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.

NEWS FROM MILLBROOK PROVING GROUND

APRIL 2013

MILLBROOK PROVING GROUND HOSTS MEET THE ENGINEER EVENT 

 

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 sadie.fentham@productivgroup.co.uk

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Three things to start the New Year

Dbyhundred has had a very busy end of 2012 and beginning of 2013.

1. Dbyhundred is managing the marketing, PR and General Management for start-up, SplashMaps. In an beautifully coordinated piece of marketing we ran a campaign of Radio and TV PR for the business which uses crowd sourced and open data to make maps for the REAL outdoors.
The campaign was entirely “below the line”. It was tailored firstly to attract investment, achieving its target of £8000 from a community of 101 backers, and secondly to boost sales of the first two mapping areas, achieving the target of £2000 worth of sales and new distribution channels.
See the coverage of SplashMaps from the BBC. This was broadcast 6 times on the eve of the Outdoors Show. A staggering response in on-line sales and enthusiasm at the show demonstrate that this project has significant potential! https://www.youtube.com/embed/74iISyC6rB0

2. With Productiv we are helping with the industrialisation of low Carbon technology. David has taken the role of Innovation Manager. The plan is to boost the effectivity of the community of members, technologists and suppliers and users of Low C automotive technology.

3. Market research by dbyhundred has helped shape a business model for a new business developing safety systems for vulnerable road users. This bespoke work has now recommended targets and approaches for developing and implementing the technology and defining it as a proposition. “David’s work has given me amazing insight and confidence in my market strategy”, says Mike Walker, CycleSafe CEO.

2013 is busy, exciting and full of potential at dbyhundred! Please contact us for bidding, project management and location technologies. 07876 390 656.

SplashMaps Press Release

“SplashMapsTM”; the latest technologies for the REAL outdoors no longer need batteries!

Going to the Kickstarter page is the best way to support SplashMaps

Hampshire based start-up SplashMapsTM begins a world-wide campaign to put stunningly practical maps into the hands of outdoor adventurers.  By creating its own state-of-the art maps on waterproof, washable, and wearable fabrics the company makes maps designed for the REAL outdoors.  With the latest in high performance fabrics and print technology the maps withstand the extremes of our weather and never need the delicate and frustrating folds you find in traditional paper and laminated maps.

But the novelty does not end there as Managing Director, David Overton, explains.

“Ordnance Survey (OS) have recently released some excellent digital data under their Open Data agreement” he said.  “This has allowed us to combine OS data with the OpenStreetMap data to provide a totally new product that we can tailor to any outdoor adventurer’s needs!”.

The OpenStreetMap (OSM) is the Wikipedia of the mapping world, with all the data coming from “the crowd”.  With its origins in the UK but now a global phenomenon, mapping enthusiasts are constantly updating the OSM database with highly detailed and increasingly reliable mapping in digital format.  “The data we use is in a vector form,” says fellow Director, Arnulf Christl.  “This means we can switch on and switch off certain types of content dependent upon the end use of the map.  We can change colours and symbols used in the map and so are not restricted to the “normal” look of a paper map.  We can even tailor the scale of the map dependent on how far you want to travel in your hobby…”, ever gone off the edge of a map whilst running or cycling? “…and we have developed technology that will allow users to select the point upon which to centre the map.”

As the OpenStreetMap is a truly global phenomenon, the business’ ambitions do not stop at our own shores.  “There is a ready market in outdoor adventures and it’s growing fast,” says Overton.  “Our research shows that mountain bikers and walkers prefer a scale somewhere between the two scales typically used in paper maps, so for our initial maps in the UK we are going for 1:40 000 and rolling out our first map in the New Forest”.  And part of the beauty of this map is that you can always keep it close to hand by stuffing it in a sleeve, up your shorts or tying it around your head as a bandana, or your neck like a scarf.

The company plans to provide maps for each of the 15 national parks of Great Britain by April, by which time the user will be able to select anywhere in the country.  Within 2013 the global offering will extend the company’s reach and international interest is already gathering pace.

“Already I am getting mail from enthusiasts in the USA who want to walk some of our great national trails in the UK” says Overton.  “In fact we have even been asked to provide the map for the GeoNext conference in Australia”.  Martin Von Wyss, the event organiser said he wants the map as the SplashMaps’ use of open and volunteered data “…represents a clever spin on the difficulty of publishing and distributing maps these days.”  Indeed the potential for SplashMaps has now been spotted by the World Bank in humanitarian applications in Africa.  Mark Iliffe, World Bank Geospatial Innovation Consultant said of the maps, “The paper maps produced just don’t stand-up in that environment, having something like a Splashmap would be fantastic.”

