Debate 50 - Setting the Conditions for Innovation

Monday, October 8th, 2012 | Debates

The 50th Edge Debate looked at how to create the right conditions for innovation in the construction industry.

Built environment professionals, business leaders and politicians of all leanings all support the idea of innovation but to date there has been more discussion about ‘push factors’ (how industry can encourage innovation) and very little about pull factors (how policy can create the conditions out of which a more innovative construction industry would emerge). If the construction industry is not clear about the policies that we want to see, how can we expect governments to implement them?

The debate looked at the pull factors necessary for the UK to achieve and apply successful innovation in the built environment sector. Some commentators have observed that the construction industry is becoming ever more conservative and risk-averse while the context (environmentally, socially, economically) is becoming ever more demanding of radical change – the long term implications of this are troubling in many respects. The UK has some of the best designers, engineers and innovators in the world and yet there has been very little collective, national effort to nurture the potential benefits

Flow diagram - Sahara Forest project

Flow diagram - Sahara Forest project

— How should innovation best be supported in SMEs?

— How can conditions be created for disruptive technologies to be launched rather than smothered?

— What are the economic conditions out of which greater innovation would emerge?

— How might the idea of a circular economy drive innovation?

— What policy initiatives should be implemented to drive innovation?

Debate held: 8th October 2012
Conference Centre, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, London

Richard Miller, Head of Sustainability, Technology Strategy Board

Peter Head – Chairman of the Ecological Sequestration Trust + Chairman of the Institute for Sustainability
Robert Webb – Energy Questions + Founder of Quiet Revolution
Michael Pawlyn - Exploration Architecture + The Sahara Forest Project

Edge Debate 50 -Setting the Conditions for Innovation: Invitation
Edge Debate 50 - Setting the Conditions for Innovation: Debate notes

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