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2nd – 6th March 2015

A four day week in London started on Monday at the Hub Westminster with Charly of Long Run Ventures learning about my whole brain thinking preferences. I learned that my past awkwardness in working with scientists (leaded research teams as a trained scientist myself) stem from my preference for holistic, big-picture thinking rather than process and data. We have been using the approach to help our Clean and Cool Mission companies understand the need to appeal to all types of thinkers in their pitches and dealings with potential investors and partners to get their messages across.

I then worked with Ollie Graham to prepare a film summarising the Horizons tool for my colleagues and a shorter version for external audiences to help them use it in preparing applications to us. The tool helps innovators consider environmental and social drivers of market change – so better understanding the context of business opportunities. I eventually blundered my way through both scripts before joining a meeting on our latest competitions by phone then working on the forward plan for the Sustainability team in the evening.

Tuesday Nick Cliffe and I launched our Circular Economy: Business Models competition at the Resource Event and made ourselves available on a joint stand with the KTN all day to answer further questions on the call. We were ably supported by Anna Warrington of Forum for the Future with a well received explanation of the ‘value networks’ concept and Gerrard Fisher of WRAP on what needs to be considered in a business model for the circular economy. The whole event was organised by Catherine Joce of the KTN who did a fantastic job of helping connect companies and advise them throughout.

I managed to find the time to join M&S in a short open innovation workshop collecting ideas for two of their steepest circular economy challenges – increasing clothing return rates in their Shwopping scheme and design principles for shop fittings.

I then headed into central London to meet up with some of our Clean and Cool Mission companies as we prepare for the CleanTech Forum in two weeks and their pitch slots to investors. We worked through their updated pitches and then joined with Stephen Marcus of Cleantech Group for tips on getting the most from the Forum itself and a bit of a general catch up into the evening.

Wednesday I was back at ExCeL for day two of the Resource Event where we had a briefing for another competition – this time the Building Whole Life Performance call from our Low Impact Buildings team. Another busy day followed meeting potential applicants for both calls and others interested in how we can help. At the end of the day we were delighted to host ModCell as they announced they had achieved PassivHaus accreditation as well as the Q-mark that means high street lenders can provide mortgages for their straw bale buildings. They have just build seven in Bristol and these have had more enquires than the developer has ever experienced. It was great to hear just how much we’d been able to help them overcome all the barriers to market entry.

The team then joined the Scottish Enterprise reception (on a boat on the Thames) before heading to the Green Building Council birthday party at the Crystal. We then had dinner together making the most of a rare chance to catch up.

Thursday morning Nick and I went to Defra to talk through there recently published growth analysis: Resource management: a catalyst for growth and productivity and where we fitted in. We then raced to join the last day of Resource and field plenty more enquiries at the stand. The whole three days were fantastic for seeing so many companies and experts from the circular economy world and catching up on where they were and making new connections for them. Heading home I just managed to squeeze in a quick meeting with one of my new Energy team colleagues before finally leaving London.

Friday I caught up with all the emails and calls I had put off throughout the week.

Stat of the week:  nearly 25% of waste electrical and electronic equipment taken to household waste and recycling centres could be re-used, worth around £200m gross a year

This week’s travel carbon footprint: 38 kg CO2

Mike Pitts