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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y. T E C H N O LO G Y. P E O P L E .







CURATED AND EDITED BY Richard Potts CONTRIBUTORS Yolanda Berry, Msc Danielle Krage Tim Whitcher, CEng Alex Cosgrove Helen Tanner Ann Holman, FRSA Rose Worley, MSc Richard Potts Michelle Clark & Richard Pidgeon COVER IMAGE Photo by NASA ONLINE Website www.firesidex.com Email hello@firesidex.com Event: www.firesidesummit.com Instagram @firesidesummit Twitter @firesidesummit Facebook /firesidesummit

Published in the UK by Whisper Media Ltd. © Whisper Media Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission.

FOREWORD. By Richard Potts


here are around seventeen times

crushed biodiversity, altered the chemical

more words in the English language

composition of the atmosphere, polluted the

than there are visible stars in the

waterways, sterilised the soils and consumed

night sky. For over one hundred thousand years,

the planet’s resources far beyond sustainable limits.

humans have used language to share stories

Storytelling may have begun sat around a

together. Carried in our words are the hopes,

campfire, with the natural world above,

aspirations, fears and doubts of billions of

below and to all sides of us, but today com-

people, our forebears and our contemporar-

munication with each other is more likely to

ies. Those words weave together into the

take place in the glow of a synthetic screen

skein of human history and tell of a primate

than the flicker of firelight.

that has overcome existential threats and elevated itself to become the most advanced species in the known universe.

With all our immense successes and technological gains, our vast networks of communication and cooperation, have we lost

Many of those stories have taken place

something? Is it possible to fully address sus-

around a fire. Indeed, fire and language are

tainability without unplugging ourselves

the tools with which humans conquered the

from the daily addictions of the modern

Earth. None of today’s technological


advances would have been possible without the forges of the industrial age. Those forges would not have been possible without our ability to communicate and share ideas. Our words and stories speak of our apotheosis, but they also record our hubris. In our rush to humanise the planet we’ve

FiresideX explores these questions and more and it is my hope that this magazine will be equal parts evocative, educational and inspirational as we seek the answers together. I hope you enjoy reading it.

06 TECHNOLOGY & BEHAVIOUR Yolanda Berry, Msc




Photo by sammy joonhe

Danielle Krage





62 SUSTAINABILITY & FASHION Michelle Clark & Richard Pidgeon

Photo by Kolar.io on Unsplash


Words by Yolanda Berry, Msc // Behavioural Economist

These advances have allowed our population to grow from 910 million to 8 billion over the same period.

We have also been able to:

innovations increased consumption patterns

Create holes in the atmosphere (ozone

even more.


Consumption growth

Build on a monumental scale

Level entire forests

We slowly moved away from the “make do

Raise the temperature of the atmosphere

and mend” mentality to a “new is better”

Permanently alter rivers and their

mentality. In the 1920’s GM President Alfred


P. Sloan adopted a marketing approach that made it desirable to buy a new car each year,

One of the key reasons we are in this situation driven by improvements in heaters, mirrors, is because our current economy is, and for fins, colours, radios, etc. almost all of our history has been, linear. Brook Stevens took this one step farther and is credited with the idea of “planned obsoles-

This means we pull resources out of the

cence”, items would break after regular use,

ground, consume them, and then return

and replacement would be cheaper than

them as waste back into the ground/ocean in

repair. Often repairing an item is almost as

the form of waste. This is hugely costly in

expensive as a new item. Why do we buy a

land, energy, and environmental impact, but

new washing machine for £300 when it

these costs have always been externalities; no

would cost £250 to repair it? From a purely

one party has had to pay for these impacts,

financial standpoint, it makes no sense to

so nothing has ever been done to address

spend the extra £50 on something that will


clean our clothes. However, we perceive that

When our footprint on the planet was

we get a better value from something new,

smaller and most of the waste we produced

rather than something repaired/old.

was organic, the linear approach worked

Critically, it takes more effort to find

fine. But the industrial revolution, and the

someone to fix our machine, be home when

economic revolution it caused, threw the

they can come, etc. It actually takes more

equation out of balance, and business

“thinking” to fix the machine than it does to


Photo by Shane McLendon

Photo by Bernard Hermant

Photo by American Public Power Association


Photo by S. Ross Morris

Photo by Gonz DDL

Photo by Lenny Kuhne

Photo by Roberto Nickson

Photo by David Hofmann

“just buy a new one” and humans are a bit

source of clean/food-grade/recycled PET to


make a run of 1,000,000 recycled cups. From a carbon standpoint, producing a

The solution: linear to circular

virgin PET plastic cup has 2.9x higher

Just as a combination of business and

carbon-footprint as a recycled PET plastic

technical innovation brought us to this point,


business and technical innovation are now

The human element

offering a solution. A circular economy captures resources and reuses it, thus

So if a circular economy makes so much

reducing both the end waste, and the need

sense, why haven’t we already implemented

for new resources, e.g. oil, trees, metals, etc.


A radical change from a linear economy into

The short answer is that humans are lazy. This “laziness” is not accidental. Humans are A viable circular economy requires a reliable primates, and primates evolved to be lazy source of materials. Our current supply because of the distinct evolutionary advantages chains are very good at pulling virgin oil out that laziness afforded. a circular economy needs to take place.

of the ground, but very poor at making clean sources of recycled goods available. For

When resources are scarce, avoiding extra

example, it costs about £.01 to make a virgin

effort makes a lot of sense, but when we

plastic cup, and about £.04 to make a

reach the point where the planet’s problems

recycled plastic cup. Why is this? Because of

are caused by a surfeit of resources, this evol-


utionary advantage does more damage than good.

