Last month I wrote about how finding things you didn’t even know you were looking for was one of the most exciting aspects of an open innovation approach

I used the example of how a proposal to this open innovation portal, centred around a new steel-framed panel, had played a key role in the development of the ‘Active Classroom’, a largely steel-based ‘buildings as power stations demonstrator’, and one of the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) in South Wales first live projects.

Well, I thought it was worth a quick update as in July, I'm delighted to say, the ‘Active Classroom’ won the Innovation Award at The Construction Excellence Wales (CEW) awards. Constructing Excellence in Wales is a Welsh-Government funded body that champions best practice and promotes a better built environment. It has run an annual awards scheme since 2006. This year’s award for Innovation, announced and presented on the 14th July, celebrates the project which has taken the most inventive approach to overcoming challenges and has developed solutions that benefit wider industry. It’s worth pointing out also that the Classroom was shortlisted for two other categories: Integrated and Collaborative Working, and Sustainability.

The award is fantastic of course, and is thoroughly deserved by everyone in the 20+ collaborating companies who worked so hard to make the project a success. My biggest satisfaction, however, comes from seeing a technology we identified through open innovation get used in a real project and we are still working with the SMEs that developed the steel-framed panel technology to see how we can take it further. What I’d really love to see though is to see other examples of our open innovation approach come to such a conclusion. If you think you have something we could work on together, just drop me a line line through this portal and let’s take it from there.

Of course, more awards would be nice as well! The project has now been shortlisted for ‘Sustainable Project of the Year’ at the prestigious UK National Building Awards in November. I’ll let you know how it gets on!


About the Author

Pete Longdon has a PhD in Chemistry and MSc in Ferrous Metallurgy. He joined the steel industry as a researcher in 1990. He’s since led several R&D teams and managed a number of European collaborative projects for Tata Steel. Since 2010 Pete has been tasked with seeking out new technologies and encouraging collaboration.