Tag Archives: sustainability

Indian business leaders gathering in London will get multi-ministerial support

30 Jul

The 2014 London Global Convention for the Institute of Directors (India) will bring business leaders from across the globe in October.

OfficialBaronessVermaSustainability will be high on the agenda – not least because chair of the convention’s programme committee is Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Energy & Climate Change.

Sustainability is a high priority on many boardroom agendas and also represents major trade opportunities for the UK – so it’s no surprise to hear that Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, and Trade and Investment Minister, Ian Livingston are also expected to attend the event.

For more information on the Convention and why Sustainability is a key business topic read the Groupe Intellex background commentary.

Tackling Brick Walls – the challenges of Circular Economies

19 May

Brick Wall

 

From our observations following a recent discussion on Sustainability, we suggest that tackling the challenges head on is not an effective use of resources.

 

Given time and the natural inventiveness of citizens and enterprises, today’s brick walls will rot through their own irrelevance – a process that is being accelerated within digitalised economies.

Full Story here

Adapt or Mitigate or Rethink? Creating an environment for fresh thinking

31 Mar

On the day when a report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has prompted headline writers to debate Adaptation versus Mitigation we highlight an altogether different approach – one that demands that we rethink the way economies work.

In ‘A few words about a Circular Economy‘ we consider the challenges of communicating fresh ideas in an environment where words like ‘green’ are no longer helpful.   New digitally-enabled capabilities are hastening the end of mechanistic ‘linear’ economics but expertise in understanding Whole Systems’ and ‘Ordered Complexity’ is only just emerging.

Our editorial gives just a glimpse of the potential for fresh thinking being pioneered by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and comments on how we must also rethink our choice of words to describe the journey.

A New Dynamic - coverThe footnotes include a link to ‘Booms and Boomerangs’ – our January review of ‘A New Dynamic’ (the set text for MBA students at the Bradford University School of Management) and other material from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

 

 

Smart Communities Celebrate as ICF declares Global Top 7

24 Jan

The Intelligent Community Forum has announced the 2014 Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year. The Top7 list includes three from Canada, two from the United States, and two from Taiwan.

Columbus Skyline 2This year’s Top7 group is unusual in that they represent only three nations but they have set a course for others to follow.  Each made it to the list by demonstrating how they have begun to fuse technology, culture and collaboration for economic sustainability.

In alphabetical order, the 2014 Top7 Intelligent Communities are:

  • Arlington County, Virginia, USA, which is building its own fiber network to boost broadband service and re-energize government-business-university collaboration
  • Columbus, Ohio, USA, which in its recovery from the 2008 recession has 20,000 more jobs than it did at its last economic peak in 2007
  • Hsinchu City, Taiwan, the first city in Taiwan to implement e-learning platforms for its students and establish a science park
  • Kingston, Ontario, Canada, which leveraged its educational institutions to build an innovation economy focused on environmental sustainability
  • New Taipei City, Taiwan, a new city forged from communities surrounding the nation’s capital, which is creating a unified and dynamic knowledge economy
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with a renowned waterfront development that will provide Internet at 500 times the speed of conventional residential networks
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where reinvention of its agricultural legacy is creating strong growth while preserving a valued heritage

Study after study notes that cities all over the globe need solutions to a wide range of problems from transportation and the environment to economic growth and education. Intelligent Communities provide solutions.

Regular readers of this blog may not be entirely surprised to find that no UK communities are featured in the Global Top 7.   To be amongst these selected finalists and on course (after the next round of intense scrutiny) for the ultimate 2014 accolade in June, they would already have needed to qualify for the Top 21.

The entire point of submitting to the rigour of the Intelligent Community Forum’s process is to learn.  Some communities find great value in participating in successive years as they invest in the development of their local economies and establish themselves on the global stage.

We know that despite relatively meagre public funding resources (compared to their global competitors), the UK’s major city economies beyond London already generate a high proportion of national GDP growth but are expected to respond to significant pressures on housing, infrastructure, health, education (particularly in digital and vocational skills), enterprise innovation and community development.  The due diligence of potential inward investors demands that risks of failure are fully exposed.

As nations or regions we may be justifiably proud of great past achievements and glorious contributions to societal endeavour but not all ideas are invented here.  In a more digitalised era the new competitive advantage is so often a collaborative advantage.

If leaders of enterprising communities across the UK seek to emulate the success of others, ICF’s Top 7 global exemplars provide a deep pool of experiences and insights – and a great focus for our next fully managed Study Tour when we join them in New York in the summer.

For more details contact

A New Dynamic – effective business in a circular economy

24 Jan

A New Dynamic - coverAs the Ellen MacArthur Foundation crew headed to Davos they had at least two reasons to be cheerful; Unilever joining the foundation’s ranks of enlightened major players and the publication of their latest MBA textbook, ‘A New Dynamic’.