A batch/run of 1,000,000 virgin plastic cups is easy to reproduce because the resources to

This laziness provided huge advantages not

make more (oil) is plentiful, and reliable. In

only in our consumption patterns but in our

order to use 100% recycled plastic to make


a plastic cup, specifically treated plastic is

advantages persist even in modern times:

required, and there simply isn’t a reliable

while crossing the street, if we see a bus


as well. These


quickly coming at us, we don’t stop to

our favourite brand and buy it again and

evaluate if they will slow down, or if we


should speed up. We just quickly hop across

As suggested, we need to change to a circular Khanamen elaborates on this in his best economy. the street to get out of the way. Daniel selling book, Thinking Fast and Slow.

In the early 20th century, deposits on bottles encouraged people to return expensive glass

So how does this work behaviourally? We take cognitive short-cuts in our decision making because we have a limited amount of “cognitive load”.

bottles. With the rise of plastic (a brilliant and much misunderstood material), some countries have implemented a Deposit Return Scheme which is fantastic at claiming

Everyone has a finite amount of cognitive

plastic bottles and aluminium. Reverse

load, and as primates, we are hard-wired to

Vending Machines (RVMs) are used to

be constantly seeking ways to lessen

accept used plastic bottles and aluminium

demands on our limited supply of thinking

cans. But we need more than RVMs to get us

power. One such shortcut is that we assume

out of this ecological mess. We need a way to

that decisions we’ve made in the past are the

capture and track every bit of waste. That

right decision. The power of branding relies

requires a massive shift in both technology

heavily on that assumption; here is an

and behaviour.


Today, we are surrounded by computers and

Breakfast cereal - There are over 50 types of

technology. Even in the most economically

breakfast cereal at a supermarket. We don’t

deprived places, almost everyone has more

think about what is the best type of cereal to

computer power on their person than it took

buy. At some point, we made a decision that

for humans to get to the moon.

we liked cereal X, and so every time we go to

Additionally, in business, we have access to

the store, we only need to decide if we need

new technologies that are transforming and

more cereal, not what type to buy.

disrupting supply chains. This

Companies want to make it easy for us to find


Photo by Franki Chamaki

Photo by Andres Urena

Photo by Artiom Vallat

transformation includes the ability to be

Chemical recycling will make our landfills

more transparent than has ever been

seem like gold mines (oil wells?). The end

possible. Transparency breeds accountability

product of chemical recycling is a form of

because our behaviour changes when we are

wax that can be used in any way that oil could


be used, e.g. food grade plastics, sterile plastic equipment for hospitals, etc.

There are 3 disruptive technologies currently existing that can address many of the envir-

Chemical recycling is particularly good for

onmental issues we are facing, but critically

plastic that is difficult to recycle, e.g. plastic

lend themselves nicely to aid behavioural

bags, hospital waste, and hard plastics.


As chemical recycling matures, more

1. Chemical Recycling

councils will be able to afford it, and our

2. Machine Learning/AI

ability to easily recycle plastic bags, crisp

3. Blockchain

packets, biscuit wrappers, etc will be much easier. And as a behaviouralist, making things

Chemical Recycling

easy is key to making it successful.

Chemical recycling is the ability to take any

Machine Learning

plastic back to its chemical beginnings. That is, reducing plastic from a bag, or a bottle,

AI/Machine learning can help us determine

back to a reusable wax.

the best way to recycle an item. Remember, we are lazy, and we don’t want to use up our

Having worked in the waste and recycling

limited cognitive function on things we can

sector, I know how difficult it is to recycle

avoid thinking about.

“properly”. I once took a piece of hard plastic into work and asked other experts how I

This is where AI/Machine Learning comes in.

should recycle it, the 5 of us debated for 20

Combining innovations like Google’s reverse

minutes what should be done with it … if we

image search with apps that tell the user

couldn’t figure it out, then asking residents

where to recycle an item is an example of

to “do the right thing” is unrealistic.

how AI can make it much easier for us to


recycle, and have a cleaner recyclate at the

new technology.

end of the process. This isn’t technology of

There are several factors that will be required

the future, there are already apps that are in

for the above technologies to be successful.

development to help determine the material

The first part of the puzzle is that there must

of an item and to inform the user the easiest

be a reason for someone to use their precious

way to properly recycle the item.

cognitive load to download an app, set up an


account, and use the app on a daily basis.

The 3rd technology that I want to speak

A few early adopters will gladly set this up, and a few will never bother. As a behavioural value of a blockchain with the idea of a economist, I’m aiming for the middle group who cryptocurrency. Blockchain is the linchpin needs to be encouraged. about is Blockchain. Do not confuse the

that ties accountability, traceability and transparency




patented processes, a blockchain can track

This is where the power of social norms,

materials through the entire lifecycle.

behavioural patterns, and judgement and decision making comes in. Establishing a

This is critical to ensuring the shift to the

social norm can happen quite quickly. One

circular economy. Blockchain, allows the

university gave away a reusable coffee cup to

circular supply chain to be as predictable as

its freshers, with the incentive of £.10 off

the linear supply chain. Additionally, if there

every coffee. The first year they had only

is a breakdown in the recycling chain, and

9,000 cups sold with a reusable cup. The

bottles end up on a beach in Indonesia, then

second year, they had over 200,000 (saving

we know where the process was broken and

the student body £20,000!) coffees sold

can make the responsible party accountable.

with a reusable cup. The above example of

All successful technology augments and

200,000 single use coffee cups saved

assists us to limit the impact on our cognitive

demonstrates how the social norm for

load. But its only useful if the human uses it.

carrying your own cup is acceptable. That is

There will always be a learning curve to a

the power of a social norm.


