About us > Meet the Team

Meet our Team

Alastair Swanwick

Managing Director

Founder of Innovate and spends most of his time assisting individuals with the complexities of bringing ideas to life. A keen innovator with considerable knowledge of the invention industry.
Co-presenter of BBC Knowledge ‘Science Fix’ show.
Founder member of California Invention Centre
Design Innovation Plastics Student Awards Organising Committee
Fellow of Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce

Joely Brown

Office Manager

Admin

Joely joined innovate in 2008 and has since completed a Modern Apprenticeship in Business Administration and the IAB Certificate in Book-keeping. Joely’s role varies from day to day with her duties including invoicing, general administration as well as offering initial advice to clients over the phone. Outside of her role at Innovate Joely spends her time with her two horses or walking her dog.

Robyn Fairweather

Senior Client Manager

Robyn joined Innovate in 2010 as a Client Manager, a role that involves helping clients research, develop and protect their ideas. Being naturally inquisitive, she particularly enjoys the market research side of the role as well as the opportunity to converse with a wide variety of people on a day to day basis. Robyn has successfully completed the IP Masterclass Training Programme run by the Intellectual Property Office and Coventry University. During her time off, Robyn can be found enjoying long walks with her spaniel Lucy, or in a shopping centre.

Alex Bell

Intellectual Property Paralegal – Client Manager

Alex spends his time helping clients achieve their goal of taking the seed of an idea and helping it grow to a fully fledged product. He has skills in patent searching and research having successfully completed the IP Master-class Training Programme run by the Intellectual Property Office and Coventry University. Alex specialises in homeware and motorbike related products. Alex unwinds reading graphic novels and watching films of all genres.

Helen Smartt

Intellectual Property Paralegal – Client Manager

Helen supports clients at Innovate reach their desired place in the marketplace. A graduate of Roehampton University, she has since successfully completed the Intellectual Property Master Class. Specialising primarily in the leisure industry, Helen’s day to day activities involve researching initial ideas, and guiding clients through the development process. In her own time Helen enjoys cooking, socialising with friends, and the odd bit of shopping

Abbie Toomer

Client Manager

Abbie joined Innovate as a Client Manager to help clients research, develop and protect their new invention ideas. She supports them throughout each stage to reach their chosen goal.
In her spare time Abbie likes to take part in various keep fit classes such as ‘Insanity’ and ‘CrossFit’ because she is a food lover. She also likes to be creative; ‘upcycling furniture’, making silver rings and doing the odd crazy painting.

Thomas Kelly

Client Advisor

With a BA (Hons) in Museum and Exhibition Design from Lincoln School of Architecture, a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the Open University and a number of years experience working as a designer, Thomas brings a diverse range of skills to the Innovate team. His knowledge of the design industry and of making ideas a reality coupled with a keen desire to see people develop their inventions into successful, fully-realised products puts him in the ideal position to guide people through the options available to them. He particularly enjoys discussing people’s inventions with them at an early stage, researching the market and continually improving his knowledge of the world of patents.
Thomas is also a record collector, gig goer, portrait painter and tea drinker.

Frank Bracher

Client Advisor

I work with clients during the initial stages. Talking through their concepts and providing advice on services, helping to boost confidence in their invention ideas.
Currently studying for a BEng with the Open University. I have been coming up with ideas for inventions for most of my life, so being able to speak with clients in the early stages of their inventions is very exciting.
In my spare time, I enjoy listening to heavy metal, taking part in mixed martial arts, playing video games and spending time with my family and Willow (my puppy).

Aby Thomas

Product Designer

Design

Aby graduated from Bournemouth University in 2006 with a First Class (Hons) Degree in Product Design, and joined Innovate in 2009. This is her third experience of consultancy work, after working in London for an Ergonomics Company and in Melbourne, Australia for a Design and Advertising Consultancy. Aby enjoys the client interaction that comes with her job, as well as producing well thought out designs in response to fully understanding the client’s initial brief. When not at work Aby enjoys relaxing and playing sports by the beach, she is a keen traveller and uses this as inspiration for painting.

Christian Pilcher

Product Designer

Design

BA (Hons) in Product Design, Plymouth University
He enjoys coming up with new product ideas to create solutions for specific problems in many different areas of interest. Christian consults regularly with patent attorneys to help understand and work out new ways to create and develop unique features for inventions.

Ben Richards

Product Designer

Design

Ben graduated from Bournemouth University with BSc (Hons) in Product Design in 2011 and joined Innovate in January 2012. He displays a solid range of design skills showing a keen interest for bringing together function and aesthetics providing the end user with visually appealing yet practical solutions. Also proficient in web design and development having previously worked in this field, Ben’s time is split between CAD & sketching and web design as he builds and develops the web presence for Innovate and their clients.
In his own time, Ben is a keen cyclist and can be found riding through the Dorset and Wiltshire countryside.

