I’m facilitating the Automotive Council’s “Meet the Engineer” event

Next week is a big week for dbyhundred.  In our contract with Productiv we are facilitating events that will boost the Innovation capability of the UK in Low Carbon automotive technologies.

Just one of the Great British Manufacturers at "Meet the Engineer"
Just one of the Great British Manufacturers at “Meet the Engineer”

We’ve put together a great programme specifically designed to get the network of large and small businesses properly interconnected.

On Tuesday 23rd it’s “Meet the Engineer” (MtE); a large industry event for which I’ve planned Pecha Kuchas and Speed dating to break down the barriers (see the Press Release Below).  Who’s taking part?  Jaguar, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Williams, Lotus, Morgan plus more than 50 other auto manufacturers and key suppliers… and some highly innovative technologists!

Then on Wednesday 24th the select members of Productiv’s Radar Club will  convene to build on the MtE stimulus and new Sensor and Big Data technologies.  We’ll be working out what all this means in our industry and help our members  make the right investments in Low Carbon technologies.  Guests include IBM, Plessey and McLaren (of F1 fame) and a host of sensor tech companies.


APRIL 2013



Millbrook Proving Ground are hosting the third annual ‘Meet the Engineer’ on 23 April on behalf of the joint Government and industry body, the Automotive Council UK. Developing a stronger and more competitive supply chain is one of the Automotive Council’s key priorities.

Following the success of last year’s event, which saw over 30 technology development companies represented and more than 100 requests for follow ups made by vehicle manufacturers and other large companies in the automotive supply chain.


The ‘Meet the Engineer’ day will see technology developers present opportunities for development, investment and involvement in the latest low carbon automotive technologies, and hopes to encourage interaction and collaboration between engineers of large companies and small UK-based technology development companies.


Presentations will be grouped under the Automotive Council’s strategic technologies, which include ‘Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Efficiency’, ‘Energy Storage & Management’, ‘Electric Machines & Power Electronics’ and ‘Lightweight Materials & Structures’.


The feedback from last year’s event was very positive and the event led to a number of collaborations and advancements. Engineers from several UK automotive companies will be  among the 60 OEMs, engineers and influencers attending ‘Meet the Engineer’. Technology developers will have the perfect opportunity to promote their innovative technologies to the automotive engineering industry.


Productiv, a business dedicated to industrialising Low Carbon technologies, is facilitating this innovative event to optimise networking opportunities between technologists and the established automotive manufacturers and suppliers.


Peter Stoker, group head of vehicle engineering at Millbrook Proving Ground explains: “As the UK’s leading location for the testing and development of low carbon vehicles, working with many vehicle manufacturers across a variety of markets, from motorcycles and passenger cars to buses and trucks, Millbrook is the ideal location to hold this year’s ‘Meet the Engineer’ event.”


“We are looking forward to welcoming engineers and technology companies on site at Millbrook for another successful event organised and held by the Automotive Council.”


For further information or to register your interest in this event email


Pecha Kucha as a Radar and for Networking

With Productiv I am helping to facilitate a number of Pecha Kucha’s over the next two weeks at 2 significant Industry events.

1) The “Meet the Engineer” event at the Millbrook proving ground is sponsored by the Automotive Council and will bring together technologists and the main producers of autos in this country.  With facilitated networking throughout the day and 20 Pecha Kucha presentaitons, this event is specifically designed to create opportunities in Low Carbon technologies.

2) The more intimate Productiv Radar club.  Our members will see a number of Pecha Kuchas and guest presentations as inspiration for considering future investments and collaboration.

Naturally our presenters will want some guidance on the best Pecha Kucha presentations.  Of course we are sending them our chosen formula… but here is additional inspiration.

1) Pecha Kucha used to communicate design at Nissan

2) A nice clear Pecha Kucha on Pecha Kucha!  Remember ours is 15 slides… 5 minutes.

3) An amusing Pecha Kucha on established versus new systems suppliers

I hope these are of use and please add to the list to help me and our presenters!

Good luck!


Our Geographical Names Service gets published!

I project managed the implementation of EuroGeoNames, Europes first pan-European geographical names infrastructure that adopted the Web Feature Service Standard and met all requirements of the INSPIRE legislation.


So good to see our Geographical Names Service get published, this time on the Proceedings of the International Cartographic Conference


10 improvements to Horizon 2020 funding

In the past two weeks I’ve been looking at plans for Horizon 2020, contributing to the consultation and sounding out experts from across Europe. We have plenty of time to look at it. It will launch only once the budget has been voted for. The earliest we can expect a launch will be at the end of 2014. But consultation is only possible now for 1 month to try and effect it’s construction.

Horizon 2020

In my experience of this consultation there is plenty for the Commission to work with. Here is my prescription for a successful funding scheme;

1) Make it properly SME friendly. If you’re small you don’t want your best chance of funding to be an enormous integrated project headed by one of the 5 typical system integrators in Europe ( or nearby). Most innovation comes from SMEs and often it comes from their own development. So quicker smaller solo or small group SME schemes please!

