18th December 2017

Geovation Challenge Winning Ideas Announced


Thank you to all of you who responded to our call for new ideas to make our communities and cities, greener and smarter – we are excited to announce that the Geovation Challenge judging panel has selected 10 winning ideas to be invited to the 3-day Geovation Camp & Conference at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London from 14-16 February 2018. Read this blog post to find out who they are, who’ll be judging them and how we’ll be helping them to develop to commercial success. 








The Ideas

Be Plastic Clever

The smart thing about the Be Plastic Clever initiative is that, like all good ideas, it’s really simple: local people working with local establishments to reduce their use of unnecessary single-use plastic items. Simply provide an easy-to-implement framework and some ready-made free-to-download online resources that can work at any scale, and engage and enthuse a local community through collaboration to address a local/global environmental issue – single-use plastic pollution.

Community Friends Walks

Norfolk has some of the loveliest coast and countryside in Britain, with fantastic wildlife and historic sites and is well used by confident active people. However, it also has many health and wellbeing challenges, rising from an increasing older population, deprived communities and those with mental health issues many of whom are isolated and inactive. Our idea is to set up a walking group scheme, including dementia walks and companion walks, matching people with local knowledge about where to walk with those that have inactive lifestyles.

OASIS – Flowers for Life

OASIS – Flowers for Life is about teaching and developing skills in growing flowers, growing flowering plants and seed collection and gathering at our OASIS Community Gardens and across our community. We are looking to teach unemployed people, involve many people of all ages in the community, have a therapeutic aspect working with people with special needs and/or disabilities and partnership working. Flowers, plants and seeds will be grown to green our disadvantaged communities, bringing colour and life to barren spaces through planting schemes and a new local gardens initiative.


FoodSpot is a visionary community platform that transforms city centres into hubs of sustainable and local food production. Via our platform we connect three urban users: growers, sharers and experts, providing all the ingredients to make up a ‘homegrown economy’. It involves citizens and communities in their local food system, empowers them to take back control of their own food security, reduces emissions associated with food transportation, and in the process greenifies cities, making them healthier and more sustainable places to live.

Geo-locating Plastic Pollution

We want to combat the global plastic crisis by combining mobile technology, social community and adventure and distilling it down to a very local level. Plastic pollution is the single biggest environmental catastrophe our planet is facing. Fighting against the millions of tonnes of plastic that enters our oceans is no easy task, and should involve all people, wherever there is plastic pollution. The social connectivity of the app will allow users to showcase their plastic collection progress/ impact, and creates gamification opportunities.

Portable Ecosystems

Portable Ecosystems is the concept of bringing nature and green environments to areas where normally access is limited, providing temporary greenness to sites. Self-contained modules comprising of a complete ecosystem can be placed on a site or location transforming it instantly into a green space and just easily moved elsewhere. They can also be locked together, creating larger green ecosystems and their autonomous nature means they can easily be remotely maintained.

Neighbourhood + Eating = Neat

Bringing local communities together to source, swap and share home-grown produce. Neat addresses the global epidemic of food waste. It breaks down the misconceptions that growing produce in gardens is difficult and time-consuming. Neat will bring local communities together in a home-grown network through a digital marketplace and create a sustainable living environment which improves our health and wellbeing. It uses geo-location data to identify other users in the neighbourhood to allow the FREE trade of produce.


We are looking to bring the local high street together online, so businesses can be discovered locally by sharing daily offers, events and services with consumers. All businesses can create a free profile with the opportunity to share a daily “promotional” message to help keep customers interested – ranging from an exclusive offer to an upcoming event. Whether it is a specialist store or service people are looking for or simply deciding where to go for dinner or drinks they can find it locally on OFFiGO.

The Happy Crocodile

The concepts of the “Walking School bus”, “Park and Stride” and car-pooling are well understood. We’re looking to combine these concepts in an innovative and community-focused service that will reduce congestion and increase community cohesion. The Happy Crocodile allows schools and parents to plan, create and manage walking school bus routes that provide exercise and fun for primary school children, with the potential to engage local businesses with car parking space for those that have to drive, creating “Park and Stride” community hubs.


Out of town semi-industrial and logistic estates could be revitalised through an ingenious scheme, whereby key workers would live within easy to assemble pod type homes, situated ‘within’ empty industrial units that are not leased. Modular homes would be assembled inside each warehouse, fully kitted out with the key essentials and designated for those who cannot afford the rent in town. The units would be made from environmentally friendly materials and aimed at key workers such as nurses, police or teachers.


Read more about these ideas and tell us what you think

Royal Geographic Society








Next steps

The winners will receive an all-expenses-paid place at the 3-day mini startup accelerator and conference, worth up to £8K per team, which will equip them with all they need to develop and grow their idea into a business venture. The prize includes accommodation in London, meals and travel.  The sponsors of this challenge, Innovate UK and the Northumbrian Water Group, will be on hand to support the teams throughout the 3 days.

During the 2-day Geovation Camp the winners will test their ideas, learn about the essential components of innovation and connect with mentors, business advisors and designers; benefitting from their expertise to help get their ideas off the ground. They’ll learn about the importance of service design and understanding their business model. On day 2 they’ll get feedback from the judging panel to improve their business model and pitch. They’ll also be voting for their favourite idea to receive a £1,000 Community Award prize.

Then, at the Conference on day 3, they will be ready to pitch to investors, funders, sponsors, policy-makers and community leaders. Innovate UK, our lead sponsors in this Challenge, are providing Geovation with £250,000, of which £185K in grant awards will be available to the winners whose ideas are identified at the Conference as having the potential to make the greatest impact. This money will help develop, launch and scale those ventures. Through funding or a place on the Geovation Programme they’ll learn essential skills and gain experience until they’re ready to launch their product or service.

If you haven’t been successful this time around, we hope you’ll register for our Geovation Conference on the 16 February – come along and continue the conversation with thought-leaders, social entrepreneurs, policymakers and change-makers from the public, private, academic and third sectors. Together, let’s “Think globally, act locally and scale sustainably”. Watch this space for registration details coming Jan 2018. 

Written by Sasha Catchpole.