Overton showed SplashMapsTM to the mapping and technology experts at University College London for the recent #geomob gathering.  At the event Gary Gale, Director of Places for Nokia, co-founder of WhereCamp EU: “It’s maptastic” and “Nice to see SplashMapsTM as a real tangible thing to hold, even if it is a prototype it’s still impressive”.

SplashMapsTM is being crowd-funded, and is one of the first ideas in the UK to use the Kickstarter platform to raise funds.  The process is simple; if you like the idea of a SplashMapsTM, for example, you can make a pledge via the Kickstarter web site (just follow www.splashmaps.co.uk).  Each pledge (anything between £1 and £750) gets a reward dependent upon how much is pledged.  On the whole, you get a very good deal for making your pledge (thanks, maps, unique maps and invitations to a launch party are some of the rewards).  But more importantly you’ll get a rosy glow of pride from supporting a fledgling innovative business and the open and volunteer data eco-systems it supports.  If the company is successful in reaching its funding target those that made the pledges reap the rewards and SplashMapsTM gets some useful funds to develop the back-office technology and fund the early print-runs.

“This is a truly innovative project.  We’re embracing the wisdom of crowds in both our funding and in our data content.  Normally open data is only seen in digital applications.  But by creating these maps we are[D1]  making the open data ‘Tangible’ in order for people to see the value of the OpenStreetMap and the real benefits Tim Berners-Lee envisaged of open data initiatives at places like the Ordnance Survey,” says Overton.  “We are also working to encourage more contributors to the OSM to ensure this valuable resource becomes the best source of consistent mapping across the globe”.

Other quotations from key people in the geo-technology market:

Ed Parsons, the Geospatial Technologist of Google: “Great stuff .. can’t wait to use my SplashMap – Good luck David and Arnulf !!”

Ian Holt, Geospatial Developer Evangelist, Ordnance Survey “Ever thought that your nice walking map is big, awkward, gets soggy in the rain, cannot possibly be folded back into its original shape? Well what you need is a map from the guys at Splashmaps!”

Jennifer Allen, Business Analyst at Nokia “I like maps. And I like when people do clever things with them too.”

SplashMapsTM is a Limited company based in Chandlers Ford Hampshire and was incorporated in November 2012.

David Overton was the Innovation Manager at Ordnance Survey before starting his own consultancy, dbyhundred Ltd in 2009.  Since then he has been consulting, project and bid managing on some of the most influential European projects concerning geographic information.  Recent successes include winning the Geospatial World Forum award for implementing European spatial data policy with the ESDIN project (a European Spatial Data Infrastructure) and successfully winning a bid for a Euro 14M expansion of this work to create a European Location Framework together involving 30 partners.

Arnulf Christl is a spatial systems architect and has worked around making digital maps for two decades. He is an Open Source advocate and charter member of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation which he co-founded in 2006. Since OSGeo’s inception he helped to shape the organization as a member of the board of directors and was OSGeo’s president in the past four years. Outside this volunteer time he consults to National Mapping Agencies around the world  helping them to design, set up and organize map and data services to serve the public interest.

Contact:

David Overton

Managing Director

SplashMaps Ltd

david@splashmaps.co.uk

+44 (0) 7876 390 656


 [D1]explain

A triumph of Open Innovation

Ideas In Transit

It was great to spend the day with my colleagues, beneficiaries and sponsors of the highly successful Ideas In Transit project – A project that studied, encouraged and funded innovations in transport developed from the “bottom-up” by users.

5 years of effort against a deliberately woolly scope was a leap of faith for the sponsoring TSB, EPRSC and DfT. Certainly it would have been easier to just give the money to a large system integrator company to make another hopeless on-line application for catching trains. Some would have said safer too. But how would such a predictable “top-down” approach have dealt with the almost instant emergence of the disruptive technologies that arose within weeks of the project inception? The iPhone, the App store and the catch-up rivals at Google completely changed the landscape to favour the target groups.

Because the project scope accepted that there were big unknowns “out there” we designed the project to observe this changing use of technology, now in the user’s hands, and how it influenced behaviour. This helped define the most effective interventions that could be made to support the “little-guy” innovators.

Combining with Ordnance Surveys moves to more social innovations, their first Open API (Open Space – another of my projects… it was a busy time ;-)), and the Governments insistence upon Open Data from OS the concept of GeoVation was born. A process of camps, facilitated and mentored business plan bullet-proofing sessions and the inevitable x-factor judgements yielded 10 great new businesses. Those from the transport challenge we saw how

  • Mission Explore increased kids’ engagement in their environment and use of the national cycle network by offering adventurous challenges unique to each location.
  • FixMyTransport developed an app that made childs play out of reporting deficiencies in any part of the travel infrastructure
  • myPTP is a colossal aggregation of all the key data services to make an information tool that encourages better choices on our regular commutes
  • CycleScape that appears to harness the inner monster within each of us cyclists by providing a common platform for campaigning.
  • Access advisor finds the optimal journey for the disabled and
  • Sustaination creates a food enterprise network based around a dating site for food businesses (those that grow, those that sell and those that transport).

