I started the week catching up on project admin. Tracking the progress and (rough) spend profile of each portfolio of projects is important in managing budgets as well as seeing where we have delivered value to business. I also spent time dealing with issues in projects in the start up phase. With around 70 live projects from 5 different competitions it takes a while! I did get time to complete a submission to the NHS Sustainable Development Unit’s current consultation on its strategy.
On Tuesday I travelled to Runcorn to meet with the Resource Efficiency and Sustainability team at the KTN to plan as one team. The KTN support for upcoming competitions was the main discussion but we also covered support for applicants in using Horizons to consider environmental and social drivers for their market. We have a very busy autumn/winter ahead of us!
Wednesday saw more financial admin, this time tracking spend for external work. I also worked some more on details for this financial year’s competitions. I also picked the boss’s brains for a bit - as usual largely on what we can and can’t do within the various rules of spending public money.
Thursday was London and started with a catch up with Tom Fiddian from our Digital team on user-centred design and user experience-led innovation. We are very interested about where it impacts on the circular economy. I recounted some interesting points from an article I’d read on marketing a circular economy that were important user aspects. The first was future approaches could see supermarkets delivering your food and taking away the waste – packaging and leftover food. This would enable them to use your food waste as a further dataset to inform what they sell you (potentially reducing waste if you keep throwing out uneaten foodstuffs). How will customers feel about this and where do digital platforms fit in? The second was the cultural switch from wanting to own a product that makes you feel part of a social group to feeling part of that group in other ways so using that product without owning it. Social media and digital lifestyles are surely a part of this shift? We promised to consider the challenge here further.
I then joined the Digital team meeting for a bit to learn what they were up to and see how other team meetings work. I then walked to the KTN London base at the Business Design Centre. There I joined the KTN Directors’ meeting to help present the Horizons tool and help them understand how it works. We will roll out some basic training across KTN staff this year so they are able to help businesses, and in particular, applicants to our competitions use the tool to think about factors driving their future market.
Friday had me working some more of the document for autumn competitions and included good news on EPSRC joining us for one of them. I also had a long call with The Long Run Venture about plans for the Clean and Cool Missions. We’re really keen to find the cleantech heroes out there and have some great plans to encourage them and grow the community around our 60 strong alumni network. Keep an eye on http://cleanandcoolmission.com/
Other topics discussed this week: driverless vehicles, meconium, Lego.
Stat of the week: UK recycling rates were up just 0.2 per cent between 2012 and 2013
This week’s travel carbon footprint: 45 kg CO2