New technology on its own is not sufficient to be able to bring us out of the environmental mess that we are currently in. We need to add real value to materials we consider waste. As a member of a rich western economy, it’s incumbent on us to be the early adopters, and to help developing economies use the resources that are literally washing up on their shores. We have the technology, we just need a few more systems

to fix the problems. So, if you use a cool new app that will help others recycle, make sure you tell your friends about it, in the morning, or on a lunch break. This way they have the cognitive load to take in something new. If you tell them about it at the end of the day, when they are tired, they will be too reluctant to try something new.

to join together towards a common goal.

Behavioural breakout The environmental predicament we are in right now will need everyone to participate

Yolanda Berry, MSc Behavioural Economist | www.ukbehaviouraleconomics.com Yolanda began her career in high tech customer support in California during the first .com boom. She was the point of contact for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory during the initial Mars Pathfinder mission, and as the leader of the support team of the company which wrote Pathfinder’s operating system, Yolanda was the first person to take a support call from another planet.




years ago, I thought that the only way to effectively coach and train speakers was in person, face to face. I was wrong. Happily wrong. I now run my entire speaker coaching business online, and coach remotely via Zoom – whether it’s in-house

training for distributed companies like Automatic, or a cohort of speakers for a design conference in Islamabad. Here I’m going to share 3 ways that technology can support your ongoing development as a speaker.

One: build an online community for rehearsal and feedback The organisational psychologist and TED speaker, Adam Grant, has developed what he calls a ‘challenge network’ – people who will give him honest feedback so that he can do his very best work. I love this, and encourage my speakers to choose and build this network so that their progress is sustainable after they stop working with me as a coach. What is great about being able to do this online is that it can massively open up our options for getting targeted feedback. Here is what it can look like practically: People that you can message with quick questions. A 30 second ask. For example, you could send a shortlist of titles and ask ‘Would you choose to go and see talk A, B, or C? And why?’ People who are from your target audience. You can check relevance by sending the 3 main points you are thinking of covering, to get quick feedback – in a Slack chat or as a 60 second video pitch. You can brief them about who you’ll be speaking to and ask, ‘Does this sound useful? What catches your interest? What am I missing?’


Fellow speakers. It can be great to trade feedback with a network of speakers. You can select your ‘ask’ depending on their schedules, and what works practically for them. This could be a 5−minute video of your opening, that they can watch in their own time. Or 15 minutes of your talk shared live via Zoom. You can ask specific questions (for example, ‘is this analogy working?’) and check what is quickest and easiest for them with regards to giving feedback – for example, they might choose to give feedback via an audio message, or over a live call.

Two: learn from the best There are so many brilliant talks online, that we can study by watching and in some cases by reading the transcripts. (For example, the TED.com site has transcripts of their talks, in multiple languages.) Writers including Stephen King and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie advise that if you want to get better as a writer, you also need to read. I think the same is true for speakers – watching and analysing other speakers can help us develop a vocabulary for what works and what doesn’t. One practical way to do this is to pick an area that you want to improve in, and watch a talk with that filter. For example, if you want to become a better storyteller, you could watch different speakers to see how they handle ‘story’. It can also be really fun to set up an online ‘talk-club’ …. like a book-club but for speakers. You get to create your own rules, so make it work for you. For example, you could all watch the first 10 minutes of an agreed talk in your own time, and then meet on Zoom to share 2 things that you thought worked great, and one area for improvement. This can be an excellent way of creating a shared vocabulary amongst your feedback network. And it is really effective as a shared activity for teams within companies.


Three: record and watch Recording and watching ourselves as speakers can be really useful, provided that we keep perspective. I suggest doing the following: Record your talk, or a section of your talk and watch it back ready to take notes. Write at the top of the page, WAYS TO IMPROVE AS A SPEAKER. Underneath, note down what you notice, but make sure that you then convert it into a practical way to improve as a speaker. Stay focused on what is likely to matter to an audience. For example, more helpful to note, ‘Spoke really fast at the beginning,’ and then ‘Try slowing down and pause more’ than just to go for a personal criticism like ‘I hate my voice’. I hope 2020 is awesome for you, and that you keep improving as a speaker – wherever you are starting from, and wherever you want to get to.

Danielle Krage Remote Speaker Coach www.remotespeakercoach.com Danielle is a speaker coach who works with clients remotely, to help them develop their presentations and conference keynotes.

Photo by Bruno Cervera



Words by Tim Whitcher // Head of Future Ready Rail

Photo by Ryoji Iwata

Anybody who reads the business press can tell you there is always a theme that is in vogue. Right now that theme is sustainability in business. It shouldn’t be really; sustainability should be foundational to our approach to business.


ustainability is basically minimising

efficient work and who really has time to play


ping pong?




our wellbeing


Where I believe we have missed the real

remaining going concerns as companies.

opportunity is in people. I have long said the

Minimising environmental impact, reducing

problem in business is that we seem have


taken the personnel out of personnel


improved waste




management, we see “human resources”

working hours and lower stress to increase

instead. Literally humans (not people) as

wellbeing combined with the need to

resources (a financial cost that requires a

maintain or increase turnover and profit,

return on).

means one thing – do more with less.