Most of these ideas tap into that spare mental capacity that people now appear to have for reporting, capturing data and socialising on the net. None of these ideas would come from a collective of agencies and large commercial companies and logistics experts. The essential ingredient in each is a heavy dose of passion which the presenters had in spades during their 5 minute pitches.

So what do the sponsors get from this project? A nice set of references? a very nifty logo and brand name (… you guessed it…again one of mine ;-))? No. What this project has equipped our sponsors with is a PROCESS. Tried and trusted, developed over years, refined from previous initiatives and now responsible for the new businesses returning honest tax money to Vince Cable.

Ideas in transit is an extendbale set of interventions; creative problem solving methods proven to work.  This can be standardised, grown, franchised and exported.

Thank you Ideas In Transit; this is surely a sustainable outcome we can all be proud of… but more importantly take advantage of to survive the next big disruptions.

The Space Between thoughts

In the three years since launching dbyhundred there has been little “down-time”.  I am sure many people experience this if you work for yourself or for someone else.  The work takes over.  You pull-out all the stops on one piece of work whilst chasing the next.

The lengths I go to to assimilate with Scandinavian colleagues
INSPIRE conference 2011 … hope 2012 is as fun!

With the Innovation Leadership Forum I learnt about the space between thoughts.  And I’ve been visualising ever since as a potent route to creativity and innovation.  Interestingly with the ILF I developed my Viking approach to innovation… and there I was at last years INSPIRE conference… dressed to slaughter surrounded by my Scandinavian colleagues.

Having finished 2 large contracts at the same time (European Commission and EuroGeographics), the “space between contracts” seems to offer the same potential.  On Saturday I spent the day at a Bloxstore workshop and am proud to announce that I am now a member of their elite team of expert innovators, geospatial experts and self confessed geeks!  The proposition is clear, phased and already populated with the best in our fields.  It takes advantage of the many now working independently, bringing us together to address important European contracts, offering an SME (Small to medium enterprise) alternative to the large “usual” professional  bid chasers.  I will be sure to keep you posted as we approach our first successes together!

Creativity and Agility brings change

It’s one thing to have a great idea, it’s another to do something about it.

Bringing those two activities together is simply know as “Innovation”.

Innovation is the route to prosperity and regardless of which industry you are in, being good at it is the most critical bell-weather of your future growth.

Okay, so this is all pretty obvious.  But where do the ideas come from and how do you turn them into a reality?  Simple.

Creativity: where it comes from…

The answers out “there”.  For the work in EuroGeographics,  ESDIN, dbyhundred and my projects with other companies there’s a range of tactics to finding those illusive nuggets.  All of them start with really identifying the problem area and asking the right questions in the first place.  Getting past pre-conceptions is critical but also makes these sessions a lot of fun.  You can’t delve straight into creative problem solving.  You have first to warm up.  If working on your own this may be a meditative relaxation approach; if with a larger, perhaps international, group there are a huge range of approaches to move people into a creative state and begin to introduce the methods you’ll use for the business end of idea creation.  This is also a great opportunity for the facilitator to guage the group on language capability, style, likes and dislikes.  So the warm up is essential in tailoring your approach to get the most from the collective wisdom of your team.

The Programme Management team of ESDIN
Solving a European Location Framework

Once they’re with you you move into a staged process of surfacing issues, converging on the real question, structuring discussions and gearing toward an agreed set of actions that address your problem statement.  Doing this and developing ownership does not mean the fun ends with the warm-up!  And personally I enjoy the use of gambling games, reversals and other mental excursions to tap into whats really happening in this interaction.

Action: how to make a success of a great idea…

Great ideas don’t put themselves into action.  And the people that do this critical part of the job (ie. delivering) are not always the ones that came up with the idea.  In my experience a potent technique is Agile project management.  Taking the view that not all the beneficial outcomes of a project can be anticipated at the outset means the traditional project management approaches on their own will limit your success.  In an Agile “Scrum” project the daily stand-up meetings, the adherence to specific roles and the structure of a product backlog focussing on resource availability, impediments and the destruction of barriers on the way to meeting a common objective makes each Sprint empowering for the team and beneficial for all.

The results of these approaches were recognised by the European Commission whose appointed reviewers on ESDIN stated the “management structure” was “responsible for the success” of this “excellent, well executed” project, the results of which  “…play an important part in the development of the pan-European Spatial Data Infrastructure.”

I’ve been privilaged to work through the whole of this process in a number of projects now; from idea generation through to implementation.   As the challenges get more complex, skills in these areas become increasingly important and the more innovative we have to become in our efforts to innovate!