Using the Geovation Hub as a Geovation winner
A guest blog from Richard Page of Carbon Prophet, a winner of our 2013 Environment Challenge. Several of our winners from various challenges have already begun to make use of the Geovation Hub and find it a great place to work, network, innovate, and share ideas.
It is always exciting to be asked to attend the launch of something and so, when an email dropped into my inbox inviting me to the launch of the all new Geovation Hub, I quickly accepted.
For those who don’t know, the Hub is designed to be a collaborative space where geographers, developers, challenge winners and others can come together to ensure that winning ideas can access all the support that they need to make a success of their projects.
So, it was with real excitement that I found myself, at 5pm on a Thursday evening, being escorted into the Geovation Hub. I won’t go into the details of the evening that will be done in much more detail by others, but I do want to explain why I feel that the Hub is important.
Green innovation ventures for sustainability
This Friday is World Environment Day.
World Environment Day was established in 1973 and takes place annually on 5 June. The event is organised by the United Nations Environment Programme, each year around a different theme. The theme this year is sustainable consumption and production.
As a part of its community focus, GeoVation takes an interest in events and projects that support the environment. Our 2013 Environment Challenge, ‘How can we help British business improve environmental performance?’, was very successful and led to funding for four ideas, all of which encourage sustainable living practices.
New educational resources from GeoCraft
Things have been getting very exciting for GeoCraft over the past few months!
We have been busy creating maps and educational resources for teachers to use with their students of interesting places around the UK. We were able to launch our first free resources for key stage 2 and key stage 3 teachers on glaciated features on Mount Snowdon in February. This teaches pupils about the glaciation process before they re-building the glacier that once existed on Snowdon using Minecraft. The map and resource can be downloaded free from our website.
We’re launching our next Geography resource for our Snowdon map next. This resource teaches pupils about compasses, coordinates and grid references as through a series of activities, including building their own compass in Minecraft.
Streetkleen: Helping make Britain a better place to live
By Gary Downie, MD of Streetkleen Bio
Streetkleen Bio was the winner of the ‘How do we improve the environmental performance of British business?’ GeoVation Challenge.
They say inspiration can strike in the most unusual places. For me my eureka moment came three years ago while trying to maneuver my son’s buggy around the piles of dog poo littering the streets near my home.
Everyone deserves to live in a nice environment and as studies have shown, dog fouling can really bring neighbourhoods down, deterring both investment and visitors.
I was incensed that some irresponsible dog owners refused to clear up after their pets but I was also struck by the waste. In nature nothing is wasted, but we humans have an annoying habit of just burying things in the ground instead of doing something useful with them. What a waste of natural assets!
Dog poo, just like sewage and farm manure is an excellent feedstock for anaerobic digestion – a biological process that produces bio gas for heating and creating electricity. It’s a technology that’s been around for decades, but as energy prices soar and the impact on our climate of burning fossil fuels becomes apparent, government and industry alike are looking to anaerobic digestion as an important part of the renewable energy strategy. (more…)
The future is bright, the future is CARBON!
Todays guest blog is by Richard Page, of Carbon Prophet, one of our winners from our Challenge in May 2013: ‘How do we help British business improve environmental performance’ – supported by the Environment Agency. Carbon Prophet were awarded £29,000 and also won the Community Award of £1,000.
AR Carbon received the final tranche of its GeoVation grant funding. As we are seven months into our project ‘Carbon Prophet’ and looking to launch ourselves into the open market, it seems the ideal time to see how things are progressing.
Our project is all about encouraging farmers to rebuild the natural fertility of their soils. One of the most obvious ways of achieving this is to encourage the use of compost as a source of nutrients and as a way of improving soil structure. Obviously we don’t want to use peat-based composts, so we need to find significant supplies of an alternative and that means using green waste compost. Unfortunately, this is not as straightforward as you might think; most green waste compost needs significant work to improve it before it is suitable for use on commercial farms. So, in order to ensure sufficient supplies of a quality product, we have opened negotiations with a number of local authorities to work with them to improve the product that they produce and we aim to have high quality green waste compost available for the start of spring 2015.
Minecraft in the classroom
Today’s guest blog is from Zoe Ross of Happy Education. Zoe was awarded funding of £28,000 to develop her idea, GeoCraft, in our GeoVation Challenge, How can we help British businesses improve environmental performance, supported by the Environment Agency.
GeoCraft enables schools and local businesses to work together to encourage learning about sustainability through Minecraft, a hugely popular video game set in virtual 3D worlds made up of cubes of different materials. Using Ordnance Survey data, it would stimulate children to think about environmental challenges and ideas to solve these, and could be fed back to the local business to implement. Zoe tells us what’s been happened since winning funding form GeoVation.
