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Entries in Wales (36)


Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones at the Hay Festival 2013

The Sustainability Bill

Hay Festival 2013, Saturday 25 May 2013, 7pm

The Welsh Government’s First Minister discusses how the groundbreaking Sustainability Bill, due to be ratified later this year, will affect both the public and private sectors in Wales. How will the high-level policies filter down to the day-to-day activities such as procurement and infrastructure? He talks to The Telegraph’s Environment Editor, Geoffrey Lean


Do Lectures 2013: Challenge Projects

The Do Lectures 2013 starts on Thursday. Six challengers have set project briefs to catalyse ideas, action and the creation or adaptation of businesses to meet the needs of the future. The projects are:

Dan Burgess, Swarm

Hi-tech Hi-nature: Using technology to help kids reconnect with nature and the outdoors

Time spent outside in nature increases happiness, health and wellbeing. Fact. Yet British (and beyond) kids have never been more disconnected from the natural world than they are today. Time playing outside during the week has halved in one generation. Roaming distances from home have shrunk by 90% in 30 years. Fewer than 1 in 10 kids regularly play in wild spaces. Most kids can identify more brand logos than flora or fauna

The consequences are terrifying. Obesity rates in children are on the up as are mental health issues and depression. And what might happen if a generation becomes completely disconnected from nature? Who will protect the natural world if there is no connection or love for it in the first place?

The barriers are systemic. Society is becoming more risk averse, anti bacterial hand gels and hi visibility jackets rule and unstructured play and opportunities for roaming ever decreasing. Streets full of cars and fear of stranger danger keeps parents freaked out. Commercialisation of play and entertainment and rampant adoption of screen-based technologies is keeping kids inside.

Technology however is here to stay. Always-on web connectivity, access to apps, games, content  and multiple screen ownership in the home means that tech is going nowhere in kids lives. So how might we use technology to encourage kids to reconnect with nature, the outdoors and non-human life?

Our Do Start-up challenge is to prototype new products and services which flourish at the edges of technology and nature. Ideas that need symbiosis, balance and hybrid of the two to develop and grow.

 How could we subvert/hack existing tech behaviours patterns and systems to get kids (and adults too) running for the door? What form of new enterprise could we create? How would it sustain itself?

In about 7 weeks time a feature length documentary called Project Wild Thing will launch at Sheffield Doc fest, in cinemas, community screenings and on TV. The film will fuel the conversation and increase awareness around this systemic issue. 


Tom Farrand, Swarm

Citizen Social Science: Tapping into the power of citizens to solve social problems

The UK has a population of just over 63 million people. Many of our systems are creaking under the weight of increasing demand, economic uncertainty and massive budget cuts. Think about health care, environmental conservation, local community issues, education, road congestion, crime prevention as startpoints. There just isn’t enough human resource or capacity to cope.

We’ve been piloting a citizen-science based approach that gets the public ‘swarming’ around social problems using web and mobile technology. The first pilot -  Cell Slider - has got ordinary folk accurately classifying over 1 million pieces of data on the web with virtually no marketing - saving pathologist time, money and helping people to fight cancer in a new way.

Our Do Start-Up challenge is about tipping mindless consumption into participation where folk become solvers of real-life problems. So, what other systemic social issues could we tackle collaboratively using a citizen-science ‘swarming’ approach?  Where’s the biggest potential? What idea(s) can we rapidly prototype?  How do we make the complex simple? What’s the business model that will encourage sustainable growth and participation?


Andy Middleton, TYF

Slipstream Wales

Wild geese save two thirds of their energy by flying in formation towards the same place. Business and government  could do the same to take innovation for sustainability to the scale that our communities children and nature need.

We're off the ground already, with half a dozen businesses on board. How do we blast through the sound barrier? What's are the patterns and connections we need to build? How do create opportunity for others as things change?

How do we take use Do Lectures talent and magic to pivot at country scale and use Wales as a prototype lab for the world? How do we make sure that whatever happens, we can say we did everything we could?


James Lynch, Fforest

Small town futures. 

There are three Cardigan crops: food, tourists, youth. Local kids grow up with the land, the sea and community. Riches. They love their place, but many leave to find a future, come back when they retire.  energy spent.

How can we combine food production, tourism services and technology to create a year round business that keeps the energy here?  A business that forms a new (and a bit old) template for rural communities in the beautiful places throughout the uk.


Mark Shayler, TicketyBoo

Developing a circular economy: reinventing manufacturing in Britain.

If we don’t have stuff we can’t make things. We have a linear economy. We take, make, use, and dispose. Only 19% of materials used in the UK are circular. Only 1% of materials used are still in use 6 months later. China owns the rights to 97% of the world’s rare earths. Key manufacturing skills are only 5 years from being lost from the UK. There will be 2 billion more middle class in the East by 2030. Why would the East sell the West anything when they have a big enough market at home?

