This paper provides a case-study whereby a UK University has been working in close partnership with Parker Hannifin Corporation, a Fortune 500 US manufacturing company, to develop new innovation practices. It discusses how Industrial Design has been introduced as an in-house function to one of the company’s divisional headquarters, in Gateshead, UK, through a collaborative research partnership over three years. Case material from four projects is presented, which illustrates a progressive, negotiated adoption by the company of the capabilities of Industrial Design as an essential component of a Customer-Centric Innovation approach. It has involved developing the organisation’s own confidence about the value and fit of Industrial Design through a series of projects and regular reflection on what is working well, not-so-well and what is raising concerns. The approach described provides an alternative to attempting to develop and implement a pre-formulated ‘grand-plan’ for Design.