But being human is just about as complete a

Doing more with less

description of a person as vehicle is to a car – technically true but the differences

Doing more with less means increasing

between a Ferrari GTO 250 and a Lada are

performance – we have already realised we

quite pronounced!

need to constrain working hours and so on – so really what we are saying is we need to

And this is where we have an opportunity –

improve the productivity of our teams.

because to increase our productivity, to do more with less, we need to increase the pro-

There are a lot of examples of how this has

ductivity of our people.

been tried, from better integrated business

High performance people

systems to ping pong tables and free beer. And each of these has some merit but in

Everybody can be high performing. That is

practice more IT does not always mean more


Photo by Sangga Rima Roman Selia

true of all of us. But the circumstances under

If we can control all of this, make our work

which we perform best are as unique as we

areas support us rather than simply


accommodate us, we can help people relax and increase their productivity.

We perform best when we are comfortable,

Personalised workspaces

in an environment that makes us forget we are working and lets us focus on the task at

No two people are alike and everyone has

hand. What prevents us from doing this are

their preferences

distractions. Needing to set our chair up



of work

environment – lighting levels, temperature,

correctly, adjust out monitors to get the right

music, screen set-up, contrast, short-cuts

angle, desk the right height, manage our way

and so on.

through the over bright office lights and pull jumpers on and off to manage temperature

Many modern cars allow you to set up driver

change. Any little distraction can throw us

settings (seat position, back support and

off our game.

similar) and then select these pre-defined


settings when you get in the car.

the outside or block out distractions while not cancelled noise – people still need to

Now image this, we create a semi-pod

speak to each other.

environment, not a return to the full cubicles of 1980’s but a demarcated area that is the

Each pod is then under a lighting unit with a

user’s zones, say 2m in diameter. Now

few variable intensity lights, allowing the user

imagine each pod is enclosed by a low-level

to set the lighting level to their preference

wall, nothing really divisive, maybe 1m high

and maybe choose between a clean white or

with an opening for access. Let’s say that wall

warmer yellow lighting.

includes a heater element in it that is

Each pod has a desk with variable height,

controlled by the pod user, allowing them to

screens, laptop docking station, maybe build

adjust the temperature to their preference.

in speakers so they can listen to their music

The wall is topped with a thin, clear screen

at low level (loud music would obviously be

with variable translucence, allowing the user

distracting and would be listened to via head

to adjust the degree of exposure they have to



security to our businesses and the families we support.

Imagine that for a moment.

All businesses have a central IT network,

What we have done is create a workspace

most have centralised data storage and email

where the light level, ambient noise, visibility,

accounts, many have staff profiles logged on

temperature and desk space can all be

a central system; what we are doing is adding

adjusted to suit the users preferred working

additional data to that staff profile and when

style, support their wellbeing and improve

they swipe their access card to log onto the

their mental health.

desk downloading it from the central server to local controllers. These controllers auto-

We have just created the conditions for high matically configure the workspace. If people performance and increased productivity.

use the same workstation a lot, it is not inconceivable that these controllers might

This is how we do more with less.

retain the profiles of the last 5 occupants

The technology

(say) locally as well, meaning the system already has the data and does not require the

Now I am aware that most people will look

bandwidth to download it.

at this and say, “OK, sure, so what’s the cost?”.

Sustainable design

And yes, that is a valid question and yes, it

Any future we build for ourselves needs to be

will probably be expensive to get set-up but

sustainable, we all recognise that fact.

you are trading a CAPEX investment now for One of the brilliant things about office

a reduced OPEX and increased ROI later.

buildings is that most of them are in cities. And we can all agree that we are rapidly

And cities are great because they are full of

approaching a cliff-edge in terms of sustain-

noise and energy and artificial mountains,

ability – we have to take action now on

canyons and rivers.

climate change, now on mental health, now to increase our competitiveness and provide


This fact is important because one of the

Similarly, thermoelectric and pyroelectric

things about buildings is that no matter how

materials can be used to harvest heat

well designed they are, between the wind

generated in the building to provide power.

buffeting the outside, the people moving

Now our configurable workspace runs on a

around inside and the city at large oscillating

renewable energy source.

with road traffic, people and thermal expansion/contraction, they vibrate a lot.

Which opens the debate on an interesting point – we talk a lot about edge computing

And vibration can be harvested.

and using local devices to carry out compu-

Vibrations are harvested by piezoelectric materials in small scale devices embedded directly in the controllers and workspaces. The vibration of the building and workplace itself can be used to power the controllers.

tational actions, but we rarely talk about edge generation. (I am coining that term by the way). Edge Generation is the local generation of power at the device itself rather than drawing it from the grid. It is not something you will read a lot about outside

Vibration harvesting is not going to generate

of academic journals because it has had a

large amounts of power but for the small

number of problems becoming commercially

amounts we are talking about to run local

viable but I believe we are about to start

controllers and actuate servos, this is more

seeing it more and more.

than enough.

Edge Generation, you heard it here first.

