« go back

21st – 25th July 2014

Poor planning saw a week with meetings in different places as a repeating theme. Monday saw a morning meeting with Forum for the Future catching up on our plans on the circular economy and how we can help companies take a systems approach to new value networks to keep key resources flowing back to them. I then dashed across London to catch a train to Swindon for a Sustainability team meeting. This one was special as we had our new Director of Technology and Innovation, Kevin Baughan joining us as well as two new starters in the team. It is always good to hear about the breadth of our combined team which covers Urban Living (opportunities in making cities work better), Low Impact Building (opportunities in how we make more energy and resource efficient buildings), Resource Efficiency (how business makes more money selling less stuff) and Sustainability (understanding how social and environmental drivers create market opportunities). Our colleague Ewa Bloch also joined the meeting; she covers support for EU programmes on climate, environment and resource efficiency and outlined how well that aligned with our portfolios.

After the meeting I met with Peter Dirken about missions and how we need to a) capture the process for planning them better, and; b) what we want from our partnership with UKTI on entrepreneur missions. The latter is very much planned support for companies post-mission as well as in country connections made in advance of the mission.

Tuesday morning was given over to work on the total project portfolio and current budgets. This included a quick meeting with colleagues at NERC to make sure their co-funding of certain competitions was coming to us at the right time for them and us. I then tried to dash back home for a late term scan of my son who is 8 weeks from birth. Sadly the train system had other ideas and I was caught at Newport (again) having watched the connection I wanted pull out as the first train pulled in; horrible feeling. The extended journey home gave me chance to further update our project spreadsheets and understand coming cash flow.

Wednesday was a day of phone calls starting with one on building circular economy into the scope of an upcoming Built Environment call. The use of Building Information Modelling tools is a key theme in the programme and it seems they could enable the use of circular economy products ranging from reusable building frames to service provided contents such as lighting. In fact these ideas were the subject of a later call with Construction Manager. Nice to link up topics in a day!

I also had a call from Nicky Conway (Forum for the Future) as she tries to keep me on track with our joint work while she is on a six week sabbatical, and GreenWise who were keen to connect with cleantech SMEs who need help with marketing. I worked on the outline of our next circular economy competition and the day ended with a call from Toine Roozen at the KTN about using Horizons in upcoming events.

While travelling the next morning (to Swindon initially) I worked on Horizons tool presentation material for the KTN before joining a meeting on the process for our entrepreneur missions with TSB and UKTI colleagues. After that I raced to London for a joint meeting with our Digital team colleagues to discuss areas of overall. There are a lot of these and we’ll work to connect businesses across them. With the sweltering temperatures we did pause the meeting for ice lollies when an ice cream van pulled up outside!

After the meeting we shepherded an unaware Richard Miller to a surprise party for his birthday (I won’t reveal which one but it was a significant one). The party had a lot of old faces and current colleagues and the evening wasn’t long enough to catch up with all of them; even Jonathan Porritt popped by.

The next day I caught up with Guy Pattison on the Clean and Cool Mission planning and tried to clear my inbox of the most urgent issues. I finished the day being interviewed by a University of Sussex student, Pip Roddis, on innovation that helps protect the environment.

Other topics discussed this week: tattoos, finding your way around festivals, party/drinking games.

Stat of the week:  UK recycling rates were up just 0.2 per cent between 2012 and 2013. Source:

This week’s travel carbon footprint: 92 kg CO2

Mike Pitts