The Circular Economy concept has been well rehearsed  – notably in brilliantly animated productions for schools – and this new book is very much directed at graduates and business strategists.  It not only gives a thorough grounding in the concept’s gestation – how economies must move on from the wastefulness of outmoded ‘linear’ models – but also maps the scale of new sustainable opportunities.  This goes way beyond conventional recycling – it heralds both an entirely new way of designing products and the ways that these products (or the use of them) will be delivered to future consumers.

Converting the radical Circular Economy concepts into reality is a long term challenge that will increasingly be addressed by the enterprise managers of tomorrow.  Volatility in raw material and energy prices is just one of the drivers behind the shift from Ownership to Access and shifts in design to enable ‘things that are made to be made again’.

In ‘Booms and Boomerangs‘ we review ‘A new Dynamic’ in the context of Irene Ng’s ‘Value & Worth’ and John Kay’s recent RSA Journal essay ‘Circular Thinking’.

Developing the Economic Fabric of the Future

5 Jan

Thinking about the prospects and projects for 2014, several development themes seem likely to be woven into the complex economic and community development fabric.  

One of our great insights from last year came from the CIO of the City of Chattanooga in Eastern Tennessee as he explained his rationale for investment – a process that resisted the technology-driven desires and preferences of the IT industry and focused ruthlessly on the real objectives of his municipal client departments.

This, in the USA’s first ‘GigabitCity’ where connectivity and capacity is not an issue, reflected a determination to deliver real benefits to the City’s administration (and  consequently its citizens and tax-payers) without wasting the rich resources available.  And in the Mayor’s office we found two of them – the City Mayor and the Mayor for the surrounding County.  Their mutual understanding of the interdependent role of the City and its hinterland added a fresh dimension to discussions of ‘Smart Cities’ that are so often reduced to Urban versus Rural contentions.

Immediately after visiting Chattanooga we spent time in New York with the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) and, once again, their perspective on the challenges faced by communities around the world provided a new way of thinking about the priorities we give to economic development.

In The Fabric of Our Futures (PDF) we summarise some of the more obvious themes that will arise in 2014 and, hopefully, will inform projects and prospects for future Study Tours, the UK’s Next Generation Digital Challenge Awards and the platforms we organise for innovators and community leaders.

The full text is also available here.

Waiting at Wembley for Winners

30 Sep

wembley-imgIt’s always a tense time two weeks before any big conference event.

Right now the build-up to NextGen 13 is no different as the pace and pressure of programming for the conference builds.

The pressure may be even greater – not least because the 2013 themes are different in many ways.  One of the downsides for a conference series that’s enjoyed a long run (it’s the 6th year for this two-day event) is that many of the players must get up to speed with the changing agenda.   The annual conference reflects the topics of its time – not the battles of the past.

It is much easier for the speakers.  Recruiting them involves ensuring that they are relevant and have something new to contribute.  Exhibitors, all no doubt leading busy lives focused on their own rationales, only wake up to new themes at the eleventh hour.  Maybe this annual event provides a time for reflection – a chance to check alignments with market realities?   And delegates?  The regular attendees will once again be shocked that the agenda has shifted and newcomers will be intrigued to find they are not alone in their recent penny-dropping digital discoveries.

Amid the hectic noise of last-minute programme adjustments and choreography there’s one small corner where silence has momentarily settled.   The Digital Challenge jury is out and until 14th October fingers may be crossed but no one will tempt fate by speculating on winners.  Even here, in the Digital Challenge awards, the shifting agenda is apparent.  Three new trophies signal the importance of Skills, Innovation and Open Data – key topics that rise above the basic broadband battles.

The 2013 NextGen focus is not, of course, a secret.  Last December’s paper on ‘Economic Revitalisation’ set the scene.  The conference theme, ‘Changing Agendas: Shifting Broadband Futures’ was proclaimed earlier in the year along with an expansion of five topics that have since informed the final schedule.  And locating the event at Wembley itself carries a massive message about regeneration.  Delegates have options to visit the Stadium, the Arena backstage, local fibred premises and even Brent Council’s new Civic Offices to understand the realities of fully fibred networks and designs for sustainability.

Pulling it all together may be hectic.  Fitting all shades of opinion (and a fair few technologies) onto the platform and into the exhibition will demand another two weeks of patient attention to detail.  And the winners will be found in all those who change their agendas to meet the shifting demands of the UK’s digital economy.

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NextGen 13, October 14th & 15th, at the Wembley Hilton, London, is the UK’s leading event for Next Generation broadband activity

This annual landmark event will build on Digital Scotland 2013 and the Intelligent Cities conference (Leeds) – events also managed by NG Events Ltd.

NextGen 13 provides the focus to take forward the UK’s digital access and application requirements debate. An exhibition and trade show will run alongside the conference.

Registration for Delegates