Tim Whitcher, CEng Deputy Service Leader (Digital Railway Services) & Head of Future Ready Rail | www.wsp.com Tim’s role at WSP includes leading the development of the front-end (smart city, MaaS) and back-end (supporting infrastructure, resilience and DR) solutions for the Digital Railway. He is also the Technical Lead for TM, C-DAS, S&C and IM solutions.




e’ve recently joined a smidge over 3000 companies globally who have achieved B Corp status (www.adlib-recruitment.co.uk/b-corp). B Corp Certification (www.bcorporation.uk) is provided by B Lab to companies that

meet rigorous verified standards of social and environmental performance and use business as a force for good. B Corps are accelerating a global cultural shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. As a Certified B Corp business we balance purpose and profit. We are committed to considering the impact of our decisions on everyone that works at ADLIB, our community, our suppliers and the environment. The B Corp certification is really a label that holds together what we had been committed to for years: To be more than a recruitment business. But what does it mean specifically for us to operative as a B Corp? We are doing our bit to operate as green as we can as a business. Employee wellbeing & good mental health matters to us and physical health is important no matter how busy work is. We also believe that we can make the most difference by focusing our commitment on 7 core areas.

Closing the skills gap Together with industry partners, we’ve formulated ADLIB Career Workshops that are truly meaningful. They provide the next generation with information about potential career paths within the Technology, Data, Marketing and Creative sectors - emphasising the soft skills needed, while providing insights into different career path options.


True team diversity and inclusion We believe in team diversity in a true sense. Far beyond gender balance. Part of team ADLIB is a recruiter dedicated and committed solely to this mission, driven by diversity and inclusion, to help our clients with building inclusive and diverse teams. We work as a trusted, supportive and consultative partner with clients, organisations and partners alike, to also support talented people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.

TechTalent Academy To take tangible action, to enable our clients to build truly diverse teams and to help bridge the skills gap within the tech, cyber and data sectors, we have founded our sister company TTA. TechTalent Academy provides access to long-term and meaningful careers, with a focus on underrepresented individuals who may not be offered such a path without organisations such as TechTalent Academy. TTA brings new thinking to tech, building careers with new tech skills and transforming companies with diverse talent. Beyond this, each of the ADLIB teams has made a commitment to support a cause close to their hearts, a shared common goal they all believe in and want to champion.

Green tech and operating sustainably Our technology recruitment team's vision is to increase the awareness of local disruptive green tech businesses and to educate businesses on how they can operate sustainably

Dive into data Our data recruitment team’s vision is to change the misconception what it takes to break into and build a long-term career in data. Enabling a diverse next gen of talent to consider this career path.


Design for good Our creative recruitment team's vision is to seek out and promote those that are designing for good. To shine a light on how creative innovation can be a driver for positive change and to raise awareness of the people and teams making it happen.

Inclusive marketing Our marketing recruitment team’s vision is to showcase and champion approaches, businesses, initiatives, campaigns, organisations and service providers who understand how to craft inclusive marketing campaigns, reaching ‘all’ or having set out to specifically focus and tailor their comms and campaigns for audiences that some may see as 'niche'. It’s really about considering how, as a business, we can do our bit to make a real, true and tangible difference within the areas we operate and participate in. Being a B Corp is a commitment the team has made to each other, the community and the environment, but also gives us a platform from which to recruit and attract those that want to join us on our mission. The B Corp mindset is at the very core of our growth, a common ground, common values and behaviours from new starter all the way through to director level.

Alex Cosgrove Head of Data Insight & Analytics Recruitment | www.adlibrecruitment.co.uk Alex is an experienced Recruiter in the AI, Machine Learning & Analytics space. For the past 10 years he's supported the growth of start-ups and brand new innovation teams across the Technology and Financial Services industries.


Photo by Jonny Caspari



hat do you get if you

from an illness which is triggered by poor

combine AI, air pollution,

air quality. But what does it mean for

machine learning & urban


heat islands? A data-driven way to model, track & predict climate resilience. We all know climate resilience is hot right




Extinction Rebellion, C40, COP25 &

Understanding air quality, and air pollution, can be massively useful in several ways. Air quality data can help to: •

at your places of work

Greta, the press coverage is staggering. But do you know what it means for you,

Measure, track & report on air quality

Improve communications to employees,

your family, your business? Without a

stakeholders, customers and the general

way to measure the impact of climate, it’s

public when air quality is poor

impossible to know whether what you’re

Implement solutions to maintain and

doing can actually make a difference. So

improve the health and well-being of

that’s where data comes in.

your staff

Data-driven climate resilience When we think of the impact of climate change, we often think of two things: air

Fulfil your regulatory responsibilities

Support your sustainability and environmental policies

Make smarter decisions when designing new products and services

pollution and temperature increase.

1. Air quality

If you knew air quality at a hyperlocal

We all understand that air pollution is a

would you do? Think about your home or

serious problem today. We understand

your office location. Imagine if you knew

some of the root causes, such as traffic,

what the air quality is usually like, how

shipping, agriculture and the weather.

that’s changed over time, what it’s going to

And we understand what it means for

be today and what it’s likely to be ten years

our families on a personal level,

from now.

resolution, say at house/building level, what

particularly if those close to you suffer


What would you do with this air quality

might also consider:

insight? Would you sell your house and move to a higher air quality area with better air quality?! Perhaps. Less extreme solutions

Closing the office windows

Updating your office design so it doesn’t let polluted air into your building

you might consider are:

Warning staff when air quality is going to

Changing your walking route to work

be particularly bad, as part of your duty

Closing the windows at home

of care to them

Wearing an air filtering mask

Warning your family and friends

Changing your travel habits

Ramping up your sustainability and environment policies

2. Urban heat islands Why do we need to understand heat?

What if you’re a business owner? Would you

Urban heat creates:

move your office from an inner-city street to

an out-of-town business park? Perhaps. You



impacting on productivity



Risk of heat stroke, heat exhaustion &

Centre has indicated that over 7,000

increased mortality

people could die from the effects of heat waves in the UK, annually.

