Jeff Woolf

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Jeffrey Woolf OBE, born in Edgware, Middlesex, England on 17 September 1959, is an English inventor, businessman, journalist and innovation specialist. He is known as a lateral thinker and is a SFEDI Gold qualified innovation consultant.[1]

Jeff Woolf OBE.
Jeff Woolf OBE

He has a strong background in business and was twice awarded British Inventor of the year. He was awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2000, for services to innovation and business. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.


Woolf is the middle child with an older and younger sister. He was educated at Clifton College in Bristol. His late grandfather, Stanley Wagner, invented the Jif lemon and his late mother, Valerie, invented several interesting calendar and accounting systems.

Woolf started his inventing career in 1979, working with white light holography. He attended the first world symposium on holography in 1980, in Boston and studied holography at the New York School of Holography. In the mid-1980s he worked with, Dan Wagner, at MAID (Market Analysis and Information Database).

Woolf is a dyed-in-the-wool Arsenal fan.


In 2011 Woolf noticed that by far the majority of cyclists on the London Barclays Cycle Hire scheme were riding without helmets. The scheme is also known as Boris Bikes as they were put in whilst Boris Johnson was London's Mayor. Woolf had a bad cycle accident some years before on the road in Hampstead, London and despite other injuries, firmly believes that a helmet saved his life.

Woolf commissioned a survey to find out why helmets were not more widely used and most cyclists said that they didn't use one because they felt that they were too cumbersome to carry around all day. Woolf set out to see if he could overcome the problem by designing a helmet that could fold flat and therefore be more portable. Morpher was the result. Partially funded with crowdfunding from Indiegogo, Morpher's funding campaign was greatly oversubscribed. Morpher is being produced in China and is due to be available in stores by September 2014. Morpher has been designed to surpass all relevant safety standards and is constructed of recyclable materials. Morpher is aimed at all cyclists but eventually Woolf plans to market it to other users of sports safety helmets (skiers, skaters, snow boarders, hockey players, horse riders etc.). Morpher has patent protection in many territories around the globe.

Morpher was the recipient of Popular Science Magazine's Safety Invention of the Year 2014. With roots beginning in 1872, PopSci has been translated into over 30 languages and goes out to at least 45 countries.

This award was featured on CBS Morning Show


In 1993 he developed the MicroMap System and oversaw the design and manufacture of this invention. MicroMap was invented to overcome the problems associated with handling large paper maps outdoors, especially when exposed to the elements. It was first conceived as a piste map for use when skiing. It consisted of credit-card sized miniaturised maps which fitted into the MicroMap viewer and were held in a precisely curved plane. The viewer had a moveable lens system which re-enlarged the MicroMap cards, allowing a user to have a clear view of the miniaturised information.

To save on assembly costs and handling difficulties, Woolf created an injection moulded lens that was moulded within its own hinged surround. This made assembly of the MicroMap viewer a far simpler process. He also developed systems to print miniaturised information onto credit cards at high resolutions of more than six million randomly placed and sized dots per square inch.

MicroMap and Woolf were discussed during a debate on innovation in the House of Commons.[2] During this debate, a MicroMap viewer was handed around for members of parliament to use.

Woolf worked with Ron Hickman, inventor of the Black & Decker Workmate and designer of the Lotus Elan car, to some extent, benefiting from his patent experience before the final patent application was lodged. MicroMap was patented in many countries around the world.[3]

There is a display on the development of MicroMap in the Science Museum in London.[4] MicroMap was featured in the Millennium Dome and was awarded Millennium product status.

MicroMap cards were produced in conjunction with Ordnance Survey, the Automobile Association, USGS and Michelin. MicroMap was used by the SAS for bomb disposal and survival information.


Woolf is a regular contributor to the media and is becoming increasingly well known as a journalist for his articles on world travel and innovation. He has had many prime time television, radio and webinar appearances where he has discussed his travels as well as matters relating to innovation and new product development.

Woolf's article, 'Jamaica's Jewels' published in 2013 was nominated for 'Regional Publication Travel Feature of the Year' by McCluskey International on behalf of the Jamaican Tourist Board in the British Travel Press Awards.

He is a member of the National Union of Journalists and the Chartered Institute of Journalists


Woolf has been the recipient of a large number of innovation / invention awards, including the Honeywell British Innovation Awards, Sunday Times British Invention of the Year, Carlton/NatWest British Enterprise Awards, Brussels Eureka, 50th Anniversary UNESCO Award for Innovation, Medaille du Ministére de l'Intèrieur de France, 4 x Gold INPEX awards (USA), Ordnance Survey/British Cartographic Society Award for Mapping Innovation & Design, 1st World Innovation Olympics, Millennium Product Status Award, Lord Mayor of London's "Best of the Best" Award. He was also awarder the Gold award from the Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers. Woolf has recently been working on some new inventions, namely Stackbuster (working title) and Morpher (a folding bicycle helmet). These have both won significant awards in the UK and at in Belgium. Stackbuster won the double gold prize and Morpher won the Platinum prize in the 2010 British Invention of the Year Awards in October. These two inventions also won Gold awards in the Brussels Eureka 2010 awards and Morpher was awarded a special award for best Transport product at Innova in November 2010.

Additional information[edit]

Woolf has been involved in many fields as an inventor since the early 1980s, including home security, payment systems and children's safety devices.

He also has worked as a regular guest presenter on QVC, and has represented many well-known brands, including Canon, Sony, Panasonic, JVC, Samsung, Sharp, LG, Belkin, Lexmark, Elonex etc.

He was chairman of the judging panel for the 2008 British Invention of the Year which was won by Bill Currie for his new riot shield design and was chairman of the judging panel[5] for the World Innovation Awards in October 2009, 2010 and 2011 which were held at the British Innovation Show in London. He is also chairman of the judging panel for this year's (2012) World Innovation Awards, to be held at The Barbican in London in November. He was a judge on the Science Museum's Smart Toy Awards and was also one of three judges (the other two being Buzz Aldrin and Edward de Bono) at the Saatchi & Saatchi World Innovation Awards.

Woolf spent much of the 1990s raising funds for his own companies. In 1998 he became responsible for running a £300m private equity fund, locating investment opportunities.

He has always been passionate about new technologies and has worked in the private sector as well as with the government in all sorts of innovation matters. He has spoken on innovation at Cambridge University, The Institute of Directors, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Procter and Gamble, The BBC, The British Library and many other venues and events.

He currently works as the innovation specialist business advisor for Business Link in London and in this role he helps inventors and SMEs with innovation matters. He regularly holds innovation surgeries at the British Library in London.


  1. ^ "Mr. Jeff Woolf OBE – SFEDI". Retrieved 10 November 2009. 
  2. ^ "British Invention and Innovation (Hansard, 1 May 1996)". 1 May 1996. Retrieved 10 November 2009. 
  3. ^ "US Patent 5572371 – Viewer assemblies and viewable material adapted thereto". Retrieved 10 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "Micromap development prototypes, Science Museum on Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Retrieved 10 November 2009. 
  5. ^ [1]