Storm Sparked Innovation, Reinventing The Umbrella

Reinvent the wheel, I mean, umbrella
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For most of us, the annoyances that can come with using an umbrella are just something to complain about to friends. We have to just put up with them blowing inside out when we really need them to work properly, getting stuck in narrow doorways because we had to buy an absurd, jumbo sized rain shield that protects our shoulders and neck a little better. But for Stephen Collier, one particular storm sparked innovation in a big way.

The new and improved UmbrellaMr. Collier was at the 2012 Grand National, a National Hunt horse race held in Liverpool, England every year, when the idea of creating a better umbrella came to him. He went to the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick, and pitched his idea.

Known for creating and developing new processes and products that can lead to major breakthroughs, WMG loved the idea of reinventing the umbrella, and began to work with Mr. Collier on his design.

The Rainshader was the result. To be honest, my first thought upon seeing it was that it looked like an over-sized Darth Vader helmet minus the mask, but as I watched the promotional video below and thought about it, this design may be one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The Rainshader offers more protection from the elements than traditional umbrellas; it seems as if it would be easier to handle in crowded areas, and best of all it is nearly impossible to turn inside out.

For now, consumers can only get the Rainshader from Hospitality Umbrellas Ltd’s website and select sporting events in England, but it’s only a matter of time before it appears in countries around the world.  As for Mr. Collier, the owner of Hospitality Umbrellas, he must be very happy with the storm that sparked his innovation.


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