A new approach to innovation in the built environment has been launched by the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC).
The ‘Innovation Lab’ programme consists of a number of workshops which aim to identify and address systemic challenges facing businesses within the sector, and co-create innovative and highly sustainable solutions.
The open innovation format allows participating organisations to convene around a common challenge and collaborate freely, whilst sharing the risk and potential rewards.
UK-GBC is working with the programme lead partners Canary Wharf Group, Land Securities and Marks & Spencer, and thought leaders to explore future trends for the built environment as well as key environmental and social challenges for business.
Cat Hirst, head of leadership and innovation at UK-GBC, said:
“Research and Development levels across our industry are painfully low; the UK currently only spends £43 million 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.
“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 kicked off last month with a workshop to identify the ‘breakthrough challenge’ which will form the focus of a nine-month programme of work. The workshop highlighted key industry challenges around climate change resilience, resource use, shifting demographics, technological advancement and health and wellbeing.
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.