New Innovation Lab for built environment launched

A new programme to accelerate innovation in the UK’s built environment has been launched. The UK Green Building Council’s (UK-GBC) first ‘Innovation Lab’ aims to identify and address systemic challenges […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A new programme to accelerate innovation in the UK’s built environment has been launched.

The UK Green Building Council’s (UK-GBC) first ‘Innovation Lab’ aims to identify and address systemic challenges facing businesses within the sector and co-create innovative and highly sustainable solutions.

It is part of its mission to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment by transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated.

The lead partners for the new programme are Canary Wharf Group, Land Securities and Marks & Spencer.

UK-GBC states the ‘Open Innovation’ format allows participating organisations to work around a common challenge while sharing the risk and potential rewards.

It is working with the lead partners and thought leaders to explore future trends for the built environment as well as key environmental and social challenges for businesses.

The initial workshop highlighted key industry challenges around climate change resilience, resource use, technological advancement and health and wellbeing.

The next workshop in February will begin to respond to the challenge by mapping existing innovations and where a gap is identified, generate new innovative solutions to solve the challenge.

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 £43m 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.”