SWM News February 2019 - Innovating to meet the challenges of the future
The Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands (IAWM) recently celebrated its first birthday. It was established last year as a bottom-up Alliance of diverse organisations active or interested in science and technology based innovation across the West Midlands with the following objectives:
- Building and maintaining a thriving innovation ecosystem.
- Stimulating and catalysing a pipeline of collaborative innovation activity.
Just like SWM, the IAWM exists to support organisations to catalyse positive change for the benefit of the West Midlands. Whilst we focus on sustainability and IAWM focuses on innovation, there is clearly crossover between these two broad areas. Indeed, 'unsustainable innovation' is not something that really exists. Which is why, over five years ago, SWM and IAWM (in its former guise of Birmingham Science City) joined forces to help inject innovation into the low carbon sector and strengthen the ecosystem that exists to support this.
SWM's key role is to support the Innovative Low Carbon Working Group (ILCWG) and the associated quarterly meetings which focus on IAWM's two aims, specifically benefitting cross-sectoral organisations operating in the low carbon space. A recent first birthday survey of stakeholders facilitated by IAWM suggested that 90% of respondents rated the content of the meetings as good or very good. Indeed, as the ILCWG Chair said recently:
“I find the ILCWG one of the most useful and enjoyable networks that I belong to" - Mike Woollacott, Greenwatt Technology.
This is an exciting time for the IAWM, not least evidenced by the publication of the forthcoming West Midlands Industrial Strategy which will show how strongly innovating across all sectors, including low carbon, is integral to the future prosperity of our region. To have a role in helping to shape what this looks like is a privilege.
There is no doubt that technological, product and service innovation is needed to meet the social, environmental and economic challenges of the future - and we're proud to continue to work in partnership with the IAWM to contribute to this.
Alan Carr, Senior Sustainability Adviser (SWM) and Low Carbon Policy and Partnerships Manager (IAWM), on behalf of the SWM Team