On 25 July 2019, temperatures reached a record breaking 38.7°C. There were 1,473

In cities where air pollution and urban

deaths recorded due to the heat event, which

heat occur at the same time, there are

is about 300−400 more than the average,

significant health impacts not only for the

according to the Office for National

people who live there, but their pets as

Statistics (ONS).


In cities where air pollution and urban

Research carried out by the European

heat occur at the same time, there are

Commission Joint Research Centre has

significant health impacts not only for the

indicated that over 7,000 people could die

people who live there, but their pets as

from the effects of heat waves in the UK,

well. Research carried out by the


European Commission Joint Research


Photo by Filippos Sdralias

waves in the UK, annually. Architects, engineers, businesses, local & national governments need to plan for reducing the impact now and also plan for the impact of a warming world.





resolution imagery means that the use of satellite-derived

imagery is


smarter and smarter. The use of AI and machine learning means that we can now count cars on the roads from space. We

What would you do with urban heat

can model air quality & urban heat island

island insight?

to a resolution of 20m …that’s your front door, your office entrance.

Mitigate the impact of extreme heat on vulnerable people

This isn’t science fiction. This is now.

Create business continuity plans -

With the support of the European Space

targeting cooling products & heat

Agency, leading Bristol-based Earth


intelligence company TCarta is leading

Create corporate mitigation strategies

the way in delivering insights from space.


Their air quality and heat data products


are helping local authorities, businesses


So where do we get data to help arm us for climate change? Space. Satellite-derived data is global, borderless & enables us to track data is a consistent way so we can compare apples

and individuals to understand climate resilience, reducing risk and impact. If you want to understand data-driven climate resilience, get in touch. And don’t wait - you can make a difference when you have the right data.

with apples all over the world.

Helen Tanner CEO | www.data-cubed.co.uk Helen is a data, marketing and blockchain fanatic. Born in the corporate world, she honed her skills at global corporate giants AXA and Computershare before setting up Data³, a data + marketing lab. Helen and her team help companies get closer to their customers, make smarter business decisions and make money from data.

Shifting. Leaders. Mindset. Photo by Jukan Tateisi


Words by Ann Holman, FRSA // Leadership Coach


rom a distance any horizon looks

times, but must also address the underlying

perfect. Leadership in the future

structural and systemic causes that drive

requires a considered, constant

these symptoms.

evaluation of a vision that can be navigated.

Working in digital, I’ve used on many

Many leaders, even today, follow an industrial,



approach. This

McKinsey’s Three


Model. It was first described by Baghai,

approach projects a future horizon dictated

Coley, and White in 2000, in ‘The Alchemy

by the past, in other words, a forecast. Today,

of Growth.’ •

Forecasting was fit for purpose when the world of work was more certain, change was slow and technology was shifting at a snail's pace.

Horizon 1 ideas provide continuous innovation to a company’s existing business model and core capabilities in the short-term.

this holds serious limitations that prevent us

Horizon 2 ideas extend a company’s existing business model and core capabil-

from predicting, as best we can, the distant

ities to new customers, markets, or



As we enter a new decade, bumping into

Horizon 3 is the creation of new capabil-

reality is the very thing that shows us our

ities and new business to take advantage

mistakes. We can’t solve problems in

of or respond to disruptive opportunities

isolation anymore, a common perspective,

or to counter disruption.

even purpose, around those interconnected

Having designed and executed many digital

challenges and the related opportunities

transformations across complex organisa-

needs to be shared between the private,

tions and environments, I’ve used it as an

public and social sector in order to appropri-

effective method for making sense of and fa-

ately respond to the changes around us. Or-

cilitating cultural transformation as well as

ganisations of all descriptions, communities,

exploring innovation opportunities in the

businesses and local government must not

face of uncertainty and unknowns. Digital as

only pay attention to possible short-term

we now know, is less about the tech and

responses to symptoms of these crises of our


Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash

Photo by Shane Rounce

This transformation in the way we lead requires things better, quicker and easier, especially in a new approach. Hierarchy, ego, status communities and enabling social action. and command and control no longer work (although I’m convinced theynever did.) more about how it enables people to do

Our challenges are immense, we are working with complex systems both digital and

Instead we require leaders to be:

human that require us to accept and be able

to manage uncertainty, change and unpre-




internal and external environments for

dictability. We see a lot of short-term

opportunities, challenges, risks and

delivery, a lot of the time without the


strategic, innovative thinking to back it up.

Stuck in a reactive mode, we rush in to fix the

Making informed decisions: data is pretty critical in providing evidence. No

problem or try something new without

longer can business be managed on the

adequately investigating the root cause.

whim of an individual, evidence based decisions is a deal breaker.

In 2014, Google’s Project Oxygen sought to •

take a look at the data behind corporate

Executing at speed: new leaders are able

leadership. The resulting findings showed

to move quickly, often valuing speed over

that leadership in the modern era has moved

perfection. Often referred to agile

past the traditional values of hierarchy,

leaders. •

annual reviews and other antiquated policies.

People orientated: understanding and

Instead, Google’s research team identified a

letting teams deliver. Adopting a coaching

number of traits that caused leaders to un-

style that replaces an old school

derperform, including:

management style including emotional intelligence and, significantly, empathy.





changes within the team

However, here comes the main point, I

Inconsistent performance management

wonder if the ‘Three Horizon Model’ is

Lack of communication and recognition.

indeed still relevant. In the past, we saw the


model as linear; Horizon 1 developed new

Now, many talk about leaders having a different features that could be delivered in the short skillset, that’s true, but it more importantly term of 3 to 12 months, Horizon 2 as requires grey matter re-wiring, changing business model extensions that could be mindsets. ready 24 to 36 months out, and Horizon 3 as creating new disruptive products or business

Leaders of the future need to change their

models in 36 to 72 months. All traditional


business planning stuff!

