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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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
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.
Let the Geovation Challenge Judging Begin
Thank you all for responding to our call to help make our communities greener and smarter in our latest Geovation Challenge. There have been some great ideas submitted between 4 October and 29 November 2016 and thanks again go to those that have registered and engaged in the Geovation Ideas Platform.
Written by Sasha Catchpole
Now that the Geovation Challenge is closed, the judging panel will begin to look through the submitted ideas and select winners to invite to a 3-day Geovation Camp and Conference at the Royal Geographical Society from 14-16 February 2018. See the timetable here. We are delighted to be supported by our sponsors Innovate UK and Northumbrian Water Group. We’re offering the winners an all-expenses-paid place at this mini startup accelerator and conference, worth up to £8K per team, equipping them with all the knowledge and skills needed to begin their start-up journey. See more about why Innovate UK and Northumbrian Water Group are supporting the challenge.
Even if you are not successful this time around, remember to 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”.
The judging panel will be looking for ideas that offer innovative solutions to the problems that our communities and cities face, and which can ultimately become commercially sustainable business ventures. They’ll be looking in particular for those solutions that are focussing on the core areas of how we improve health and wellbeing, support the local economy, enhance the natural environment and enable sustainable living, and can demonstrate that their ideas will use geographical information, technology and good design as the building blocks of their venture. Those ideas that are successful will be able to show that they have done their research and know their problem inside out – and ultimately how they will deliver value to the user or customer.
Meet the Judging Panel
Alex Wrottesley – Head of Geovation
With 18 years’ experience running media and technology businesses, Alex and his team help entrepreneurs and innovators create, build and grow new ventures that use spatial data and insight to deliver ground-breaking products and services. The Geovation Hub aims to deliver a new approach to stimulating growth in the geospatial industry by offering hands on support, education, workspace and development resource in a world-class location.
Dr. Alison Prendiville –
We are delighted to welcome back to the judging panel Dr Alison Prendiville, whose expertise is in Design and Service Design has built her internationally recognised reputation as a researcher and academic leader. She was formerly Course Director for the MDes Service Design Innovation at LCC/UAL, focusing on the role of design as a catalyst for multi-disciplinary team working, particularly within the areas of healthcare and societal challenges. She’s an expert in the fields of service design, digital anthropology, creative economies and connected communities. Her PhD (2001) investigated the specification of engineering hardware in the design of public transport systems and the design of the passenger service experience, and she was a researcher on the EU Framework IV Programme MIMIC (Modality, Inter-modality and Interchange) investigating transport interchanges and the barriers to the seamless journey. She is an Associate of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the RSA.
Clive Surman-Wells – Operations Solutions Manager, Northumbrian Water Group
Clive has worked for Northumbrian Water Group for 11 years and currently manages GIS & Positioning, Asset Systems and Operational Technology as Operational Solutions Manager. After studying Surveying Science at Newcastle upon Tyne, Clive started his career as a land surveyor before moving into mainstream IT/IS with manufacturers Nissan Yamato, Silentnight Furniture, Mi-King and Philips Components. He also spent time in project management with British Airways and in Business Solutions with Sunderland Council before coming full circle back into the world of GIS.
Julie Procter – CEO, Greenspace Scotland
With over 25 years’ experience working in the environmental sector, she is passionate about the importance of greenspace close to where people live and the many benefits it delivers for people, places and communities. Julie led the development of the first greenspace scotland map in 2011 and project managed the Scottish partnership working with Ordnance Survey to develop the new OS Greenspace products. greenspace Scotland is Scotland’s parks and greenspace charity working towards the goal that everyone living and working in urban Scotland should have easy access to quality greenspace which meets local needs and improves their quality of life. Current greenspace scotland programmes include: Young Placechangers, Climate Change Parks, Tesco Bags of Help community grants, ParkPower, food growing strategies, and MyParkScotland – Scotland’s only crowdfunding platform specifically for parks and greenspaces.
