Picture of Clare O’Neill

Clare O’Neill


Clare advises companies of all sizes and sectors on how to develop an excellent environment for innovation to thrive. Driven by her curiosity and an aptitude for seeing many possibilities, she has a natural instinct for challenging assumptions and exploring new avenues.

With a 25-year career spanning innovation management, scientific research, enterprise leadership and business mentoring, Clare can easily grasp the challenges and opportunities facing a business and develop sound advice for improved business performance.

Before setting up business consultancy Original Ventures, Clare was Deputy CEO at internationally admired innovation agency Manchester Knowledge Capital, where she directed successful initiatives such as the Innovation Boardroom. Her previous experience includes several years in university technology transfer, where she established a number of spinout companies and managed a large Intellectual Property portfolio. She was also involved in developing some of Russia’s first ever business advice agencies and business incubators, as it opened up to free markets in the early 1990s.

In 2007 she was elected as a Fellow of the RSA for her work on developing innovative places, and in 2013 was appointed as Chair of the Manchester branch of the Institute of Directors.

Recent projects/assignments

Strategy: GlaxoSmithKline

Lead Advisor on ‘open innovation’ to GSK’s flagship investment, the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst – the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus. This new style of science park allows small biotechs to collaborate easily with researchers from big pharma, creating a win-win for the sector.

Services: major UK airports group

Advised on Innovation Strategy for an organization that runs several airports, with an emphasis on changing workplace culture and developing processes and tools to support employees’ ideas for improving customer experience.

Products: advanced engineering

Analysed the New Product Development process in a small engineering company which was finding the design and development of a new type of product far slower than anticipated. As an objective observer, identified strengths and weaknesses in the Stage Gate system and workplace environment, and provided improvements for optimal efficiency.

Skills: Manufacturing Advisory Service

Led the process of improving problem-solving skills within a diverse range of 50+ manufacturing companies. Workshops on creative and lateral thinking techniques included hands-on manufacturing challenges in the Manchester FabLab to provide enjoyable and informative sessions.

Past Positions