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3rd – 7th November 2014

A London based week started Monday with judging for the Clean and Cool Mission in January to San Francisco. We had around 60 entrants to pick 20 winning companies from and took most of the day about it. We were looking for innovative ideas that were scalable solutions to global challenges in energy, shelter, transport, agriculture and waste. We sought companies with strong teams and ideas and a situation suited to the US market. The quality was very high and I’m delighted with the final list. Keep an eye here for the big announcement in the New Year.

I spent the evening learning about the innovation team at Crossrail and how they are keen to see a life for their collaborations and innovations beyond the project itself.

Tuesday brought an internal meeting planning our future activities under different scenarios.  Plenty of good debate to keep us honest and on purpose and exciting thoughts about what we do next. From there I joined colleagues at Old Billingsgate for the KTP awards event. Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are designed to bring new knowledge into a company to enable it to innovate in new ways. The awards celebrate the best of these and in particular the individuals involved. It was wonderful to hear about such a diverse range of projects and so many successes.

Wednesday morning I met David Willans for breakfast and we discussed the pace of change in sustainability-led innovation and how to quicken it. David is a brand and strategy specialist and we exchanged a lot of good stories/examples and ideas.

Wednesday and Thursday were the main event at Old Billingsgate – our (almost) annual Innovate conference with UKTI celebrating UK innovation and showcasing the support on offer. I was involved in a few sessions: one as a panel member of bringing sustainability into a business, one as host offering a product teardown to think about design for the circular economy and one as a support on global missions. The two days were great fun and we had a huge range of exhibitors showcasing all sorts of amazing innovations we had supported from wireless phone charging to wi-fi through lighting; electric bikes to travel time apps; and wearable technology to domestic energy storage.

The best bit, as always, is getting to catch up with so many people in such a short space of time. This included my own team as we got together the middle night for dinner – an all too rare occasion. The random conversations throw up all sorts of interesting leads, especially when everyone’s thoughts are on innovation. SEaB Energy’s Sandra Sassow suggested I watch Seven Minutes of Terror about the challenge of landing the Mars Rover on the surface. Then think about how much money these guys got to do it – that is top pitching!

Finally back home Friday I caught up on some exciting leads from the week and took several calls planning upcoming competitions.

Stat of the week:  90% of all digital data has been generated in the last 2 years (from InnovateUK14 speaker)

This week’s travel carbon footprint: 35 kg CO2

Mike Pitts