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UK Green Building Council announces launch of first Innovation Lab

UK Green Building Council announces launch of first Innovation Lab 0

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has announced the launch of its first Innovation Lab, which it claims offers ‘a radical new approach to innovation in the built environment’. The Lead Partners for the programme are: Canary Wharf Group, Land Securities and Marks & Spencer. The Innovation Lab aims to identify and address what it calls the systemic challenges facing businesses within the sector, and co-create innovative and highly sustainable solutions.

Head of Leadership and Innovation at UK-GBC, Cat Hirst, said: “Research and Development levels across our industry are painfully low; the UK currently only spends £43m on construction R&D. The risks to a single company of investing in developing a solution for such a high-cost industry is often seen as prohibitive. But we desperately need to find ways of working together to achieve radical change if we are to challenge business as usual and transition to a sustainable way of working.

“At UK-GBC we’re seeking to catalyse this change by using our unique position to convene our member organisations to work together to address the issues our industry faces. We want to ensure there is the time, space, and structure for open innovation to occur for the built environment.

“The Innovation Lab is not just about finding one solution to one problem, it’s about fostering a more open and collaborative approach to problem solving as an industry. We need to build the capacity of our industry to innovate and find the right approach to being creative and collaborative within a commercial setting.”

The Innovation Lab began last month with a workshop to identify the ‘breakthrough challenge’ which will form the focus of a 9-month programme of work. In order to arrive at the challenge, the UK Green Building Council is working with the Lead Partners and thought leaders from the wider UK-GBC membership to explore future trends for the built environment as well as key environmental and social challenges, and pain points for business. The initial workshop highlighted key industry challenges around climate change resilience, resource use, shifting demographics, technological advancement and health and wellbeing.

Over the coming weeks, the breakthrough challenge will be refined in consultation with the Lead Partners. The next workshop will be on 1 February, where Innovation Lab participants will begin to respond to this challenge by mapping existing innovations and, where a gap is identified, generating new innovative solutions to solve the challenge.

UK large businesses are failing to create a culture of creativity and innovation

UK large businesses are failing to create a culture of creativity and innovation 0

suggestion_boxA new study claims that the UK lags behind other European countries when it comes to fostering a culture of innovation at creativity at work. Whilst 63 percent of French employees and 57 percent of Spanish employees feel empowered to lead innovation and drive change, less than half (47 percent) of employees surveyed across the UK agree. In turn, this appears to be impacting morale; just 54 percent of employees in the UK said they feel inspired in the workplace compared to 74 percent in Spain, 73 percent in France and 66 percent in Germany.  As businesses strive to stay ahead of the competition, making innovative use of technology is a top priority. However, the research commissioned by BMC and conducted by Opinion Life, suggests that businesses across the UK are struggling to foster an innovative culture fast enough and failing to capitalise on the creativity of their staff.

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Many firms lag behind their customers in use of latest tech innovations

Many firms lag behind their customers in use of latest tech innovations 0

DigitalJust one in three IT decision makers believe advances such as cloud-based solutions, big data and wearable tech will be available in their industry within the next 12 months, according to a new study from Capita. Although the report – Trends vs Technologies – has yet to be published, the firm has released some of its findings. Based on a survey of IT professionals in the insurance, finance, legal services and manufacturing sectors, the study analyses nine key organisational trends and the implementation of related technology. The report claims that while many decision makers describe a tech trend as being relevant to their industry, several barriers to implementation mean solutions are not yet ready and in many cases might be lagging behind consumer take-up of the new technology. The trends named in the report are Big Data, Digital Workplace, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Wearable Tech, Robotics, Cloud Based Solutions, 3D Printers and Virtual Reality.

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Global lack of support by management in encouraging innovation at work

Global lack of support by management in encouraging innovation at work 0

InnovateToo many managers expect their employees to innovate without offering them any practical support. In a global survey by consultants O.C. Tanner published in the Harvard Business Review – a poll of nearly 3,500 people from companies in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Germany, and India found that although a majority of employees say innovation is everybody’s responsibility, not everyone actually gets the resources needed to innovate. There’s an especially large disconnect on this subject between leaders and lower-level employees. While nearly nine in ten non-managers believe they ought to be involved in innovation, far fewer (roughly six in ten) say they actually are. The research claims this applied to small as well as large companies and among all age groups. The problem the review suggests, is that most employees believe that management does not inspire them to do great work — or give them the opportunity to do so.