Enough! How do we begin to manufacture in Britain again? What do we make? Who for? How?  What does a circular economy business model look like? How does it make money? How does it make brilliant products that people want?

We are going to start a circular economy business. We will design the product, source the product, pack the product, brand the product, identify the market, develop the brand (one that means something – no brand-bollocks here), and build the business plan. Any sector. Any product. Any place


Carlo Navato, Haxstead Estates

Housing a growing population in a sustainable way

There is a predicted shortfall of up to 1,100,000 homes in England by 2016;

the number of house constructions started in England in the year to March 2012 was 104,970 compared with the projected formation of 223,000 households a year. 7.4 million homes in England fail to meet the Government's Decent Homes Standard. In 2008/09, 654,000 households in England were overcrowded. The average age of a first-time buyer (unaided by money from relatives) has risen to 37. Every £1 invested in infrastructure generates £2.84 in total economic activity.

Given the deepening housing crisis across the UK, how do we transform housing delivery to ensure, in a way that is affordable to both society and to the environment,  that every household has a decent home?


Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

The most interesting project on the calendar for 2012 so far is the prospect of bringing a bunch of good, foolish people to Wales to break some new records, following on good traditions. The Malcolm Campbell and Thomas Parry set world speed records down the road in Pendine. Sir Edmund Hilary and the team that would go on to be the first to summit Everest did the training that made it happen at the legendary Pen y Gwryd Hotel in Snowdonia.

The records set for breaking in 2012 are in the arena of sustainability - energy, waste, food, travel, innovation and more, bringing leaders and teams from organisations ranging from Procter & Gamble, B&Q, Virgin and Sky will work alongside government and third sector partners to share insights, best practice and networks and find out how fast and how far it's possible to make change happen when we start with the end in mind, not where we are.

One of the teams that we'll be playing with to make it happen comprises Bruce Mau and Bisi Williams from MCN, the Massive Change Network. Some of Bruce's manifesto thoughts are outlined below.

  • 01 Allow events to change you. You have to  be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

    02 Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.

    03 Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

    04 Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

    05 Go deep. The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

    06 Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

    07 Study. A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

    08 Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

    09 Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

    10 Everyone is a leader. Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

    11 Harvest ideas. Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.

    12 Keep moving. The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.

    13 Slow down. Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

    14 Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

    15 Ask stupid questions. Growth is fuelled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

    16 Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

    17 ____________________. Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.

    18 Stay up late. Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.

    19 Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

    20 Be careful to take risks. Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.

    21 Repeat yourself. If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.

    22 Make your own tools. Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

    23 Stand on someone’s shoulders. You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.

    24 Avoid software. The problem with software is that everyone has it.

  • 25 Don’t clean your desk. You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

    26 Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

    27 Read only left–hand pages. Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our ‘noodle’.

    28 Make new words. Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

    29 Think with your mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not device–dependent.

    30 Organization = Liberty. Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between ‘creatives’ and ‘suits’ is what Leonard Cohen calls a “charming artifact of the past.”

    31 Don’t borrow money. Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.

    32 Listen carefully. Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

    33 Take field trips. The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object–oriented, real–time, computer graphic–simulated environment.

    34 Make mistakes faster. This isn’t my idea—I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.

    35 Imitate. Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.

    36 Scat. When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else… but not words.

    37 Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.

    38 Explore the other edge. Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old–tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.

    39 Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms. Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces—what Dr. Seuss calls “the waiting place.” Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference—the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals—but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.

    40 Avoid fields. Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.

    41 Laugh. People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I’ve become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.

    42 Remember. Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.

    43 Power to the people. Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free.


SD as a central organising principle

**Wales’ Central Organising Principle Legislating for Sustainable Development**

Friday 27 January 2012  9-4pm

University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Carmarthen

First Minister Carwyn Jones has set out his Government's commitment not only to have sustainable development as its central organising principal but also to enact this through primary legislation. A Sustainable Development Green Paper will appear next May, followed by a White Paper in the autumn of 2012. This will be the first piece of primary legislation dedicated to sustainable development in the United Kingdom and has the potential to be a world leader.

This conference addresses what the proposals should contain, how they should be implemented and what their likely impact will be. It will ask what difference sustainable development legislation can make to Wales' efforts to create a society more attuned to the related demands of climate change, social justice and a strong economy. Can legislation really enforce sustainable development as a central organising principle? How will the Welsh Government be held to account once the Bill is passed?

Book here: 



Counting the cost

Puma is one of the largest business brands to date to publish the estimated cost to nature of a year's trading - which they've estimated as EUR94 million for water and CO2 and an additional EUR51million for land use, pollution and waste.

It's a bold, important move that they've taken, and one that in time, must be followed by many if not most large businesses as we start to count the true cost of living the way we do. As Wales develops the Natural Environment Framework, Accounting for Sustainability and TEEB publish their data, the legislative and operational frameworks needed to make change will become clearer, stronger and more compelling.