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Four grand challenges of mobility innovation identified

A breakfast briefing organised by Connected Places Catapult Business Fellow Simon Barnes to discuss the challenges and opportunities for innovation in mobility took place on Friday 12 July at the University of Kent.

Progressive organisations and inspiring leaders understand that innovation and profit are not counterintuitive pursuits, and do, in fact, go hand-in-hand. While it can be hard to predict the next big disruption, it is entirely possible to identify the current forces and direction of travel that will impact significantly on the future of business. This event brought together organisations looking to stay ahead of the competition by focusing on innovative technologies that drive business disruption.

Four grand challenges for innovation

The working considered four grand challenges facing the UK economy, how they might impact on businesses, what opportunities they might present, and where we might expect to see disruption next, what form those disruptions might take and who is likely to spearhead them. These challenges were:

  • Artificial intelligence and data – new industries in their own right, Fernando Otero, from the University of Kent outlined how they are also transforming business models across many sectors as they deploy vast datasets to identify better ways of doing complex tasks
  • Ageing society – we have an obligation to help our older citizens lead independent, fulfilled lives, continuing to contribute to society and Eric Kihlstrom, from Innovate UK discussed how ageing populations will create new demands for technologies, products and services
  • Clean growth – How whole new industries will be created and existing industries transformed as we move towards a low carbon, more resource-efficient economy was covered by Jason Lewis, from Peter Brett Associates
  • Future of mobility – we are experiencing a profound change in how we move people, goods and services around our towns, cities and countryside, and Will Pearson, Head of Academic Engagement at Connected Places Catapult, explored how this is driven by extraordinary innovation in engineering, technology and business models.

Talking about the morning’s successes, Simon Barnes said: “The day provided a fascinating insight into the way the grand challenges are being responded to through internal funding from universities keen to support their local businesses, as well as showing how the Catapult Centres and other organisations are driving innovation in business models and changing economies.”

On the subject of innovation in mobility, Connected Places Catapult has launched a project to explore new concepts of public transport on UK motorways. You can read more about it here.

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