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23rd – 27th February 2015

I took Monday so the week started on a train to London Tuesday morning to join my colleagues for a meeting of the different Heads of thematic areas. I get to join as I deal with the forward plan for Sustainability and I also have the brief to plan the next of our twice-yearly meetings of all the Innovation Programmes staff. At these we work on forward strategy and input our ideas after healthy debate with each other. In April we will get together to look at our plan for the coming financial year as well as new ideas for the next 5 years of the new Government post-election. I have been given the challenge to have us understand it and communicate it from the perspective of economic value (as a taxpayer) and of societal value (as a citizen). The meeting was highly enjoyable and a lunchtime chat with Kevin Baughan (Director of Technology and Innovation who heads up this area) led to an excellent outline plan for the day.

After the meeting I caught up with Vicky Pope of the MetOffice as we talked through plans to help companies use publically funded environmental data and models to understand externalities affecting their business and markets. Our recent competition on this had a great response and we are keen to make use of the UK’s leading expertise and facilities for this.

Wednesday I travelled on to Swindon and our office but started with a call from Natalie Waugh in our Communications team on priority messages for the coming year from the Resource Efficiency programme. I then caught up with our Events team about the Collaboration Nation event we will hold to round off the Solving Business Problems with Environmental Data projects in June. I then joined Nick Cliffe for a briefing of our assessors for the Recovering Valuable Materials from Waste competition which closed as we were talking. We were keen to stress the proposals should be seeking to get the most value from waste streams and we wanted the company with the problem (dealing with the waste) to be involved as well as participation from the potential end-customer of the resource to define the quality and consistency needed to make the business case stack up.

From there I sat down with the Finance team to work through all the team budgets and current forecasts to check everything is on track. I then joined a call on a planned showcase event for our Clean and Cool Mission companies along with organisations that can help them, specifically potential investors. The alumni network we have of 80 fast growing (and high potential growth) SMEs in the cleantech space is an asset we want to grow and support further beyond the Missions. I then had time for a quick chat with our social media lead on how we use Twitter to reach out and highlight our activities and events before heading to my train home. On the way home I had the chance to catch up with Mission alumnus Perpetual V2G who have had a very successful trial saving Sainsbury’s a lot of fuel cost in their truck fleet. Looking forward to seeing them next week.

Thursday and Friday I worked from home to blast through paperwork on our competitions, transfer important files onto our new cloud system, and background to upcoming contracts. I also had calls with two journalists for future pieces on the Missions and investment routes for companies. The week ended with the Sustainability team meeting.

Stat of the week:  More than half of waste going to landfill is from the construction sector

This week’s travel carbon footprint: 48 kg CO2

Mike Pitts