2) Some of the recent calls have been so heavily over subscribed that there is merely a 10 or 20% chance of success. This follows a very heavy application process. So please, let’s have a two stage process. A short and simple application, and more rigour demanded at the later stage of the application.

3) Less prescriptive calls. All projects are judged on their ability to advance the state of the art. Almost by definition this rules out the radical and can only accommodate the incremental innovations. Broad areas of societal challenge should be the limit of a call description.

4) More initiatives that encourage bottom-up innovation. The funding from the commission is already creating networks of excellence, but simple event led innovation incubators and networks would bring out much more innovation.

5) Broad trends like volunteer data need to be targeted and encouraged. The networked society is still an under utilised asset in Europe.

6) Initiatives to break the US dominance in social networks and the centralisation that happens to our data over there.

7) Initiatives that support growth markets where we used to be a world leader (mobile gaming, computer games etc.)… And those where we are… (Location Information for the growing context aware application market).

8) Initiatives that scale up the top class innovations from home countries rather than the default of selling out to non-European corporates. See Productiv in the UK. In this way we keep the essential skills and the greater part of the returns within Europe.

9) The EC needs to track the effectivity of these investments more effectively. How many businesses have prospered from post project activity? What contribution to the GDP? Actively engage the project community and use the dialogue to find “what happened next” and use this to quash the cynical.

10) Embrace the crowd funding trends. Why let a small group of experts vote when a large group can vote with their own funds?

These were my 10 for an improved funding structure in Europe. What are yours?


dbyhundred Advising on Data in Europe

Thes20110331 Balloon launch at ESDIN Closinge days I spend quite a lot of time advising on data in Europe.

This week I’m in Brussels again; learning and helping with Cloud based collaborative projects.

Next week I’m back again for more!

On Friday next week I get to meet Marta Nagy-Rothengass, Head of Unit, European Commission DG CONNECT, DATA VALUE CHAIN in London as an expert in the field of Data.  She’s seeking my views as an innovative start-up (SplashMaps) doing great things with Open Data and hopefully this will help on shaping R&D priorities of the Horizon 2020 work programme.

And on the 23rd of April I’ll be facilitating the Automotive Council and BIS sponsored event “Meet the Engineer!” innovation event.

On 24th April I will bring sensor technologies to the Automotive world as we explore what data can bring to Low Carbon vehicle technology with Productiv and their Radar club!

…and there should be time to launch a few more SplashMaps along the way!


A decision to do site centred maps on a waterproof fabric! Whatever next?

When starting a New Business that makes maps these days there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself.  Which Market are we addressing?  So what data goes in there?  And where in the world will we make these maps?  Of course there are a bunch of other decisions and implications that arise as soon as you plunge for one of these! Press

If you go for all things for all people you will fail.  Already we design a generic map that is useful for the Outdoor adventurer and we make it in two areas (New Forest and South Downs).  Where do we go from there?

SplashMaps took a decision this week to offer a site centring offering specifically for events.  We already have customers demanding bespoke maps, so we’ve now made it an official offering on our web site!  Rights decision?  Test us ;-)!

The great thing about being a small business sitting on a whole national data base is the quick decision making and our speed to respond to the market.  Our ability to act on what we know and what we’re learning is critical … just check out our newspaper to see where we gain inspiration!

And the great thing about having a Kickstarter model for funding is, we already have customers to satify.  And they expect.

-Site centred maps

-Maps of the majority of the UK National Parks

-Maps of USA National Parks!

Sounds like a big ask?  You bet!

With such keen backers who have that important “feeling of ownership” (see our example on the BBC video on the SplashMaps front page) 

we’ll get there… and we’ll be able to understand the pros and cons for addressing each of their needs.

SplashMaps has a strong following and a bright future thanks to the approach we chose at start-up!




A User focus declutters our products and gives us direction!

One of the great hings we’ve done with SplashMaps is make sure it’s not too… well… mappy!  Afterall, it’s all the established map businesses that have missed this gap in the market.  And as Einstein once said “you cannot solve a problem from the same mind set that created it!”.

Being too “mappy” is what has led to so many weighty overly engineered solutions for finding our way today.  Image

So, though SplashMaps have enjoyed a great boost from the praise of the mapping glitterati, it’s great now to see that our simple consumer messaging carries through into the consumer and adventurers’ trade press too.  After all, it’s the consumer that will pay to find their way!


So it’s a scoop to have been invited by the Society of Cartographers to present SplashMaps at their annual conference, and it’s bonza to be on display at the GeoNext conference in Sydney… BUT, it’s even better to have a packed programme of exhausting REALoutdoor events where our Open Data project stays in the hands and minds of everyone for a long long time!