1. Humble: able to accept feedback and acknowledge that others know.

This timeline has collapsed, completely. 2. Agile/adaptable: accept that change is constant, nothing is perfect, failure is Today, disruptive Horizon 3 ideas can be

learning, moving from a closed mind to

delivered as fast as ideas for Horizon 1 in the

discovery and exploration. Empowering

existing product line. This means that

their teams to think and act like this.

challenges and problems can be fixed

3. Visionary: have a clear sense of long-

quicker, a lot quicker and leadership and

term direction, even in the face of short-

strategy at both Board and executive level

term uncertainty. Building purpose,

need to change. However, what’s more fun-

spending most of their time in horizon

damental going forward is the change in how

thinking, enabling and facilitating their

work will be delivered.

teams to deliver. Not telling people what to do. Building tech that has social value

Automation will see basic tasks being

and impact is imperative in any vision.

completed by robots – intelligent ones. The

We must move from vanity to respons-

creativity, complex decision making done by

ible tech.

humans who want to be autonomous, free,

4. Engaged: immersed in community,

want to make a contribution and for that to


closely with


be recognised.

enabling partnerships outside the organisation. Understanding that community will solve their own problems in the


future and we need to build the tech and

We must create great places to work, creative

tools to help them do this. Remember

places for humans to be able to express

our employees, customers and users are

themselves positively where fulfilment,


connection, integrity, worth and happiness

5. Empathy: as Brene Brown quotes

are the foundations of the culture. It requires

“Empathy fuels connection, sympathy

a significant shift in mindset.

drives disconnection.� A leader's role is

It can be done, Patagonia are renowned for

to connect people to people.

not just starting on this journey but

6. Trust: creating a culture of support

sustaining it. More than just lip service here.

rather than blame, encouragement rather than competition, recognition

Life is a journey of constant discovery and

rather than ignoring.

exploration at pace. The organisations we create must provide this environment to

In short, as leaders we are now more about

enable us to solve the challenges we have in

people than we have ever been before. Our

the next decade.

job is to remove fear, anger, anxiety, stress, loneliness and most importantly, shame from our organisations.

Ann Holman, FRSA Leadership Coach | www.dotproject.coop Ann combines coaching, leadership and digital expertise to deliver success to social enterprises, charities, startups and scale up SME’s.Ann has taught and lectured about digital transformation, digital ethics, customer strategy, creating customer cultures and the future impact of social media, mobile and digital communities.




echnology is helping to address deep social issues around the world, profiting some of the most vulnerable in society. With new problems become new possibilities, but what about an issue which as been pervasive since the beginning and no

technology has yet been able to answer? Periods. The life-interrupting and unrelenting monthly event that still catches us off guard every time. More than 50% of the world menstruates and have been doing so since the beginning of human existence, yet over 40% of schoolgirls in the UK have used toilet roll as an alternative to period products due to being unable to access anything affordable. We don’t talk about it, and we should. Period poverty, the term used to describe having a lack of access to sanitary products and menstrual education, has forced more than a quarter of females to miss work or school, which only scratches the surface of the problem. It is putting women at risk of infections from unusable products, overuse of tampons risking toxic shock and where do we start on the psychological affects? This is a growing, global and relentless problem. As a growing number of girls are being excluded from education across the world, we must be more persuasive to show the ability that technology can have on endemic issues. In fact, investing in period poverty is one of the biggest movements to be made in tackling climate change. Project Drawdown, a global research organisation highlighting the most viable solutions to climate change, lists educating girls as the 6th highest solution, above solar farms and electric vehicles. However, combined with family planning, educating girls becomes the single most viable solution to reversing the damage being made to the planet. Simply put, by creating sustainable solutions to menstrual management, allowing girls to access education and exercise the right to their body, we become key contributors to climate solutions. Nevertheless, the problem is continually ignored. Technology recently has had little to no


focus on how people can access period products, rather it has taken a privileged position in developing more ‘comfortable’, expensive products. From reusable period pants which use patented absorbent technology claiming to hold between 1 to four tampons worth of blood, to vibrating moon-cups which alert you when they need to be emptied - the movement in menstruation management is paying no attention to access needs. Whilst others have focused on using natural, organic materials for hygiene reasons, these are often pricier than commonly used or reusable products, being a luxury only affordable for some. So, what can technology do to make period poverty a thing of the past? Solutions across the globe have focused on ‘old tech’, such as using treadle powered sewing machines to make reusable pads from local, absorbent materials. These can be produced at a low-cost and can last one girl up to 5 years. Alongside educational programmes on menstruation, puberty and period management, these products have had a positive impact on communities. Other social organisations have ditched traditional methods, focusing on ways to bring online education to offline communities, using menstrual cups as a new tool for engagement. There is, however, still a long way to go in harnessing a solution. Reviews of these projects find that they often stop running within the first few months of implementation, with a lack of market and huge levels of disengagement. Investing in the femtech industry allow girls world-wide to have a better chance at education, increase life-chances and standards of living, and contributes to halting climate change. Ground-breaking period solutions to end period poverty need to be designed with people who experience periods in mind. Whilst the science and technology arena has recognised the need for innovation, there is a long way to go for both developers and consumers to have an accessible solution to period products. Menstruators need solutions that are accessible, help to remove social taboos and give them freedom and choice.

