The Oxford Creativity Team

Oxford Creativity was founded in 1998 by Karen Gadd. The company is based close to Oxford and its TRIZ consultants travel regularly to clients all over UK, Europe and the rest of the world.


Oxford Creativity Team

Karen Gadd

Thousands of engineers and scientists have learned TRIZ from Karen and her Oxford Creativity colleagues in the last seventeen years.  Karen is the founder of Oxford Creativity as well as teaching TRIZ in companies such as ABB, Airbus, BAE Systems, Bentley, Borealis, BNFL and many more.  Karen has selected and trained all the Oxford Creativity workshop leaders and developed all the Oxford Creativity materials.

Karen studied Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College, and has an MBA from London Business School. After working in strategy and corporate planning in the City of London she returned to live in Oxford and was a tutor at Oxford's business school the European School of Management ESCP (based in Paris, Oxford, Madrid and Berlin). From 1995-2002 she was a Governor of Coventry University. Karen also founded and ran both MUSIC at OXFORD and the European Union Baroque Orchestra - these successful music organisations still flourish.

Karen has worked on nothing but TRIZ since discovering and learning its power to give us all the routes, to all the solutions, to all problems. In 1998 Karen started Oxford Creativity to concentrate on developing simple and practical TRIZ problem solving for the European market. 

Karen is married, has four children and lives happily in Oxford and the Lake District. Concerts and singing are still part of her interests and activities, as well as speaking at conferences throughout the world on the success and power of TRIZ. Karen's book TRIZ for Engineers: Enabling Inventive Problem Solving published by WileyBlackwell in 2011, has now been translated into Korean, German, and Hebrew.

Connect on Twitter - @kgtriz & @trusttriz

Lilly Haines-Gadd

Lilly has worked for Oxford Creativity since 2004, and been Managing Director since 2007. In addition to running the company she delivers training, facilitates innovative problem solving workshops and develops new workshops and materials. She is interested in how TRIZ makes everyone a better problem solver and a more creative thinker – regardless of their natural approach to problems. Through her extensive hands-on experience of problem solving and TRIZ training she has observed that TRIZ not only gives individuals great clarity of thought but also gets diverse teams working together and communicating more effectively.

This has led her to retraining in Psychology, studying at Oxford Brookes, Cardiff University, and completing an MSc in Occupational Psychology at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her dissertation was evaluating the impact of TRIZ training at an individual and organisational level. She has trained in KAI (Kirton Adaption-Innovation), a psychometric test which measures individual’s natural thinking style, which is used to help individuals and teams work most effectively when solving problems, and attended BPS training Lilly is the author of 'TRIZ for Dummies', an easy-to-read introduction to TRIZ and part of Wiley’s successful 'For Dummies' series.

Connect on Twitter - @triz_uk & @trusttriz

Lilly Haines-Gadd

Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin is a systems engineer with over thirty years experience in the aerospace industry. Andrew’s areas of expertise range from technical niches - such as visual systems for flight simulator - to more generic engineering disciples - such as requirements management and the development and integration of systems engineering processes. Andrew has been using and promoting TRIZ over the last 16 years, through practical day-to-day application, formal teaching and problem solving facilitation.

At Oxford Creativity, Andrew is a TRIZ Consultant, problem solving and teaching TRIZ with many companies large and small. Andrew also works as an Aerospace training consultant.

Andrew believes that the systematic nature of the TRIZ method makes it a natural partner for formal quality systems and that it should be embedded into company procedures to bridge the 'creativity gap' that lies between system requirements and solution concepts. Andrew is almost certainly the worst saxophonist on the planet. 

Andrew Martin

Neil Sherry

With twenty years' experience in innovation, Neil has developed a noted ability to 'get inside' clients' problems. This has included projects from industries as diverse as automotive, aerospace, food, pharmaceutical, medical devices, chemical and the oil industry.

Neil's first introduction to TRIZ was in 1996 and came from being trained in innovation software from Invention Machine Corporation. Prior to this, Neil had completed an automotive biased Mechanical Engineering degree and worked as a design/development engineer - innovating the traditional way, but nonetheless creating a number of patentable solutions. He subsequently joined Invention Machine as a consultant.

Experienced in both training people in the TRIZ philosophy and tools, and in the application of those techniques to create breakthrough solutions, Neil now brings those skills to the Oxford Creativity team. A Chartered Engineer, Neil lives in the Midlands with Helena and their four children and tries to find the time to go sailing and play with old cars, occasionally troubling the local community by ringing church bells.

Andrea Mica 

Andrea is co-founder of Clean Steel a company recycling production materials from the tyre industry. He also works on the commercialization of cancer diagnostics with the University of Surrey. He was previously responsible for IP Group’s Physical Sciences and its activities with the University of Surrey before which he worked at Oxford University where he was a Begbroke Enterprise Fellow for a year. Andrea has an MSc in Industrial Design Management of New Product Development from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He worked in technology transfer from the space sector for 7 years before moving to CFB, helping to set up and run 4 materials companies based on Russian technology.

Andrea has provided consultancy and training in technical problem solving through Oxford Creativity since 2003. 

