Innovation essential for more sustainable infrastructure

Published on Monday, 22 October 2012 10:45
Posted by Scott Buckler

Forum for the Future is today launching a set of tools to encourage innovation in infrastructure. It is hoped that the toolkit will help nurture ingenuity and new sustainable design and delivery solutions in a sector which has a huge impact on the environment, but is currently not fulfilling its creative potential

Developed and produced in collaboration with seven organisations, all of whom have a significant role in delivering the UK's infrastructure, the toolkit is the result of a year-long project convened by Forum for the Future. The participating organisations came together to understand what holds back innovation in infrastructure delivery, to find ways to break down these barriers and to develop ways of encouraging more innovative designs.

Lorna Pelly, Principal Advisor at Forum, says of the project, "Infrastructure is vital to a sustainable future – get this wrong, and we're locked into high-carbon, high resource-use lifestyles for decades. This uniquely collaborative project has produced practical tools for new ways of thinking and working which can be used not just by organisations in the infrastructure industry, but by any organisation striving to become more innovative and sustainable."

The toolkit is made up of four elements:

  • SpacedIn: recognising the impact that the working environment has on creativity and innovation, this booklet offers tips on how to get the most out of your workspace. 
  • How to engage remote staff: this handy guide offers practical tips and pointers for the tricky task of engaging the large number of remote workers in the sector.
  • Innovation tools: based on the four key stages of the innovation process, these tools are designed to promote creative thinking in any organisation.
  • The little book of innovation: a pocket-sized guide to what was learnt during the course of the project.

Speaking of his experience of working on the project, Will McBain, Associate Director at Arup, said, "This project has reinforced to me that engineers are natural innovators. Now more than ever, it is critical that we make both time and space to harness this creativity, reflect on society's objectives, their implications for the future, and to think creatively about the infrastructure solutions we provide. If we are to genuinely decarbonise infrastructure, and create a society in balance with natural ecosystems, then we do indeed need to reinvent how we both think and act."

Source: ©Forum for the Future

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