29th April 2013

£100k innovation funding pot to help greener business

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You have just a few days left to enLink to: How can we help British Business improve environmental performance? Geovation Challengeter our current GeoVation Challenge to help British business improve environmental performance  – with a chance to win a share of our £100,000 innovation funding pot. The following guest post from David Simoes-Brown of open innovation agency 100%Open,  shows how they help organisations create value by innovating with others.  This could help get you thinking of ideas to create value from waste.  

Here’s an example of how a small British business helped a global corporation improve its environmental performance using a partnership approach. 100%Open helped Interface, the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of carpet tiles to team up with the Zoological Society of London to develop an innovative approach to tackling the problem of discarded fishing nets in developing countries.

This partnership is known as Net-Works and aims to work with local experts and coastal communities in the Philippines and beyond to develop a community-based supply chain for discarded nylon fishing nets. These are recycled into carpet tiles having been collected, cleaned, tested, baled and shipped to Europe.  This will improve the coastal marine ecosystem, create livelihood opportunities for those communities and demonstrate that cross-sector collaboration can create a sustainable business model with commercial, environmental and social benefit.

The 100%Open team used a new approach to business model creation. In a series of global workshops they aligned the motivations of each stakeholder group as they were gathered in a room together.

The Net-Works programme will be challenging to implement – both in reaching remote and poor rural communities and in establishing a business model that is viable in the long term. Interface and ZSL will be working together over the next 6 months to develop and pilot this concept on Danajon Bank in the central Philippines, a centre of biodiversity, but one of the most degraded coral reefs in the world. A scoping trip in January this year estimated that the quantity of nylon fishing net discarded each year is sufficient to cover the length of Danajon Bank (140km) more than 400 times. If successful the pilot could be replicated in other communities in the Philippines and beyond.

If you’re inspired by this project and have an idea how you could help business to improve their environmental performance by seeing the value in items that would be otherwise thrown away, or other problems we’ve identified then enter the GeoVation Challenge. We are looking for ideas that use Ordnance Survey data, including OS OpenData and OS OpenSpace, together with other open data. But hurry the challenge closes at 12 noon on 1 May. Following this, the best ideas will be invited to a weekend GeoVation Camp from 21 – 23 June 2013 where you can work on building your idea into a prototype and pitch to the judging panel.  Successful ideas receive a share of £100,000 funding to get started on developing their ideas.