Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Setting the Conditions For Innovation

On Monday night myself and Robin attended the Edge debate at the Dept. of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). The Debate was entitled "Setting the Conditions For Innovation"

Richard Miller, Head of Sustainaiblity at the TSB chaired the debate. Michael Pawlyn of Exploration Architecture kicked off the evening with the need to debunk the myth of the lone genius  During the industrial revolution we were resource abundant and population scare. Now we are resource scare yet population abundant, so future products should be made with less materials but employ more people in their manufacture.

Peter Head, chairman of IfS and Founder of the Ecological Sequestration Trust pointed out the need to change to a procurement system based on performance targets for buildings; cost should come second. It worked on the "Severn Crossing" project and it drove innovation.

Robert Webb of Quiet Revolution indicated that globally we need to spend £1trillion per annum to de carbonise the planet. We are resource rich if we turn our back on fossil fuels and look to renewables. The government need to be more focused.

Here are some snippets from the debate that followed:
  • people need to be given ownership of the problem, otherwise they feel powerless/don't bother to affect change
  • innovation needs the over turning of the present moral-lacking, consumer-driven, out-for-oneself society
  • Behaviour change is close to impossible (questionable?)
  • Intellectual Property Rights are sometimes bought to bury ideas, we need to be more open with our ideas.
  • Stronger links between academe and industry
  • R&D isn't on the minds of construction company board members unlike other industries (the construction client gets the benefit of innovation while in other industries it is the innovator who benefits)
  • Olympics was a great example of British Innovation
  • It has been said that the fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate, take more risks!
  • Government and industry should not be afraid to publish failures
  • Why are there so few young people in the room?
  • Innovation often comes through fine tuning over a long time, not new concepts out of the ether.
  • Make building performance transparent. DECs for all
The wave snake by Pelamis

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