Andrea Mica

Ron Donaldson

Ron has a broad computer science background and a Combined Science degree in Ecology and Geology. Initially working as a systems analyst for Customs and Excise, he later joined English Nature to develop and implement Information and Knowledge Strategies leading him to develop his own unique approach which he termed 'Knowledge Ecology'.

Experienced in structured systems analysis, process modelling and business process re-engineering, Ron is now a self employed consultant and an accredited Cognitive Edge practitioner. He specialises in narrative/complexity based methods, appreciative inquiry and open space technology.

An accomplished conference speaker especially in knowledge management and storytelling, Ron enjoys working as a coach, facilitator or trainer in the preferred fields of knowledge sharing, change management, team building and of course problem solving using TRIZ.

Ron Donaldson

DAVID KNOTT

David (CEng FIMechE) worked for Rolls-Royce plc for 39 years where he became a Senior Manager responsible for Research and Technology within Design Systems Engineering. For the last 18 years he has been leading a global network of multi-disciplinary specialists, researchers and developers, in academia and industry, developing software tools and processes to improve the Engineering Design process used globally within Rolls-Royce.

David is a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, who loves creative problem solving, and has generated 28 patent applications. As a Design Team Leader on the Trent Gas Turbine Engine he generated two patents that became “High Value Patent Award Winners” at the Rolls-Royce “Chairman’s Awards for Technical Innovation”. 

He first came across TRIZ over 20 years ago, and he immediately saw its power when he applied it to solve a difficult engineering problem his team was facing, generating a patent in the process. He subsequently championed TRIZ within Rolls-Royce, as part of a Holistic Innovation Strategy. He has facilitated a wide range of TRIZ problem solving workshops, and trained over 450 engineers and MSc Students in the TRIZ methodology.

 He is an aspiring potter with a desire to create beauty born of purpose, by making “Form Follow Function”. He has a long way to go.

David Knott CEng FIMechE

Frédéric Mathis

After a degree in Biochemistry and a year of Advanced Math and Biology study, Frédéric has joined Mars within the product quality department. He then quickly moved to the packaging team where he covered a wide range of roles, going from Packaging Quality and Supplier Management to Packaging Development Engineer and Packaging Development Manager. Since end 2008, Frédéric has moved to the role of Packaging Innovation Manager where he is responsible for delivering the European Bitesize, Boxed and Block Segments Packaging Innovations.

After having achieved a deep expertise level in Packaging Processes and Concepts, Vendor Assurance approach, Project and Risk management, Usage of Packaging in extreme conditions, Team Management, Trade and Transports constraints (including lab simulation and Packaging Performance modeling), Frédéric has been trained in TRIZ that he later used to develop a system to help the opening of Pouches that resulted in a Patent in 2005.

As native French speaker, Frédéric is supporting Oxford Creativity since 2008 in TRIZ trainings mostly in France. Convinced by the power of the TRIZ tools, Frédéric is using them to develop new Innovative Packaging concepts at Mars. He is in particular exploring and developing the TRIZ trends to support him to create the packs of the future. In addition to work on problem solving algorithms, he is looking at developing Innovation level evaluation tools and understanding the link between the TRIZ trends and Design development in relation with consumer interaction.

Professor Ted Smith

Professor Smith is a Mechanical Engineer who started his career at Rolls-Royce Aero Engines Division in Derby. He then moved to ICI as a Plant Engineer. Discovering an interest in research, he completed an MSc and PhD in Tribology, and spent 25 years in research, teaching and management in higher education, latterly as Dean of Engineering at Coventry University. It was here that he was introduced to TRIZ by Karen, and has been fascinated by it ever since.

Since 2001, Ted has run his own company providing strategic support to education and commerce in the area of e-learning. He is currently a Professor of Tribology in the Jost Institute for Tribotechnology at the University of Central Lancashire, conducting research on piston-ring friction. He also lectures in Tribology at Central Lancashire and Lancaster Universities.

Ted lives in Preston with his wife and her two puppies. He has three daughters, four grandchildren, and likes walking in the mountains of Scotland and the Lake District, and being silly with the four youngest family members.

Professor Ted Smith, Oxford Creativity

Clara Lasala

Clara has more than fourteen years’ experience in Innovation and Creativity tools.

Clara studied Chemistry at Instituto Quiímico de Sarriá and did her last year at Univesité Paul Sabatier, Toulouse (France). She has an MBA from Ramón Llull University of Barcelona. After working as a chemist at Shell, Amsterdam (Holland), she went back to Spain and worked in marketing and innovation for Multinational Companies such as Pfizer and Johnson&Johnson.

Since 2008 Clara works as a Consultant and has helped National and Multinational companies implement innovation programs.

She also taught and developed training courses in marketing and innovation for Product Design and Business at Ramon Llull and Pompeu Fabra University.

Clara moved to the UK in 2012 and has been collaborating with Oxford Creativity since then. She is also a Business Adviser at Young Enterprise and Oxford Entrepreneurs in Oxfordshire contributing to the development of innovative new businesses.

Clara has one son and two daughters and devotes as much time as possible to enjoying her family life.

Clara Lasala, Oxford Creativity

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