TBC - 7th October 2023

Great Malvern, UK

12th Edition



Morning Symposium

 Friday 11th October 2019 (morning)

 Coach House Theatre, Malvern, WR14 3HA 

We can innovate all we like, but if we don't care for the environment and make our solutions sustainable, we may not have a planet to live on.

The event was free for all to attend.




Arrival & Networking

@festivalofinnov #InnovateMalvern #environment #sustainability #GreenEnergy



Dr Adrian Burden, Festival Founder & Managing Director of Innovate Malvern CIC


Mike Goodfellow-Smith, Session Chair & Director of Quest for Future Solutions


Opening remarks

Harriett Baldwin MP, Member of Parliament for West Worcestershire




Sustainability and Innovation in the West Midlands

This presentation will provide an overview of current innovation activity with a focus on sustainable solutions, highlighting the opportunities at a regional level including those associated with Local Industrial Strategies. The speaker will also share case studies of local sustainable innovation successes and ways that businesses can grow their sustainable innovation activity.

Anna Bright is Chief Executive at Sustainability West Midlands (SWM). She has worked within the environmental management sector for the past fifteen years and has a keen personal interest and passion for environmental sustainability. Anna started working at SWM in 2013 and has been responsible for the operations of the organisation, as well as delivering a range of programme and projects, and coordinating many of its networks. She was appointed Trustee of the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country in December 2018. Prior to working at SWM, Anna was a consultant at the Organic Resource Agency in Worcestershire and she has a post graduate diploma in Water and Environmental Management from the University of Bristol and a degree in Environmental Biogeoscience from the University of Leeds.




End-user Innovation or DIY Citizen Place-Making and Local Infrastructure Provision

Towns, cities and rural areas are continually changing reflecting an on-going assemblage of different types and degrees of planned and unplanned interventions. Urban planning and state interventions have played an important role in shaping cities, but more recently a debate on temporary urbanism and insurgent planning has highlighted the importance of understanding the ways in which informal citizen-led interventions act as alternative substitutes to infrastructure provided by the public and private sectors. These approaches embed citizens and voluntary sector organisation in processes of localised place-making. In a democracy, each citizen is involved in public services in three ways: as a purchaser through direct (user fees) or indirect payment (taxation); as a consumer of public services; and as a participant in a democratic process. Nevertheless, often gaps emerge between the services provided by path-dependent institutions and the changing needs of citizens. This presentation explores to what extent citizens can fill these gaps through  citizen-led or end-user innovation as a process of  alternative-substitute place-making to develop local and immediate solutions to the problems being experienced by residents.

Prof. John R. Bryson is Professor of Enterprise and Economic Geography in the Department of Strategy and International Business at the University of Birmingham. He has previosuly held research and teaching posts at the Universities of St Andrews, Cambridge, Wales. Much of his research has focused on understanding sustainable urban environments with a particular focus on services and infrastructure. His books include: Service Worlds: People, Organisations, Technologies, The Handbook of Service Business, Design Economies and the Changing World Economy, Designing Resilient Cities: A Guide to Good Practice and A Research Agenda for Regeneration Economies: Reading City-Regions.



Panel discussion


Networking break with refreshments



Building success on design and innovation

Crossing the 'valley of death' between startup and the later phases of a company is challenging. The business needs to gain new customers, raise funds, and operate whilst drawing on design and innovation to bring new concepts to market.  Ideally this should be done in a scaleable and sustainable way so that the future success of the business is assured. This presentation will look at some cases studies of businesses the speaker has worked with over the years looking at some of the highs and lows as they navigated their way to growth and success.

Beverley Nielsen is an Associate Professor/ Executive Director of IDEA (Institute for Design & Economic Acceleration) at Birmingham City University (BCU), where she has helped to create and grow over 45 new businesses in diverse areas including Connected Autonomous Vehicles and low carbon transport, fashion, interiors and jewellery. Prior to this she was Director of Employer Engagement and Director of Corporate Affairs at BCU. Before academia she worked for ten years as Director of AGA Rangemaster Plc and MD of Fired Earth. She has also served as Director of CBI West Midlands, gaining lobbying experience as European Policy Advisor in London and Deputy Manager, CBI Brussels. She has an honorary Masters degree from Coventry University and has been recognised as Midlands Business Woman of the Year and West Midlands Ambassador of the Year.




