K L Edwards* Head of Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Derbyshire Business School, University of Derby, United Kingdom. D C Parkes

ABSTRACT The market place is changing rapidly and in order for businesses to compete and grow successfully they need to continually innovate. However, improving products and taking ideas for new products to market is difficult, especially for small companies, who often lack the necessary knowledge, skills and resources. There is a plethora of sources of advice available to businesses, but accessing expert help is vital to most new product development, and this is obtainable externally in universities. This paper de­ scribes how product innovation can be supported successfully through universities and businesses working in partnership, mutually benefiting both parties in the process. Generalised actual case study outcomes are used to disseminate best practice on collaborative new product development with an emphasis on small companies.