News Archive 2013
Older news stories about Red Kite Enterprise and Environment and important stories about business and the environment. If you would like to discuss how any of these items might affect your business, or create an opportunity, please contact us.
'To boldly grow' – UK Space Innovation and Growth Strategy launch
14 November 2013
The UK space industry launched its new Innovation and Growth Strategy for 2014-30 today. The IGS is
subtitled a "Space Growth Action Plan", and comprises a list of actions to help the UK space industry
achieve its aim of growing from £9bn today to £40bn, 10% of the world market, by 2030.
Reports on the IGS launch can be found on websites of the UK Space Agency and the Satellite Applications Catapult. The IGS and additional documents can be found on the TSB’s Space Special Interest Group.
Red Kite contributed to the strategy, particularly in understanding commercial markets and how to approach them.
Red Kite Analysis: Before, the launch, we Tweeted the 5 things we were looking for in the IGS. Here is our assessment.
1. Are the actions sufficient to achieve a £40bn industry?
2. Are the actions sufficiently well defined - are they SMART enough?
3. Is there understanding of the resources it will need, and are these committed?
4. Are the implementation team & governance strong enough to deliver?
5. Is there a good plan to open up new markets?
Overall, we think the IGS is a well-thought out plan, but some actions need further development, particularly the ones addressing commercial markets, and the plan needs to be fully defined, adequately resourced and well governed. (More detailed feedback is available to the IGS team).
To boldly grow to four times its current turnover, the UK Space industry must:
• Complete definition of the IGS as a Programme
• Set up programme governance and management, with sufficient resources for the task
• Research the 22 commercial markets to understand the players and their motivations, and develop a marketing plan for each
Debate with CIWEM and George Monbiot
6 November 2013
Through our connections with Mott MacDonald, the global management, engineering and development consultancy, we were
invited to an exclusive dinner debate arranged with CIWEM (The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management).
George Monbiot set the theme by stating that attempts to put a monetary value on nature would backfire, partly because such
values could easily be perverted by business or political interests, and partly because it shifts the issue from ‘intrinsic’ personal
values to ‘extrinsic’ financial gain.
In a lively and open debate, some of his points were supported, some developed and some opposed by the group of senior environmental and business leaders there. Red Kite’s input was to put the focus on where and how the key decisions were made. For the big environmental issues discussed, these decisions are made in the Treasury and big businesses. Both of those respond more to financial stimuli than to protest, particularly where such protest is spread across many, sometimes contradictory, interests.
Mike Barry, Director of ‘Plan A’ at Marks and Spencer said they’d now achieved 140 of the 180 commitments under the plan, generating a net benefit of £185m. But they now realised this was only 10% of the journey to true sustainability.
Jeremy Bentham talked about how Shell uses scenarios to examine possible futures for energy, water, food, land use and climate. They use these to see routes to limit global warming to 2C while meeting the energy needs of developing society. Worryingly, they can no longer see plausible scenarios that achieve both of these, where 20 years ago they could.
The other speakers, from the University, UBS and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation built a picture that there was a lot that businesses could do, that had direct benefits in increased profits, but to balance the imperatives across the world international government agreements would be needed. We particularly agreed with one of the Fellows who said the way the issues are communicated is vital. For business it should be phrased as “how to survive and thrive”. For governments, there needed to be specific policy requests, rather than a general urging.
We’re making some improvements to our website. In content, we will better reflect the work we do with technology and technical businesses. We’ll also be moving to a HTML5 based platform, which in practice means the website should work much better with tablets and smartphones.
At an Oxford event we attended the CFO of Shell, Simon Henry, reflected on his life in the business and the future of the oil and gas industry. He talked of a future that would be highly urbanised, and electrified with distributed power. But he also noted to the ‘trilemma’ conflict, which in Shell is called the ‘3As’: Available, Affordable and Acceptable. In particular it is hard to see a global strategy that allows developing countries access to cheap power, while restraining their greenhouse gas emissions.
He said Shell supports well-designed emissions trading or carbon pricing schemes (as opposed to the poor ones of today) with stability for long-range planning being an essential feature. This can only come from international political agreement on energy and greenhouse gases.
In the absence of any clear momentum towards such an agreement, Shell continues to pursue new sources of fossil fuels. However, they do now consider the risk that these sources will become obsolete before they can be exploited, and they do include a notional carbon price in their calculations.
One area where Red Kite made strong inputs based on our expertise was how to ‘market’ space capabilities more effectively to other sectors. To date, the space industry has been more focused on public sector, scientific and in-industry customers than in establishing a productive dialogue with other sectors. This is a challenge for individual businesses, other organisations, and for the sector as a whole. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about how your business could do better at marketing your products and services to a broader range of customers.
Change, and Leadership & Communications. That's a pattern so common, we call it the 'Bermuda Triangle of Change Programmes'. Robin then described with examples some of the simple, but effective tools and frameworks we use to help clients overcome these hurdles to establish momentum and achieve successful change.
Red Kite analysis: The advocacy positions on different technologies boil down to views on their practicality and economics. The most effective way through the maze would be to have a clear, long-term policy that creates a level playing-field and allows proponents to put their investment money where their mouths are. This, ultimately, can only be delivered by government. The Energy Bill is going through Parliament now, but we fear it currently errs too much towards complexity and individual measures rather than a simple, stable framework.
Today’s event was a workshop at the Satellite Applications Catapult facilities in Harwell, Oxfordshire to initiate review of 35 markets with large potential. Red Kite will helps in particular with communications, environmental and agricultural markets. In addition we have offered our marketing expertise for the ‘Awareness’ workstream.
The event was introduced by the High Commissioner of Uganda, who talked about how the region was moving from an aid-based economy to an investment based one, with key enabling investments in infrastructure, energy and agriculture.
Addressing the first, Robin talked about 4 “fault-lines” on which sustainability impacts are starting to be felt and which are likely to be the source of increasing “quakes” in the future. On the second, he identified 4 ways that businesses could avoid the threats and take advantage of the opportunities that these issues present, with a particular emphasis on East African business.
Four members of the panel then discussed the East African opportunity, from the perspectives of investment and human resources, and this was followed by a lively panel discussion with questions from the audience. Feedback on the seminar was very positive "engaging", "very enjoyable" and a "great success". Read more at: www.sinoafricanassociation.org
Over 33 US businesses have now signed the Climate Declaration. This states that “Tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest opportunities of the 21st Century” and calls on US government and business to “confront this challenge”. Signatories include giants such as Intel, Levi Strauss, Nestle, Nike, Unilever and recently even General Motors.
Red Kite analysis: Why are big businesses adding pressure on government to act on climate change, through this and the Cambridge-led Corporate Leaders Network for Climate Action? They have the resources to figure out the possible implications of not acting, and heading into uncharted territory where outcomes could be unpredictable and destabilising. So in addition to ethical reasons, it makes good sense for businesses successful in today’s environment to avoid uncertain change.
At Red Kite, we don’t just walk the talk – we ride it! In our 2012 financial year, MD Robin covered 679 miles of business travel on a bike – mostly the distinctive bright green Brompton that has become a frequent sight at his meetings and conferences.