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Small steps to innovation debated at Workplace Futures 2014

Siemens eröffnet Stadtentwicklungszentrum The Crystal in London

New or refurbished workplaces are often described as ‘innovative.’ But while the architect and designers behind a building’s design are often credited with innovation, when it comes to the FMs tasked with managing the property, things are less clear cut. Although the FM sector is increasingly under pressure to demonstrate innovation, whether as services provider or as an in-house department; determining what exactly this constitutes, much less being able to demonstrate it in practice, is a lot more difficult. The 2014 i-FM Workplace Futures Conference, held this week at the Siemens Crystal building in London’s Docklands, bravely aimed to address this conundrum. It was, as the organisers admitted, a tall order to ‘nail this innovation theme,’ but it seems that taking small incremental steps may be the key to success. More →

What Graeme Obree, the Flying Scotsman, can teach us about workplace innovation

What Graeme Obree, the Flying Scotsman can teach us about workplace innovation

Innovation is one of the over-used words in the UK built environment. In fact, it is used so much that its true meaning is being left behind by marketing teams and spin doctors. The real definition is about a new method, idea, product, i.e. some form of technological innovation. Think about the last time you read of a claim for an innovative product, method or management concept. How new was it really? Often ‘innovation’ is more to do with the Emperor’s clothes than an effective new method or a radical product that changes a manufacturing process or reduces carbon, or just makes life and work more efficient. More →

Hong Kong’s pioneering zero carbon building wins innovation award

ZCB building in Hong Kong

The Construction Industry Council’s (CIC) Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) in Hong Kong has been awarded Champion of the Innovation Award for the Engineering Industry 2012/2013 by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE). The ZCB, which is the first of its kind in Hong Kong engineered by Arup won the construction category for its integrated innovations, tailored for the city’s sub-tropical climate. It is the first building in Hong Kong to actively feed electricity back to the grid and has BEAM Plus Platinum status – the highest rating for excellent building environmental performance.

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Employers’ lack of media savvy is stifling innovation

social media

A resistance to change and a lack of social media savvy amongst senior leaders is holding organisations back from fostering cultures of openness, collaboration and innovation in their organisations. Social media is driving us headlong into an age of mass collaboration and mass transparency, and if employers don’t embrace this with open arms they will find themselves on the back foot argues the CIPD. Jonny Gifford, research adviser at the Chartered HR and development professional body, comments: “For organisations to thrive, employees must be given the opportunity to discuss how their organisations can innovate and feed their views upwards, as well as having the freedom to blow the whistle about genuine issues at work.

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Plenty of innovation in Stockholm. Just ignore the price of beer.

Nendo Stockholm

They say first impressions count so after landing in Stockholm it was a shame that mine veered towards a personal negative rather than a positive when I discovered that my hotel room interior was purer in design than a polar bear’s coat. To a problem solving mind like mine, this didn’t add up. Surely the cold climate would venture towards a more luxurious, cosy and comforting aesthetic. My second impression inevitably arrived courtesy of a local bar. I could have sworn I’d ordered a 40cl beer rather than the bottle of Bolly the bill suggested. So with those problems dismissed from my mind, it was heartening that the rest of the trip to the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair was roundly positive.

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Better Buildings challenge for sustainable innovation


A competition to find green solutions that help to improve the performance of commercial buildings has been launched by the Institute for Sustainability, in partnership with the Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (Climate-KIC) and the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) – a collaboration of leading London commercial property owners and investors. Because energy efficiency improvement works have focused primarily on mechanical and electrical control upgrades and plant replacement, the competition focuses on innovations which could help improve the environmental performance of the building envelope. More →

Plans to convert offices may undermine innovation and growth

Old Street roundabout regenerationWhatever they might think, Governments don’t have a natural propensity for joined up thinking. Nor do they have a natural affinity with small businesses, especially those that emerge in non-traditional sectors. Governments may like to claim they can display both of these noble values, but experience tells us different. One thing they are prone to, however, is a frequent ability to fall victim to unfortunate juxtapositions of complex events that throw their inherent weaknesses into sharp relief.

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Innovation needed to catapult UK to technology success

Catapult centre

The government must scale up the UK’s new programme of technology and innovation centres – Catapults – by 50% to 100%, the Big Innovation Centre will announce at a meeting at the House of Lords today. Will Hutton, chair of the Big Innovation Centre at the Work Foundation warned: “Catapults are desperately needed and important new institutions that could allow the UK to reproduce German success in 21st century industrial sectors and services. Yet the Catapult programme needs to be bigger and bolder in its scope, aims and resources if their potential as convenors, catalysts, risk-mitigators and horizon scanners is to be fully exploited.”

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