Professor Cathy Barnes
About Professor Cathy Barnes
Cathy Barnes is Professor of Retail Innovation and is fascinated by consumer experience. She has researched and published widely on how to build products and experiences that delight consumers.
Professor Cathy Barnes is fascinated by the world of the consumer. She is constantly trying to understand how we, as people, interact with the world around us and what this means to improved products and daily experiences. Her research work has taken her on a journey from novel ideation techniques such as biomimetics (using nature to innovate) to sensory design. She is particularly interested in how we perceive the world through touch and what this means to why we buy products.
As the Professor of Retail Innovation at Leeds Beckett University, Cathy is responsible for leading the Retail Institute. She aims to build a new type of university institute where academic staff and industry work closely together to deliver new knowledge with real and immediate commercial impact.
Originally training as a draughtsperson, Cathy started her diverse career in engineering, working on nuclear submarines. After a first degree in Mechanical Engineering, she started her love affair with consumerism by six years in industry, managing factories making everything from cosmetics to crisp packets. Prior to joining Leeds Beckett University she spent 12 years at the University of Leeds researching the consumer experience and managing outreach departments working closely with industry. During this time she led on many research grants applications and has published widely in both academic journals and the trade press.
- Built a membership scheme for retail packaging sector including many of the leading FMCG companies
- Designed new touch experience for computer peripherals
- Developed new understanding of the consumer perception of freshness in retail environments for global food company
- Invented a new aerosol experience for global household product company
- Researched a new marketing and pricing strategy in the condom market
- Created new consumer perception tools and implemented throughout a global food company
- Supported global food company to understand consumer perception of biopolymers
- Advised on innovation strategy for new materials and design for large dairy
- Developed a novel innovation technique for a large petcare company