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Open Innovation Levels Framework published by UKGBC

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and Sustainable Ventures (SV) have published the Open Innovation Levels Framework, a resource aimed at enabling open innovation with the goal of reducing the climate impacts of the built environment.

The organisations say 40% of UK carbon emissions are attributable to the built environment, which requires significant innovation to reduce its impact. Recent research shows that, in London, innovation is the most frequently identified soft skill required to respond to recent trends in the built environment, with the same research identifying the most significant trend being the climate crisis.

As part of a project to accelerate open innovation, funded by EIT Climate-KIC, UKGBC and SV carried out interviews, desktop research and workshops with innovators and large corporations operating in the built environment sector to identify the needs and barriers currently preventing significant innovation. This research identified that in many cases the power to overcome barriers to innovation lies with large corporate organisations.

45% of all barriers identified related to corporate culture, including attitude to risk, lack of systems thinking and lack of incentives.

The Framework provides a step-by-step guide on how corporates can engage in open innovation and reach effective solutions. It is divided into 4 key phases – challenge definition, scoping, engagement, and collaboration – each of which are broken down further into 8 levels with associated actions. This shared process creates a common understanding of open innovation between corporates and innovators, increases transparency, and enables more efficient and timely engagements.

Alastair Mant, Head of Business Transformation at UKGBC said: “If the built environment is to play its part in tackling the climate crisis we must radically increase the use of innovative solutions. Many companies throughout the property and construction value chain are setting ambitious carbon reduction commitments and to meet these they must now find new ways to construct and operate buildings and infrastructure. Innovators and start-ups continue to create many of the required concepts, prototypes and even final products, but due to largely cultural issues, take-up of these solutions is too slow. The Open Innovation Levels Framework provides corporates with a step-by-step process for collaborating with start-ups in a way that will lead to greater levels of innovation within their projects and across the industry.

“It is our hope that UKGBC members and other organisation in the built environment find this Framework useful in pursuing innovative solutions to environmental and social impact challenges.”

Charlie Beharrell, Senior Commercial Associate at Sustainable Ventures, added: “Sustainable Venture’s community is thriving with innovators tackling the Built Environment’s climate and sustainability issues, but the sector lags behind in its efforts to nurture these and bring them to market. The framework we have developed with UKGBC will enable corporate entities to better engage with early stage innovation, helping to build new, tailored solutions to facilitate the transition to net zero.”

UKGBC publishes Social Value guidance for local authorities

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has released its latest guidance document, detailing how local authorities can help ensure that new construction and property development in their area positively impacts people and communities by delivering social value.

‘Driving social value in new development: Options for local authorities’ is a comprehensive set of recommendations for local authorities, based on research and consultation with local government, businesses and not-for-profit experts. It is a detailed exploration of the policy mechanisms that can be used by local authorities to specify and ensure social value outcomes. Such outcomes include jobs and economic growth, health and wellbeing, environmental sustainability and strength of community.

John Alker, Director of Policy and Places at UKGBC said: “Ever since Government introduced the Social Value Act a few years ago, this topic has been rising up the agenda of both local authorities and private sector. However, there is still a long way to go before we fully grasp the opportunities presented by the concept, particularly in relation to development and regeneration.

“With the acute funding pressures faced by local authorities, as well as the growing interest in social impact investing and socially responsible business, there are strong drivers for public and private sector to work together to maximise the benefits from new development to local communities.”

The guidance covers the use of social value requirements in:

  • Local government procurement that relates to new development
  • Local planning policy
  • The disposal of local authority land

The document is available in UKGBC’s popular presentation resource format which allows local authorities to easily incorporate the organisation’s research into their own material.

As a live resource, the guidance will be updated periodically to reflect policy changes, latest thinking and new case studies. UKGBC is welcoming approaches from local authorities and other organisations wishing to contribute to the development of this resource.