‘That was the best lesson ever!’
This is music to the ears of any teacher and something that I’ve been lucky enough to hear on many occasions in the last few months as I have been trialing our GeoCraft project with the Year 6 pupils at Yorston Lodge School.
Pupils’ delight in and enthusiasm for the club has been palpable and their feedback and suggestions for improving the project has been invaluable.
Geovation winners join thought-leaders exploring sustainability driven innovation
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.
Innovation from problem to pitch
Ever wondered what happens before we launch a GeoVation Challenge? Who decides how we focus the challenge? What really happens at GeoVation Camp and how are the winners decided?
We’ve uploaded a presentation which details the journey of the GeoVation Environment Challenge – from discovering the problems to idea generation and pitching and selection of winners at GeoVation Camp; ‘ Innovation from problem to pitch’ which you can see below.
To start off we ran a Problem PowWow in Bristol with people who have perspectives on the barriers that hinder businesses from improving their environmental performance.to ‘unpack’ the problems associated with the challenge.
Funding announced for green innovation ventures
If you’ve been following the GeoVation blog you’ll be aware that we recently announced the four successful finalists from our GeoVation Challenge to improve the environment
Following on from this the Judging Panel met on Wednesday to confirm the amount of innovation funding the green innovation ventures will receive. The £101,000 awarded by Ordnance Survey will be split as follows:
Carbon Prophet will be awarded £29,000. They will use the funding to create a soil carbon map of the UK using Ordnance Survey data, and a trading portal for carbon offsetting schemes. Soil testing and the use of Ordnance Survey data will enable farmers to see the carbon levels in their soil and encourage them to release the value of this, mitigating the effects of greenhouse gases by increasing the levels of carbon in their soils. Carbon Prophet also won the Community Award of £1,000.
GeoCraft will be awarded £28,000 to develop their idea which will enable schools and local businesses to work together to encourage learning about sustainability through Minecraft. Using Ordnance Survey data, it will stimulate children to think about environmental challenges and ideas to solve these, which can be fed back to the local business to implement.
Innovation without the smoke and mirrors
Our recent GeoVation Challenge asked innovators to find ways to use mapping to help British business to be more environmental efficient and effective using Ordnance Survey products and services in the solution. The finalists from the challenge participated in a weekend of no nonsense innovation at GeoVation Camp to work on developing their ideas.
Simon Redding of Environment Agency said: ‘Participants here [the weekend camp] have shown simple ways of improving their business assisted by digital tools, clever business processes and working together.’
During the weekend innovators focussed on the formula that Innovation = Problem x Solution x Execution to help them to develop their ideas and be ‘match fit to pitch’ to the judging panel at the end of the weekend. Participants were impressed by the support offered which included help with design, technology and geography and by how their ideas progressed over the weekend. At the end of the weekend 4 winners were selected to receive innovation funding to develop their ideas further.
Watch the Environment Camp video below to find out more:
Green ventures get the green light thanks to GeoVation
Last week we announced the four successful finalists from our GeoVation Challenge to improve the environment that were chosen to be awarded a share of £100,000 in innovation funding to develop their ideas. They are:
In the video below you can see the reactions from the green ventures on being selected to receive funding and what they thought of the GeoVation Camp weekend.
Ant Parsons, Environment Agency Business Innovation Manager, and a member of the the the judging panel said: “helping to judge this GeoVation Challenge has been really exciting. No one knew what sort of interest we would get to help business improve the environment but the entries offer solutions to a range of important and difficult challenges. What a great way to bring together environmental challenges that are important to people with entrepreneurs, designers, technology, geography and then see new businesses form as a result – brilliant!”
See more in our news release
GeoVation winners to help save the environment
Well done to everyone who took part in the GeoVation Camp for our environment themed GeoVation Challenge which was held at Ordnance Survey head office in Southampton over the weekend. The GeoVation Challenge called for ideas to help British business improve their environmental performance.
As well having the opportunity develop a prototype venture and develop their pitches, we offered teams support from service designers, geography students and information on Ordnance Survey products and services over the weekend. We also had helpers from the Environment Agency who were supporting this challenge. The sheer level of energy from the 10 invited teams and all the helpers was truly inspiring.
At the end of an exciting weekend, the teams were visited by the judging panel to find out how their ideas were progressing and they also presented a short 2-minute pecha kucha type pitch to the judges and invited audience.
The audience also voted for their favourite idea to win the Community Award of £1,000.
All of the invited teams received feedback and the judges offered advice on how they could take their ideas forward and possible connections.
The four successful finalists that will be awarded a share of £100,000 in innovation funding to develop their ideas to save the environment are: