10th October 2014

Malvern Festival of Innovation returned for its third successive year

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The Nationally acclaimed Malvern Festival of Innovation returned for its third successive year last week, and Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation were proud to be Silver sponsors of this year’s festival.

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The event, was launched on Wednesday (October 1), and has continued to grow. This year’s event spanned four days at Malvern Theatres including some parallel events around the town with a range of excellent guest speakers.

Organised by Malvern-based Key IQ in association with Malvern Hills District Council and supported by numerous sponsors such as Lockheed Martin, Santandar, UK Trade & Investment and of course GeoVation,, the festival is a free event. This year’s festival focused on engineering and manufacturing, cyber security, and the Business of Innovating explored, with keynote speakers descending on Malvern from around the UK.

Dr David Bott, former director of Innovation Programmes at the Technology Strategy Board and currently non-executive chairman of Oxford Biomaterials, opened the Festival on Wednesday with a talk titled ‘The Epidemiology of Innovation’.

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Thursday (October 2) saw the GeoVation team at the Next Generation Innovators Day at the Three Counties Showground.A day designed to showcase creative science, innovative technology and business entrepreneurship. It was open to senior schools (students in Years 7 to 9) from around the region. We took along our MindCraft Map of the United Kingdom and our Digimap for schools our online mapping service for use by teachers and pupils in schools. Once the pupils found we had MindCraft on our stand we were swamped with beaming faces asking questions abut why we were at the event and why Ordnance Survey had MineCraft on the stand. The Minecraft map of Great Britain has really caught the imagination of users and each month since its release it has had tens of thousands of downloads.

Friday (October 3) focused on the broader topic of innovating in business. Visitors will heard from Lee Strafford, the entrepreneur who founded Plusnet which was sold to BT for £67m.

As part of the Business of Innovating session, Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation hosted a one hour workshop on open innovation together with GeoVation judging Chair and Co-founder and networks partner of 100%Open, Roland Harwood and GeoVation Active lifestyles challenge winner, Sam Parton, co-founder of OpenPlayUK. Roland explained some of the characteristics of open innovation through some interactive fun and games, Chris introduced GeoVation, Ordnance Survey’s open innovation challenge programme, and Sam presented his winning idea, OpenPlayUK and its progression. The session concluded with an introduction to our current housing challenge.

Later in the day Sam Parton pitched his winning idea to a panel of startup experts and the audience to gain constructive feedback and useful connections.

“It was a great opportunity to pitch OpenPlay outside of London which is important as London can be a bit of a bubble. I was over-whelmed by the positive feedback and reactions to where we have got to. I made a couple of great contacts which in itself made the trip more than worthwhile as they should open doors. I also enjoyed using the tried and tested Geovation presentation formula of problem x solution x execution which worked very well” Sam Parton, OpenPlay.

The festival closed on Saturday (October 4) with a specially themed Family Day including guest presentations from Dragons’ Den winner Mark Champkins and broadcaster Quentin Cooper from BBC Radio’s Material World.

Again our stand was kept busy until the festival’s close by Minecrafters (of all ages) excited by the prospect of downloading our Minecraft world, as well as a steady stream of enquiries about GeoVation’s current Housing challenge being run with Land Registry.

In addition, Aston Martin went to Malvern College during the Festival to give an audiovisual presentation about the development and testing of their sports cars.

Dr Adrian Burden, the founder of the Malvern Festival of Innovation, said: “The festival is a really good opportunity for people interested in business and technology innovation from around the region to come together and hear from world experts in their field.”

For the GeoVation team it was great to engage and connect again with another innovative and ambitious, digital community in a beautiful location.

Enter the GeoVation Challenge!