Guest blog by Niraj Saraf, Urban Innovation Lead, Innovate UK
Innovate UK’s mission is to help the UK economy grow by inspiring and supporting pioneering UK businesses to create the industries of the future. We do this through funding risky innovation projects and through connecting innovators to opportunities and resources, and my role within the organisation is very much about helping businesses develop new solutions to the complex challenges facing cities.
Like Ordnance Survey and Geovation, we recognise that good ideas and data to help cities overcome their challenges do not exist solely in one organisation, but in many different places. This is why we are very pleased to be collaborating with Geovation to seek ideas that can help give us smarter, greener communities.
Are you interested in how we can make our communities and cities more future-proof? Would you like to develop an idea using smart technologies with the potential to build this into a sustainable business?
Our next Geovation Challenge is looking for innovative solutions that will help make our communities greener, smarter and sustainable. Entrants will be in with a chance of winning an all-expenses paid place at our 3-day Geovation Camp and Conference in London in February 2018.
To help you understand the problems and give you a head start in entering the competition, we’re holding workshops around Britain – workshops that could change your life and help save the planet!
Really helpful to find out more of what will happen at the Geovation Camp and how the Challenge application process works. It was also great to bounce ideas off other people and network with them.
The workshop schedule was great and I learned a lot!
Our 10th Geovation Challenge has launched – ‘How can we better manage underground assets in Britain?’ We’re looking for innovative ideas to help solve the problems in the underground utility space, which offer lucrative business opportunities.
To support understanding around this Challenge, to help build your confidence to enter, and to encourage collaboration among those interested in tackling this challenge area, we’re running a national tour of workshops.
Over the last few months, Geovation has worked with the utility industry to identify their biggest challenges in managing our underground assets. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an innovator or a developer we’re now inviting you to come up with solutions to tackle these real-world problems using location data.
As a result of consultations with senior figures from utility companies, the owners of underground pipe and cable networks, and those responsible for their maintenance, 55 problem areas have been brought to the surface. These have been grouped into 4 themes: Asset Location, Asset Management & Maintenance, Stakeholder Impact and Predicting Asset Future.
It is thought that through improved asset management and operations and the digitisation of records, production could be increased by 15% and profitability by 20-30%. Also revealed was the value of sharing data between utility companies and innovators to effectively resolve problems.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the Geovation water challenge over the last few months. Whether you submitted an idea, voted, came along to the masterclass, or even spread the Geovation message on your social channels, it’s all appreciated. Following the close of the challenge last month, the judging panel have now selected a short-list of 10 finalists who have been invited to develop their ideas further at Geovation Camp. They’ll be joining us at OS head office in Southampton over the weekend of 4-6 March.
Meet the Geovation finalists
The latest Geovation Challenge closes for ideas this week, on Wednesday 27 January at noon with the chance of winning a share of £60,000 to develop your idea as a new venture, mentored through our Geovation Programme.
Our exciting series of Geovation masterclasses started at the Geovation Hub, in London in December, with a team drawn from Geovation and OS. Since then, the tour has visited Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham and Swansea, introducing the challenge and geospatial data resources to potential participants.
The key principle of Geovation is to think globally, but act locally; in tackling problems locally and collaboratively and openly; using the powerful tools of geography, geographic information and design thinking as key ingredients to solutions that can be launched as new ventures.
The Geovation Challenge is still open until 27 January! The big challenge is: ‘How can we better manage water in Britain, sustainably?’
5 key problem themes the Geovation Water Challenge is calling attention on are: too much water; too little water; poor water quality; aging infrastructure, and water use behaviour. You can find out more detail of the problem cases under each of these themes in our Water Deep Dive and personas.
Today we turn our attention to poor water quality. In our problem persona we highlight the problems experienced by recreational water users, reflecting wider issues in water quality around Britain.
The current Geovation Challenge aims to stimulate innovation in ‘How can we better manage water use in Britain, sustainably?’
Southern Water, one of our Geovation Water Challenge sponsors, discuss their own water challenges of ‘what keeps them awake at night’ and what Geovation would mean for them…
“Southern Water provides 4.6 million people with water and wastewater services across South East England. We look after more than 13,000km of water mains and nearly 40,000km of sewers (almost the circumference of the earth, if we connected them all together). The South is already an area of water stress and the population is forecast to grow by 20% in the next twenty years. This increased demand coupled with climate change means Southern Water is facing a challenging future.
In this blog we have been discussing the latest Geovation Challenge: ‘How can we better manage water in Britain, sustainably?’
Today it is the turn of one of our partners, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to give the perspective of policymakers. Nick Haigh, Lead Analyst for Water and Flood Management outlines the opportunities and challenges.
“We have recently announced #OpenDefra, our open data programme and the Geovation Water Challenge fits perfectly with this. We have data, but we also have problems: too much water, too little water, poor water quality, ageing infrastructure and the need for new water using behaviours. We are supporting Geovation because we hope the data, analytical and business community can take new and existing data sources – particularly those made available by our partner the Environment Agency – and use them to develop ways to solve water problems.
“Clearly right at the moment,too much water is at the front of our minds following the devastating impacts of record rainfall in the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland lately. One particular challenge which has been highlighted through developing the Water Challenge has been urban flooding. Flood and water management involves lots of geographic data – how can we harness this to improve the way we plan, build and drain our towns and cities, making the best use of green solutions?