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Heston Blumenthal to open the University's new Innovation Lab – University of Reading

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Heston Blumenthal to open the University's new Innovation Lab

Release Date 25 October 2005

Heston BlumenthalThe Innovation Works – a custom-built facility designed to stimulate creative thought – is being launched on Thursday 17 November at the University of Reading by the renowned chef, Heston Blumenthal. Based on the success of the Royal Mail's Innovation Laboratory (established in 2002), The Innovation Works@Reading is only the fourth facility of its type in the UK, and the only Innovation Lab in the South East. It offers a whole new approach to solving business problems and helping people think 'outside the box'. "The Innovation Works is essentially a creative thinking space," said Kate Pitts, Project Manager at Reading's Innovation Lab. "The different environments in the various zones have been specifically designed to help people come up with new ideas and concepts. "It uses the very latest technology, audio and visual equipment and lighting – it even has walls that you can write or draw on. We guarantee that the lab is unlike any other building you've ever worked in. We're offering a unique experience which aims to change the way people think and work, and provides tangible results that clients can take away to build upon." The lab, which has been financed by the government's Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), specialises in providing assistance for business planning, problem solving, scenario planning and modelling, and creativity sessions – all set in an environment in which free thought and originality are encouraged. Each workshop is run by professional workshop facilitators and tailored to each client's individual requirements. Inside the lab, there are two very different brainstorming environments, a strategy and planning development area and a large break out and chill zone. There are lots of curved walls – to encourage people to bounce new ideas around – and there's even a 'transition zone' to help clients leave their conventional thoughts outside. The Innovation Works is being launched during Enterprise Week (14-20 November), a UK-wide week of activities that aims to inspire people to be enterprising – to turn their ideas into something real. "Given that The Innovation Works is all about new ideas, Enterprise Week seemed the ideal time for the launch," said Kate Pitts. "And as Heston Blumenthal is a true innovator in his field, he's the perfect person to open the lab." End Notes for editors 1. Heston Blumenthal is the owner and head chef of The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire. He is renowned for his unique approach to cooking, which embraces food science. He is the leading authority on 'molecular gastronomy', the relationship between the chemical and physical properties of food and its presentation and perception by humans. In recognition of his valued contribution to the promotion of food science, the University of Reading recently announced that he would be awarded an honorary degree at the graduation ceremonies in summer 2006. The Fat Duck was voted the best restaurant in the world earlier this year by a panel of 600 food experts. It is one of only three restaurants in the UK to have earned three Michelin stars. For more information, see http://www.thefatduck.co.uk 2. The Innovation Works is now available for bookings. For further details about costs and how to book time in the venue, please contact Kate Pitts on (tel) 0118 378 7410 or (email) k.pitts@reading.ac.uk Members of the media are very welcome to attend the launch event, but must confirm attendance with Craig Hillsley, the University's press officer, on (tel) 0118 378 7388 or (email) c.hillsley@rdg.ac.uk

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