16th September 2013

Geovation winners join thought-leaders exploring sustainability driven innovation

Luke Hampson

Last Thursday Ordnance Survey was delighted to host the Sustainable Innovation Lab (SusIN Lab) conference, here at our Head Office in Southampton. This was the fourth and final session in a series of workshop events organised by the University of Exeter Business School. The workshops, which Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation team have been participating in, have been running since December 2012. They explore, through collaboration, how sustainability is driving innovation and creating new forms of value for different stakeholders in the public, private and third sectors.

susin LAB graphic

Following registration, the day kicked off bright and early with a welcome on behalf of the SusIN Lab steering committee. The event, facilitated by Dr Bettina von Stamm and Dr Dorothea Ernst, consisted of a packed agenda of: keynote speeches; presentations and panel discussions with participants. Dr Sally Jeanrenaud welcomed delegates, some of whom had travelled from far afield, including Switzerland and the Netherlands – as well as many who had travelled from locations throughout the UK to attend. Sally highlighted how science can tell us so much about many of the issues we face today, such as our climate, environment etc. and how advances in technology in these areas can make a positive impact – whilst also creating new economic, social and environmental value.

Ordnance Survey's award-winning head office building

Ordnance Survey’s award-winning head office building, Adanac Park, Southampton

This was followed by a welcome and presentation delivered by Ordnance Survey’s Building and Property Services Manager, Greg Tumilty, who introduced our head office building. The award-winning building was designed to be energy efficient, with minimal impact on the environment and so provided quite a fitting location for this conference. Greg later took some delegates on a tour of the building.

Between keynotes and presentations, Dr Chris Parker, who heads-up Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation programme, shared information about our challenge funding initiative with the delegates. Firstly, Chris highlighted the power that geography can play in harnessing and empowering innovation for sustainability – stating that “everything happens somewhere” – a phrase that we often champion here on the blog and at Ordnance Survey! Chris summarised GeoVation’s “Innovation = Problem x Solution x Execution” process. Finally, Chris discussed our latest GeoVation challenge – “How can we help British business improve environmental performance?” and introduced two of the four winning teams and their video pitches. These were Richard Page from Carbon Prophet and Ayo Isinkaye from Element Green Recycling. Both Ayo and Richard commented on the useful discussion they’d had during the day that will help them develop their ventures.

Professor John Bessant introduced the Network for Business Sustainability’s 3-stage approach to innovation for business sustainability; Operational optimisation, Organisational transformation and Systems building. Keynotes, presentations and panel discussions gave examples of each of these approaches throughout the day. Some of these will be the subject of subsequent GeoVation blogs.

Innovating for Sustainability: A Guide for Executives. Network for Business Sustainability.

Source: Innovating for Sustainability: A Guide for Executives. Network for Business Sustainability. nbs.net.

Overall, it was an enlightening and interesting day which suggested many possibilities!