contract, but years later I’m still here!

A typical day at Innovia doesn’t really exist, and that is something I find really exciting about working here. One day I could be in the workshop creating prototypes, the next I could be illustrating new product concepts. I am also actively encouraged to develop new skills. Since being here I have developed new capabilities in animation and project management. For me, the best thing about design at Innovia is working holistically. Often different disciplines approach problems from different angles – this means we come up with unique solutions, grounded in technical understanding.

Finally, my favourite thing about working at Innovia is the people. Innovia is full of bright, enthusiastic, fun people, and this is what makes Innovia special. There are always social activities going on, whether it’s a casual trip to the pub, frisbee after work, or even organised theatre trips, there is something for everyone!

oscar – chemical engineer

I did an internship at Innovia during my Chem Eng degree. This was a great experience and I came straight back after finishing my Master’s. My day-to-day job is varied and interesting: I’ve thought about how factories will look in 2050; analysed existing plants to see what can be improved today; helped clients find sustainable alternatives to plastics; and forecasted the market for sustainable aviation into the far future. When I was studying, I never imagined that I’d be working on such a diverse and holistic set of problems.

I’m quite protective of my spare time, and Innovia supports employees to make sure we’re not working long hours. This means I have time for volunteering and creative hobbies outside work. Most Innovians are similar, which makes the culture lovely – everyone is supportive so you can develop quickly and learn new skills. I’d definitely recommend Innovia to anyone who is curious about new things and wants a good balance between work and personal life.

HARUKA – Life Scientist

I studied Natural sciences as I was always interested in the interface of different disciplines and struggled to pick a favourite (biochemistry, physiology, chemistry…) I didn’t like the idea of having to specialise further, whether that be a PhD or a job, and so I was thrilled when I came across Innovia.Here, not only do I get to continue being exposed to a wide range of challenges and disciplines, it has also helped bridge the gap between the science I was studying and challenges we come across in everyday real life. Over the 4.5 years at Innovia, I have worked on pretty much everything including medical devices, luxury retail, consumer healthcare and food & beverage.

I have gradually shifted a greater proportion of my time from operating to managing the projects and client relationships that we encounter. Innovation, particularly front-end, is full of uncertainty and novel challenges – what I really enjoy about Innovia is having curious, inspiring, friendly colleagues to navigate this space with and coming up with something truly breakthrough!

The free company lunch and the flexible hours at Innovia are core to a great work-life balance. It means that I can take a long leisurely walk along the river in the morning without having to make time to pack a lunch and, if I want to, finish up early to go and do my hobbies!

Emma – behavioural scientist

I came to Innovia a bit later in my career than most. Before joining the team in Cambridge, I’d worked for almost a decade in Research & Development in the food sector, gained a PhD in Experimental Psychology and an MSc in Health Psychology. My role at Innovia includes managing projects and providing expert input to teams. Highlights of my experiences include optimising food products, designing a drink driving intervention and helping clients upgrade their behavioural science skills.

I’ve always enjoyed applying psychology to real world problems. At Innovia, there is the opportunity to explore behavioural problems across a range of sectors. This suits me, as I have broad research interests and get to use my research skills regularly. Another advantage is working with (and learning from) colleagues with diverse skills and knowledge. Multi-disciplinary teams are fundamental to our way of working. So, ideation sessions can be hugely satisfying and fun with a chemist, designer and behavioural scientist in the same room!