New technology and the African energy transition

The developing world has an increasing demand for energy coupled with a growing understanding of climate change. Therefore renewable energy solutions must be mobilised at scale to convince this growing population that clean energy can be both a viable and appealing solution. In the case of Africa, the usual issues of risk, poor governance and political instability still hang over the continent, but there is a fantastic opportunity for the early lessons learnt and new technlologies tried in Europe to be rolled out. Private project developers are rapidly , mobilising development capital and bringing the innovation, best practice and governance to these frontier regions. WESAF is one of these developers with a novel cane to biofuel and power project, the aim being to provide clean power to off-grid communities and make renewables the norm for the once energy poor. Our project model  is inclusive but simple, and will leverage some of the best innovations in agri-tech, power generation and smart technologies to demonstrate the huge impact that is possible now on the future of the developing world.

Marvin Tabi is the 34 year old CEO of WESAF Energy. He is of Cameroonian decent but raised and educated in the UK. His academic qualifications in law and then oil and gas law were obtained respectively from London Metropolitan University and the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. WESAF is a UK registered company owning assets in his native Cameroon. In 2015 Marvin and his family visited their village in the South west Region of Cameroon and were able to actualise heritage land which has always been in the family. The 785 acre site will be used exclusively to develop and demonstrate the sustainable energy project described.



Lunch & Networking

Opportunity to chat with the speakers and discuss what you have heard over a light buffet lunch and refeshments.



Opportunities to be creative in the circular economy

Our world is moving from one of linear waste collection and disposal to that of extraction, recycling and re-use. This circular economy means that one person's commercial or doemstic waste, if harnessed and handled carefully, is another person's raw material. This talk will highlight lessons learnt in growing a national waste collection service over the years and how tackling particular customers' problems has led to innovative products using novel materials and processes. 

Philip Mossop launched WasteCollection.com in 2006 as the first fully automated eCommerce for business waste service of its kind in the UK. A serial entrepreneur, Philip is also passionate about environmental sustainability in general and has since founded the green house to offer cleantech services to well known brands. He is also a non-executive director of Pentatonic, a venture that transforms post-consumer materials and supply chain surplus into high performance, luxurious solutions for the world’s largest companies and most influential brands. Philip was a speaker at TEDxLundUniversity in January 2019.




The role of business in tackling environmental and sustainability issues

The UN’s Millennium Development Goals were an agenda for governments and societies to tackle hunger, disease and poverty but their replacement, the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, went broader; they contain targets which can only be met by business. The same is true of the Paris Climate Goals of the same year, reflecting a new perception of business as a source of global solutions to problems of climate, resource depletion and market failure - not just their cause. But this is no tale of corporate philanthropy; in a series of stories Tom will show how business for good can be good business.

Tom Levitt is a writer and consultant on responsible business and the author of ‘The Company Citizen: Good for Business, Planet, Nation and Community'. A former Labour MP and a serial charity chair, his clients have included major businesses, think tanks, councils, social enterprises and charities. Until recently he was a member of the independent sustainability advisory panel for Walgreen Boots Alliance, and he sits on a BSI committee looking at social value. Once a science teacher, Tom is a season ticket holder at Brentford FC. His post-Brexit political tragicomedy, ‘PowerPlay’, was performed in the 2018 Camden Fringe.



Final remarks




Business Centre

If you needed time or space to sit at a desk and respond to some emails, you could pop next door: BLOOM.SPACE kindly made part of their facility available to Festival delegates during the business sessions.

BloomSpace 150pxw

BLOOM.SPACE is located in Great Malvern at The Grange, between the Coach House Theatre and the Malvern Theatres. They have a Club Room, hot desks, fixed desks, multiple private offices, training room, meeting rooms, a treatment room, pop-up shop space and some wonderful views of the Malvern Hills. Membership includes free access to their London office.


2019 Festival Sponsors

2019 Festival Supporters