Niraj Saraf – Urban Innovation Lead, Innovate UK
Niraj brings to this 25 years’ experience of policy and strategy development, and programme management across public, private, and voluntary sector organisations in the UK and internationally. Since joining Innovate UK, Niraj has: invested in projects making innovative use of integrated city data; co-designed and funded a competition for placemaking projects; lead international entrepreneur missions; and designed and facilitated events aimed at advancing knowledge and understanding in the field of urban innovation. Niraj started his first business venture at the age of 13 and in 2005, helped launch a proper startup, making him the ideal candidate to help decide the winners of this challenge.
The winners who are selected will be informed by 18 December and we’ll announce this on the blog in the following week. Those winners invited to attend the Geovation Camp will have the opportunity to progress their idea to a developed business venture, supported by a range of industry professionals. Winners will have access to mentors, business advisors and designers, all passionate about helping you get ready to pitch for grant funding or a place on Ordnance Survey’s start-up accelerator, the Geovation Programme, at the Conference on Day 3. The judging panel will then select those winners whose ideas are identified as having the potential to make the greatest impact.
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 as having the potential to make the greatest impact. This money will help develop, launch and scale those ventures selected. Through funding or a place on the Geovation Programme we support you every step of the journey, to learn the essential skills and gain experience, until you’re ready to spread your wings as a fully-fledged start-up.
Good luck to all those that submitted their ideas – watch this space for the judging announcement in a few weeks’ time.
Urban Living Birmingham supports a greener, smarter city
The Greener, Smarter Communities and Cities Geovation Challenge is focussed on developing solutions to communities’ real needs for future-proofing the communities and cities in which we live. Geovation sees ‘smart communities’ as placing people first, with technology, simply, as one ingredient.
Joined by our lead sponsors, Innovate UK and Northumbrian Water, the Geovation Challenge launched on 4th October and is open to idea entries until noon 29th November 2017.
The Geovation Challenge is focussing on four problem areas that we are asking for your ideas on:
How can we improve health and wellbeing?
How can we support the local economy?
How can we enable sustainable living?
How can we enhance the natural environment?
Our enthusiasm to tackle these challenge areas is supported by many others who are committed to addressing similar challenges, including Greenspace Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Exeter City Futures, Green Halo, Bristol Natural History Consortium, Oxford County Council, and Urban Living Birmingham.
In this blog we explore how the research project is striving for solutions to these problems, and how those with interests in the Birmingham City area can work with Urban Living Birmingham to build ideas suitable for the Geovation Challenge.
Urban Living Birmingham is a research initiative with the aim of stimulating innovation to develop and deliver integrated, city-wide solutions that “have the potential to transform the city into a prosperous, healthy and vibrant living place”. Similar to Geovation’s formula for successful innovation – whereby this depends on finding a real problem, building a viable solution to it, and executing it sustainably with prospect to scale – a city-wide problem for Birmingham was identified:
“Appetite for innovation in the development and delivery of Birmingham’s services is high, but the degree of success and ability to integrate these innovations into mainstream strategies and policies varies greatly. Therein lies the paradox, and it has become evident that there is a missed opportunity for Birmingham, and British cities more generally, to co-innovate by effectively drawing upon end-users.”
Urban Living Birmingham is a consortium of universities led by the University of Birmingham and including Birmingham City University, Aston University and the University of Warwick. Those involved come from engineering, economics, psychology, planning and governance backgrounds, amongst other disciplines, and they are working alongside practitioners from the private and public sectors within Birmingham and its wider region.
The Geovation Challenge shares key problem themes that Urban Living Birmingham has researched, including equity of access to health services, simultaneously creating a smart and a green city, transport and barriers to city mobility, and transforming governance for multiple innovation processes – overall, focussing on a city that can be liveable and sustainable.