Matthew Langmead

Product Designer

Design

BSc (Hons) Computer Aided Product Design
With a background of designing a range of successful consumer electronic products through to production, supporting both clients and manufacturers through development, branding and graphics. With a focus on Design for Manufacture, the projects have included patent protected new product ideas.
He relaxes through woodcarving and cycling with his family.

Sean Bunton

Product Designer

Design

Sean graduated from Plymouth University in 2013 with a BA (Hons) in Product design. His design solutions are formed from how the product interacts with the user and the intended environment. He is also interesting in responsible design, thinking about the beginning and end of a product lifecycle. Outside of work he enjoys mountain biking and exploring the local area.

Stephen Cox

Product Designer

Design

BSc (Hons) Product Design & Technology Loughborough University
He has applied a range of skills from detailed design and CAD modelling through to graphic and Smartphone app design to help inventors to problem solve and to realise their ideas into practical new designs. In his spare time he can usually be found cycling, playing guitar or out socialising with friends.

Amy Richards

Product Designer

Design

Amy graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Product Design from Bournemouth University in 2011. Previous employment with other design consultancies and self driven freelance projects have given her a strong set of skills including 3D modelling, graphics editing and sketching. Since arriving at Innovate Amy has been tasked with building a number of prototypes which have enabled her to showcase her practical ability and see projects through from the point of conception to final working models giving her a greater understanding for design for manufacture.
When not at work Amy can be found in the gym keeping fit, or tucked away with her Kindle.

Adam James

Product Designer

Design

BA (Hons) in Industrial Design and Technology, Brunel University
With previous experience in the design of high end architectural lighting, Adam enjoys developing new invention idea to meet the needs of the end user, often utilising novel mechanisms, whilst also providing an enjoyable and memorable user experience. Outside of work Adam has competed in sailing, taken part in skydiving and enjoys playing the drums.

Joanna Hart

Product Designer

Design

Joanna graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in 2014 with a degree in Product Design BSc. I am a keen researcher and believe that it’s important to understand how a product has evolved to aid the design process to create something that is inventive and has purpose. In my spare time I enjoy exploring new places and playing all types of sports, particularly lacrosse.

Jonathan Wood

Product Designer

Design

Jonny graduated from the university of the west of England, Bristol in 2014 with a BSc (Hons) in product design technology. He has a range of technical skills which he applies throughout the whole of the design process. He is interested in human centred design and enjoys creating new product ideas that make a difference to people's lives. Outside of innovate Jonny enjoys the outdoors and spending time with friends. He follows all sorts of sport and is a keen runner and skier.

Tara Hull

Design

Tara is a textiles specialist who graduated from Bournemouth University in 2012 with a First Class (Hons) Degree in Fashion and Textiles. With previous experience in global fashion and trade fair markets, Tara aims to provide clients with specific design solutions. Tara’s skillset includes fabric sourcing, textile design and innovation, trend intelligence, pattern cutting and CAD. In her spare time Tara enjoys travelling and culinary arts.

Alison Gale

New Product Development Advisor

Research & IP

Alison workS with clients introducing their product or idea to the market. This role involves helping clients identify the most relevant companies and organisations to approach with regard to a licensing or retailing agreement, and advising on making the initial approach. With a Business Studies degree and post-graduate qualifications in both Marketing and Purchasing, Alison has a deep understanding of the motivations and requirements of companies when looking at and deciding on new products. Alison has spent over ten years in Marketing and Product Development roles with a range of major blue-chip organisations as well as the invaluable experience of establishing and managing a mail order retail business, where she headed up all buying and marketing activity.
Having three boys under the age of 11, Alison seems to spend her time outside work drawing Superheroes, searching for lost Lego or watching Star Trek.

Tim Mount

Legal Counsel

Research & IP

Tim Mount is general legal counsel for Innovate. As a UK patent lawyer he has contentious and non-contentious legal training and specific experience in the field of intellectual property (IP). This combined skill-set brings Innovate a commercial insight into its core business. Previously Tim worked running businesses and also has a granted UK patent that he is in the process of commercialising.

Gareth Czaja

Research Team manager

Research & IP

Graduating with a BA (Hons) in Theology from Leeds University and also has a HNC in Nuclear and Astro-Physics from Surrey University.
Gareth’s role at Innovate is to oversee the research for clients concepts, checking for prior art and before taking projects further searching for any infringement issues relating to previous products.
Outside of work Gareth enjoys reading science fiction and leads children’s work at church.’

Tobias King

Patent Researcher and Intellectual Property Administrator

Research & IP

HND in Business & Finance (Distinction)
Extensive experience in a variety of a technical fields.
Keen photographer, digital artist and keeper of chickens.

Ashleigh Woodvine

Patent Researcher and Intellectual Property Administrator

Research & IP

BA (Hons) in Linguistics at the University of Leeds. Ashleigh loves finding out everything there is to know about each of the new inventions as they come in, and knowing just where to find the right information