30th October 2017

National Innovation Workshops Round-up


Prior to launching the Greener, Smarter Communities and Cities Challenge, we kicked off a national tour of innovation workshops to get people stimulated, looking for innovative solutions to how we can future-proof communities and cities, using smart technologies. We reached keen innovators in Exeter, Manchester and Glasgow and spoke to some lead representatives from our two sponsors, Innovate UK & Northumbrian Water Group. 

Each workshop explored problems and ideas, ensuring those who attended walked away with the knowledge to build their idea from start to finish, and learnt how to gain support through the Geovation Challenge. Hosted by Exeter City Futures, Manchester Science Park and Tontine Glasgow, and joined by our lead sponsors and Challenge supporters Greenspace Scotland and Glasgow City Council, there was plenty of enthusiasm on how we can make our communities and cities greener and smarter.

“Being part of Ordnance Survey, which has a rich history of collecting data, and producing really useful material with that data, there is clearly a rich resource that people can use for innovation. Combined with what Geovation does, which is accelerating innovation, I think the Geovation Challenge is a powerful offer.” – Niraj Saraf, Urban Innovation Lead, Innovate UK

“It was useful to hear wider thinking from the range of participants” – Exeter Workshop Participant

We were further infused with an inspiration of how small ideas can turn into start-up ventures that create meaningful, scalable impact in how our communities and cities can work more sustainably. We heard from leaders of local initiatives such as Transition Towns and REconomy – a movement of communities reclaiming the local economy through incubating citizen entrepreneurship; BinIt – enabling businesses with better, bespoke waste management solutions to increase value of products and resources throughout their life cycle; Greenspace Scotland – a social enterprise engaging key influencers to support sustainable management and access to quality green spaces in neighbourhoods, which contributed to the creation of Ordnance Survey Greenspace Data, launched this year.

Our workshop aimed to provide a toolkit to help participants focus and elevate any idea proposition, with the opportunity to discuss and dive deeper into the problem areas, service and business design questions, with our innovation experts on hand. Attendees came with varied backgrounds in the energy industry, social enterprise, sustainability consultancy, research, software and even mathematics. They were keen to explore ideas and collaborate with new people – exactly what the workshops were geared to facilitate.

We firstly delved into what we mean by ‘innovation’ and applied the Geovation formula, “Innovation = Problem x Solution x Execution” since we believe that successful innovation depends on building a viable solution to a real problem, and executed as a sustainable, scalable business.

“The exercises, problem analysis and stakeholder mapping tools were useful” – Manchester Workshop Participant 

“I think the Geovation Challenge is a great opportunity to do the toughest part of innovation, in converting an idea into a reality. It’s going to have a really supportive process around it, which will help develop [your] idea and help incubate it. You’re surrounded by people all the team who are like-minded, thinking innovatively and who are really supportive… it’s a really great environment to get involved in.” – Clive Surman-Wells, Operations Solutions Manager, Northumbrian Water

“Lots of ideas, thanks very much!” – Glasgow Workshop Participant 

Winners of the Geovation Challenge receive an all-expenses-paid place at our 3 day Geovation Camp and Conference in London in February 2018. This camp will equip you with the tools to build a sustainable business and create a pitch to maximise your chance of success. There will be an opportunity to pitch for funding or a place on the Geovation Programme, the perfect funded accelerator to get your GeoTech business off the ground.

Find out more & Enter the Challenge