Sharing Geovation principles of open innovation and a people-first approach, the Urban Living Birmingham consortium is committed to encouraging the design and implementation of solutions to Birmingham’s challenges that go beyond the standard ‘user-centric’ approach. They think it is not enough to simply listen to the users of city services, but that the users themselves should be empowered to be the innovators of the solutions. Such an approach contributes to a more resilient Birmingham that, ultimately, provides better outcomes for people.
Under the Health and Wellbeing theme, the Geovation Challenge places strong emphasis on empowering community action. We have deep-dived into this problem space, finding that ignoring basic community needs leads to lack of care and of quality of spaces and city facilities. Engagement with, and ownership of, spaces and facilities is needed by every community, with powerful, joined up data to ensure they are fit for purpose, receive the right investment and are sustainable. Research shows that community ownership of spaces, services and activities leads to 75% greater engagement by citizens, helping to leverage stronger cases for financial investment which local authorities are otherwise not wholly able to do (Locality, 2016). As well as the need to integrate those with local expert knowledge, participation from top-down influencers is also needed. Urban Living Birmingham is familiar with these problem spaces in Birmingham, and stresses the need for innovative solutions that cut across different policy silos.
With Urban Living Birmingham as experts in the problem space, Geovation can help support those who have entrepreneurial spirit to turn their idea into a serious business venture that is sustainable and scalable to help create greener, smarter communities and cities.
If you’re a UK start-up, or individual willing to team up, and want to help solve pressing issues with improving health and wellbeing, supporting the local economy, enabling sustainable living and enhancing the natural environment within cities whilst using location information, then the Geovation Challenge is perfect for you.
Winners of the Challenge will get an all-expenses-paid place at the 3-day Geovation Camp and Conference in London in February 2018. This Camp will equip you with the tools to build a sustainable business model and create a pitch to maximise your chance of success. There will be an opportunity to pitch for funding and a place on the Geovation Programme.
The dragons-den style Conference will give you an exclusive audience of investors and influential stakeholders in greener, smarter cities who are also interested in supporting your idea. The Geovation Challenges is the perfect accelerator to get your GeoTech business off the ground!
The Geovation Challenge is open to UK-based organisations or residents, aged 18 or over. The Geovation Camp and Conference takes place in London, 14-16 February 2018.
Geovation Camp & Conference 2018
Are you sitting on an idea that could make our communities and cities more future-proof? Would you like to create a real business and connect with the people to make this happen? We’re offering you an amazing opportunity to make this a reality through our latest Geovation Challenge focussing on Greener Smarter Communities. Winners will be offered an all-expenses-paid place at a 3-day mini startup accelerator and conference, worth up to £8K per team, which will equip you will all you need to begin this journey.
At the Geovation Camp and Conference, you will get the chance to test your idea in the ideal environment for it to flourish and grow. You’ll connect with smart, passionate people and be exposed to the right tools and approaches to take the leap towards creating your company. During the intensive 2-day Camp, we will help you take your idea to new heights through the dizzying roller coaster experience. You’ll get to feel what its really like to be a start-up, testing your idea with mentors, business advisors and designers – and getting the benefit of their expertise to help you get your idea off the ground.
At the Conference on Day 3, you will be ready to pitch your idea to investors, funders, sponsors, policy-makers and community leaders – the very people who can work with you to make this happen. The sponsors of this challenge, Innovate UK and the Northumbrian Water Group will be on hand to support you throughout the 3 days.
“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 [here] 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
“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. It’s a really great environment to get involved in.” – Clive Surman-Wells, Operations Solutions Manager, Northumbrian Water
At Geovation we firmly believe that by solving a worthwhile problem you’ll have the best advantage to succeed. Through funding or a place on Ordnance Survey’s start-up accelerator, the Geovation Programme, we support you every step of the journey, to learn essential skills and gain experience, until you’re ready to spread your wings as a fully-fledged start-up. Don’t miss out on this fabulous experience – enter the Geovation Challenge today!
