This month sees the formal launch of Solverboard, a new, all-in-one innovation management platform that helps companies of any size to test, optimise and validate their innovation programmes. Solverboard is one of parent company Istoria Group’s two in-house ‘Incubator Hub’ businesses, having undergone a period of accelerated development with Istoria Group mentoring, housing and underwriting the business as it first prepared and then scaled up to be ready for launch.

Solverboard Co-Founder Phil Atherton explained the thinking behind the new platform, ‘In many companies, innovation is separate from the core business. The fail rate of most innovation – up to 90% – has left business leaders with the conundrum of needing innovation but not knowing how best to handle their programmes. If set to one side as a standalone lab, for example, innovation often struggles to get traction in the wider business. Solverboard seeks to bring innovation back into the heart of companies, ensuring it’s aligned to core strategies. With the tracking of aims, progress and achievement in a single place, companies will now be able to validate processes and prove the value of their portfolios at all times, saving them both time and money.’

Phil Atherton is one of Solverboard’s three Co-Founders and also on the board of Istoria Group as the Group’s Innovation Director. Phil’s earlier, wide-ranging career saw him add to an engineering degree with extensive cost analysis and project management experience for the likes of Renault Trucks and BAE Systems, where his true calling as an agent of business change began to emerge. He is Head of Product for Solverboard and is joined at the Solverboard helm by Charlie Widdows, Head of Customer Engagement and Tim Marsh, Head of Technical.

Charlie Widdows is a customer engagement and networking specialist, who co-founded the Bristol Innovators Group in 2019 and the Mothers of Invention innovation network during the Coronavirus lockdown. Charlie also mentors innovation and tech graduates at MOD and Black Valley with a particular remit to improve BAME representation in tech and innovation roles. Tim Marsh’s specialisms include systems architecture and technical team leadership, with a background in large-scale technical projects for corporations and institutions such as Royal Mail, the Post Office and the RNLI.

Istoria Group and the ‘Incubator Hub’:

Bristol-based Istoria Group was originally founded by Chairwoman and proven entrepreneur Claire Menzies. The Group is a collective of three creative businesses – exhibition and event designers Ignition; retail and hospitality designers Phoenix Wharf and digital experience experts Tiny Spark – together with two ‘Incubator Hub’ businesses: Solverboard and children’s book publishers iamabookworm.

‘For Istoria Group, the Incubator Hub idea is more about mutual-learning, curiosity and seeking to have a positive impact in the world of business, rather than a private equity or acquisitions-based endeavour’ Chairwoman Claire Menzies explained. ‘For these new companies to succeed, a lot of time and personal input is needed and success is about both the chemistry with us and the degree of determination on both sides. We’re absolutely delighted with the vision, thoroughness and depth of research carried out by Solverboard prior to the platform’s launch and couldn’t be prouder to see the business and its superb proposition now set sail.’

Solverboard – Now and the Future:

Solverboard’s potential to be an all-in-one platform for innovation managers has already been recognised by a raft of leading corporations, with companies such as Network Rail, HS2, British Council, ATOS, Elvie, Enterprise Group and SXSW all requesting early access.

The platform is the result of a huge amount of testing and consultation with industry leaders across many different types of business and management areas and will continue to change and adapt as it develops over time. It is now open to companies of any size on a monthly subscription basis at

Innovation needs to be cultural, not theatrical’ Phil Atherton commented. ‘Solverboard will help companies achieve definite goals and measurable outcomes. We look forward to aiding more of the best ideas in business come to life.’

February 2023 issue

2022 A1 Buyers Guide

Buyers Guide 2022