To enter visit: https://geovation.uk/challenge/
The Challenge closes for applications on 29 Nov 2017 and is open to UK-based organisations or residents, aged 18 or over. The Geovation Camp and Conference takes place in London from 14-16 February 2018.
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.
“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“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.
Attend a workshop in Exeter, Manchester & Glasgow
Are you interested in how we can make our communities and cities more future-proof? Would you like to develop an idea using smart technologies with the potential to build this into a sustainable business?
Our next Geovation Challenge 2017 is looking for innovative solutions that will help make our communities greener, smarter and sustainable. Entrants will be in with a chance of winning an all-expenses paid place at our 3-day Geovation Camp and Conference in London in February 2018.
To help you understand the problems and give you a head start in entering the competition, we’re holding workshops around Britain – workshops that could change your life and help save the planet!
‘The Geovation Challenge process is fantastic. It has helped me to shape and elevate ideas into forming a commercially-viable company that is exporting services internationally and working with well-known brands and institutions. The process has also directly inspired, incubated and catalysed our innovative work to make London the world’s first NationalPark City’ Dan Raven-Ellison, Founder of London’s National Park City Foundation
Winners of the Geovation Challenge will be invited to 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 the opportunity to pitch for funding or a place on the Geovation Programme, the perfect funded accelerator to get your GeoTech business off the ground.
The Challenge will open on 4 October 2017 and is open to UK-based organisations or residents, aged 18 or over.
Underground Assets Challenge: What happened at Camp?
Geovation’s 10th Challenge asked ‘How can we better manage our underground assets, in Britain?’
Through OS’ open innovation approach of the Geovation initiative, last summer 2016 the Geovation team began conducting rigorous “deep digging” to uncover and better understand the problems in underground asset management. Catapulting from a key problem-identifying “deep dig” session, which uniquely gathered cross-industry stakeholders together in one room, great insight was gained on the burning challenges in this problem space. (more…)
Challenge ideas invited to Geovation Camp
The Geovation Challenge judging panel have now selected a shortlist of five finalists, who have been invited to develop their ideas at a 2.5 day Geovation Camp. The ideas have been selected based on their ability to offer innovative solutions to the problems associated with managing underground assets and which have the potential to become commercially sustainable. The Geovation Camp, which is being sponsored by BGS, will be held at Ordnance Survey in Southampton from 1-3 February 2017.
The finalists are…
Realising that outside of a technical office there exists a lack of knowledge of geological, geophysical and environmental risks which affect public and private assets, GeoPharos aims to create a map-based digital environment to aggregate, interpret and showcase these diverse range of datasets. Enabling citizens and stakeholders to check for environmental subsurface risk hotspots at different scales, this can help identify potential problems and management needs of both their underground and above-ground assets.
Aiding the prevention of damage to underground assets, ‘Routes to the Roots’ is a system for modelling existing and future tree root structure and growth, providing visualisation of how roots interact with underground assets, in a specific location. Insights gained can also be used to aid the selection of appropriate trees for planting in urban and peri-urban environments, meanwhile positively contributing to flood prevention in an area.
Demystifying the lack of visibility of stakeholders for a given area – the ownership of land, its users, development potential and relation to the environment and geophysical properties – ‘Lie of the Land’ aims to make identification and communication easier between owners of underground assets and all interested parties. Through an open, web-based, location-driven portal, both open and commercial datasets will be leveraged to provide simple access to vital information about land, enabling better collaboration in infrastructure projects and reduced risk of damage to third party assets.
Addressing a lack of access to detailed underground asset data, ‘National Underground Register’ intends to regularly obtain copies of utilities’ data on underground assets and translate into a location-based database. Through a permit authorised user access scheme with specialised 3D graphical software, and tablet and phone applications, this data can be better accessed and extracted.
Addressing no online national mapping system to instantly show all underground utility assets to any interested party, ‘Online Mart’ proposes to build a one-stop online shop – publishing, selling and distributing maps of underground assets – and meanwhile creating a national repository of underground assets. Through additional provision of a mobile application for field workers, any inaccuracies or omissions can be fed back into the mapping platform and passed onto the relevant utility companies.
The finalists will have the opportunity to learn about the essential components for innovation and work on transforming their ideas into prototype ventures. On the final day of camp they will pitch their ideas to the judging panel who will invite up to 3 teams to join the 12 month funded Geovation Programme.
Participants will also be able to vote for their favourite idea to receive the £1,000 Community Award prize.
You can read more about the ideas and continue to comment on them here
Feedback on previous Geovation Challenge Camps:
A once in a ‘project-lifetime’ experience, receiving in-depth scrutiny and expert guidance, being surrounded by innovation and design experts in an environment designed to bring out the best in your team and your idea. Absolutely brilliant.
Geovation is an excellent initiative and promoted a truly exceptional experience with real focus and a higher than usual dedication to achieving great results. Well done to all involved, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to stretch themselves and achieve a better plan than they could have on their own. A real testament to the power of teamwork!
Let the Geovation Challenge judging begin
Thank you all for responding to our call to help better manage underground assets in Britain in our latest Geovation Challenge. There have been some great ideas submitted between 19 October and 30 November 2016 and lots of people have registered and engaged on the Geovation Ideas Platform.
Now that the Geovation Challenge is closed the judging panel will start reading through the ideas to select finalists to invite to a 2.5 day Geovation Camp at Ordnance Survey in Southampton from 1-3 February 2017. See the timetable. We are delighted to be collaborating with BGS as sponsors of the Geovation Camp, find out more in this blog post by one of the judges Dr. Kathrine Royse “The importance of Geology in Underground Asset management“
The panel will be looking for ideas that offer innovative solutions to the underground assets problems and which can become commercially sustainable. Alex Wrottesley, Head of Geovation is chairing the judging panel. Find out more about him and the panel below:
The Geovation Hub aims to deliver a new approach to stimulating growth in the geospatial industry by offering hands on support, education, workspace and development resource in a world-class location. With 18 years’ experience running media and technology businesses, Alex and his team help entrepreneurs and innovators create, build and grow new ventures that use spatial data and insight to deliver ground-breaking products and services.
An expert in the fields of service design, digital anthropology, creative economies and connected communities. Her PhD (2001) investigated the specification of engineering hardware in the design of public transport systems and the design of the passenger service experience. Alison was a researcher on the EU Framework IV Programme MIMIC (Modality, Inter-modality and Interchange) investigating transport interchanges and the barriers to the seamless journey.
At an international level OS is pioneering global interoperability smart cities through machine learning, as well as exploring the new fields of connected vehicles, IoT and 5G. Originally a chemist, Miranda has a personal interest in the measurement of air quality and its correlation with greenspace; but this is only one example of places becoming smart – adopting practical solutions for citizens, businesses and visitors united by place.
Kathrine develops novel methods and techniques to gain added-value from BGS’s data holdings; using a trans-disciplinary approach to produce models that explain, explore and predict the Earth’s response to natural or human induced environmental change. Her research at BGS has focused around the development of 3D geological models for decision support and hazard mitigation in the urban environment. She is a member of NERCs Innovation Advisory board providing advice on how best to translate environmental knowledge and data into new value adding approaches, tools and solutions.
Matt is accountable for the end-to-end asset data and information lifecycle, including collection and capture, asset registers and geospatial systems management, data quality management and analytics. Prior to joining UK Power Networks in 2008, Matt operated in various management and leadership roles within the construction and building services sector. He is a highly experienced business and data management professional with a deep knowledge of business strategy and planning, as well as leading multi-site / multi-disciplinary teams.
Jane works closely with key players in the energy and infrastructure sector, where OS geospatial data and services are an integral part of the effective management of all infrastructure including underground assets. The location and interoperability of data provides greater connectivity between assets and enables collaboration across functions, disciplines, and organisations.
The finalists who are selected will be informed by 16 December which will be announced on the blog in the following week.
The finalists who attend Geovation Camp will have the opportunity to work on transforming their ideas into prototype ventures. On the final day of camp they will pitch their ideas to the judging panel who will invite up to 3 teams to join the 12 month funded Geovation Programme.
BGS sponsoring Geovation Camp 2017
This is a guest blog post from Dr Katherine Royse, Science Director for GeoAnalytics and Modelling at the British Geological Survey (BGS). The Directorate develops novel methods and techniques to gain added-value from BGS’s data holdings; using a trans-disciplinary approach to produce models that explain, explore and predict the Earth’s response to natural or human induced environmental change. Her research at BGS has focused around the development of 3D geological models for decision support and hazard mitigation in the urban environment. She is a member of NERCs Innovation Advisory board providing advice on how best to translate environmental knowledge and data into new value adding approaches, tools and solutions.
The importance of Geology in Underground Asset management
At the British Geological Survey we are passionate about using our knowledge of the subsurface geology to enable sustainable economic development and the wise management of our natural resources. This is why we were keen to work with the Geovation team this year and sponsor the ‘Underground Assets’ challenge. What excites me most about this challenge is working with people from many different professional backgrounds to produce novel and innovative solutions to the current issues around asset management.
The physical and chemical properties (the geology) of the ground beneath our feet is critically important when assessing the maintenance and performance costs of the UK’s underground assets. All too often the geology of the subsurface is missing from asset management decisions. At BGS we are really hoping that the ideas coming forward in this challenge will be able to help us put geological data at the heart of the decision making process for subsurface assets.
Why is this important? Well unexpected ground conditions cause around 33% of all major construction project overspends. Ground movements caused by changes in temperature and soil moisture (swell-shrink) cost around £300-500m each year in damage and maintenance costs to our subsurface infrastructure. These ground movements often result in pipe breakage causing issues from interrupting supply through to flooding and road closures.
Civil engineers and surveyors will always need to build structures and lay pipelines in difficult ground conditions and it is therefore essential to address the problems that result as management of these conditions are easier and cheaper to deal with at the time structures are buried than the remediation and maintenance costs post construction. For example corrosion prevention is often the most economical solution when compared with conventional removal and repair methods. This isn’t new, thirty seven years ago the ‘Hoar Report’ was commissioned to evaluate the cost of corrosion to the national economy of the UK. The report estimated the cost to be approximately 3-4% gross domestic product (GDP).
Since then the development of new construction materials and methods has reduced this cost to an estimated 2.5% – 3.5% GDP (DTI, 2000). Whilst corrosion is being managed more effectively today, it is still a significant concern and cost burden to the nation. In recent years, public and media interest has focused on the cost of leakage from water supply pipelines, but buried assets, whether pipe-work, cabling, sewers or building foundations, present their own challenges as problems are largely hidden from view and are difficult to assess and manage. This years Geovation challenge highlights the need for interdisciplinary work in this area and that the subsurface is every bit as important as the surface in critical infrastructure provision in the UK.
National Workshops: Now on tour
We’ve teamed up with leading innovation agency, Nonon, and business and service design experts from London College of Communication and Natural Flow for a series of national Geovation Challenge Workshops. Kicking off the national tour at the Urban Innovation Centre in London last week, we’re traveling the UK looking for innovative solutions to how we can better manage our underground assets and to ensure that you walk away with the knowledge to build your idea from start to finish.
At our first workshop at the Geovation Hub in London last week, we worked with a group of fascinatingly diverse backgrounds – all keen to learn more about the Geovation Challenge. At the workshops we delve into what we mean by ‘innovation’ and apply the Geovation formula, “Innovation = Problem x Solution x Execution”. At Geovation, we believe that successful innovation depends on building a viable solution to a real problem, and executed as a sustainable, scalable business.
Having teamed up with leading innovation agency, Nonon, and business and service design experts from London College of Communication and Natural Flow Consultancy, we explore each of these aspects, giving you a toolkit of preparatory resources to help you focus and elevate any idea proposition. The workshops give ample space for group discussion, questions, digging deeper into the problem areas of #whatliesbeneath, learning about current Geovation ventures, and even opportunity for team match-making.
Whether you take part in the Geovation Challenge or not, these workshops provide valuable insight into the essentials of starting your own business and developing location-based ideas; opportunity for networking; and how you can gain support from Geovation in other ways. Winners of the Geovation Challenge receive a place on the Geovation Programme, the perfect funded accelerator to get your GeoTech business off the ground.
Apply to the Challenge: APPLY NOW
The Challenge is open to UK-based organisations or residents, aged 18 or over.
From a simple idea to great innovation: the power of service design
What makes for great innovation? Many things. In Bill Gross’ 2015 Ted Talk, he draws on his experience of being a multi-time founder of dozens of start-ups, exploring what factors make start-ups succeed: from the team it’s made up of, the business model and grassroots funding, the idea itself, and its place and timing. Geovation Challenges work to incubate start-ups from the very root sowing of the seed: coming up with an idea and turning it into a prototype venture, as embarked upon at the Challenge Camp where finalists test and build upon their ideas, competing to win support by a place on the Geovation Programme.
There’s a lot of talk about design these days, but beyond the compelling word and something that ‘might be nice to have’, what actually makes ‘design’ and what value does it give that is increasingly being recognised by businesses (small and large) as critical to success?
Geovation believes and places emphasis on the importance of service design in innovation. The open definition of ‘service design’ is “the activity of planning and organising people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers”. Put simply, if you are building a service for people it should be relevant, useful, responsive and friendly. A fundamental of a start-up venture according to the Lean Startup Model is user research. As Eric Ries, pioneer of the Lean Startup movement says in his book, “Too many startups begin with an idea for a product they think people want. They then spend months, sometimes years, perfecting that product without ever showing the product, even in a very rudimentary form, to the prospective customer. When they fail to reach broad uptake from customers, it is often because they never spoke to prospective customers and determined whether or not the product was interesting. When the customers ultimately communicate… that they don’t care about the idea, the startup fails”.
Let’s look at some real-world examples of good service design. What do Airbnb, Spotify and Uber have in common? Despite their different industries, the effectiveness of their service has been the centre point of each of their success. They empower users in a great way to do simple things that have always been around – renting a room, enjoying music, and travelling across cities. Chief Design Officer at the Design Council sums up these companies’ use of service design: “the shaping of service experiences so that they really work for people. Removing the lumps and bumps that make them frustrating, and then adding some magic to make them compelling.
Can you think about services you personally use and really enjoy using? What is it do you think that makes your experience positive? It can be surprising how the little, supposedly mundane aspects that may otherwise be overlooked, can make all the difference to the service overall. Taking a service-design approach involves paying attention to every aspect: “Design is not just how it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works” – as Steve Jobs put it. Services make up 77% of UK’s GDP and design-led companies who provide excellent customer experience outperform the S&P 500 by 43%. Through Geovation Challenge Camp, teams are given a taster of this fundamental element of product development, with help from experienced Service Design Innovation MDes students and graduates from London College of Communication, and expert service design facilitators, Nonon.
You will be encouraged to speak and work with others; to test your ideas, to prototype it, to talk to users and listen carefully to feedback to constantly be informing and re-informing the design. Service-design testing is ensuring the customer experience will be positive, a crucial exercise in the process of turning your idea into a prototype venture.
Geovation’s next open innovation challenge will be on underground assets – ‘How can we better manage our underground assets, in Britain?’ Stay tuned via our blog, tweets or contact us if you’d like to find out more.