Rose Worley, MSc Gender and International Relations | linkedin.com/in/roseworley Rose’s current roles are in Swansea University as a Summer School Manager and in Research and Development for the Zuri Project. We are currently looking into ways to improve retention rates for school aged girls by implementing a menstrual health focused programme; eventually making this knowledge digital.


Photo by SpaceX


Words by Richard Potts // Founder at Fireside Summit


Sustainability We’re at a seminal moment in the human story. A pivot point, beyond which an uncertain future diverges into two choices; one where we maintain the status quo and one where we don’t.


n order to understand what that future

Why did they make that choice?

could look like, we need to go back in

There was no obvious “forcing” – no external

time to an earlier pivot point that set us

event that prodded humans to fundamentally

on the course we are on today and defined

change their lifestyle and way of existing. It

everything about our modern world.

was unlikely that those early farming

The formation of our modern society

societies were superior in any way to hunting and gathering. In fact, all evidence suggest

That moment, in the UK, was 6000 years

the opposite; early agrarian societies were

ago. A time when our hunter-gatherer

risky (bad harvests = famine) and grim (more

ancestors were living as they had for

people living in closer proximity, with none

thousands of years, in a place of incredible

of our modern-day systems of sanitation). ²

ecological diversity and abundance. ¹

We can dismiss notions of evolution or tech-

But for some reason, our forebears decided

nological advancement. Farming wasn’t an

to start farming. And despite the many

obvious choice, it was a dangerous one.

hardships and challenges this would have wrought, they persisted with it for thousands

The answer to why we changed everything

more years and quite literally sowed the seed

comes down to one word: cooperation.

of our modern agrarian society.

Humans started to cooperate with each other on mass. Large groups of people


Photo by Vera Gorbunova

Photo by chuttersnap

trading and working with other large groups

would in the past.

of people.

There are more than enough calories produced And it wasn’t just about trade – there’s a to feed everyone on the planet, consistently. reason we find stone circles thousands of More people now die from diseases related to miles apart; they’re not trading posts, they too many calories than too few. represent something deeper, more profound.


They represent the sharing of ideas and stories over vast distances, transcending

Our medical revolution has allowed us to

tribal and geographical boundaries.

largely mitigate the virulent threat of

Cooperation has allowed us to go from

pandemic, which

our ancestors were

knapping stone tools to flying spaceships in

constantly exposed to. Understanding of how

an evolutionary blink of an eye!

disease spreads, it’s vector and incubation, combined with advances in medicine have

In the past, there were three main

allowed modern society to successfully

omnipotent threats to human existence:

defend itself against new disease threats like

1. Starvation

AIDS, Bird Flu and Ebola which have had

2. Disease

nowhere near the impact that something like

3. War/violence.

Spanish Flu had just 100 years ago. ³

Cooperation has led to an enormous erosion


of these threats in a very short space of time

It makes a lot more sense for countries to

from an evolutionary standpoint.

cooperate and trade with each other in the modern world than it does to go to war with

Let’s consider each of these threats in turn

them. Modern warfare is more about


protecting supply routes and maintaining global trade than the smash-and-grab

Starvation still exists – there are bad harvests

violence of the past.

and famines in the world – but there’s no justification for these to have the impact they



Technology Cooperation allowed humans to share ideas and make collective decisions to overcome adversity. But our imagination and ability to conjure fictions has created intricate complexity that we cannot control without technology.


he decision of humans to cooperate

vast repositories for information, used to

with each other led to numeracy and

enable cooperation on a massive scale. To

literacy; it’s much easier to spread an

continue on our path of complex, interna-

idea beyond your circle of influence if you

tional cooperation requires a powerful tech-

can write it down and quantify it.

nological architecture.

Cooperation led to the creation of fictional

That’s why, if we plot a course into the future

entities, like states and corporations. Those

from this moment in time we see three clear

fictions manifested into realities through the

technological advances growing in influence:

creation of our institutions, laws and bureau-

1. Data – the need to store more and more


information and be able to interrogate that information to make informed

Today, the complexities of our systems are


beyond the understanding of any single

2. Computational Power – with predictions

human being. No one person can explain all

that the amount of data in the world will

the workings of the European Union or

increase 10−fold by 2025⁴, the rise of the

corporate law. It’s too complex and the

digital age has been fuelled by computer

cooperation too closely woven into the way

processing power such that data is in

our whole society functions.

lockstep with computing evolution; more data demands more computer power.

The result is that our modern society needs


Photo by Science in HD

Photo by NOAA

1. Artificial Intelligence – AI is simply the

rolling back the damage we’ve already

interface between computers, data and


us. It’s essentially just a dashboard that

This threat transcends politics and borders and dealing with it requires a wholesale movement, a true shift in the human narrative.

allows us to agitate the data we produce, understand it, and use it.

The 4th Horseman of the Apocalypse So, while education, political will, consumer

While human cooperation has achieved

behaviour and business responsibility all play

incredible things and eroded the erstwhile

a part in sustainability, technology needs to

omnipotent threats of disease, famine and

become the most ardent protagonist for

war, the by-product of all this success is now


our greatest existential threat.

That’s why the technologies of the future –

It is the fourth horseman of the apocalypse

those embedded in data, computational

and our most challenging foe to date.

power and AI – need to have sustainability at

Ecological disaster in the form of climate

their core in order to be relevant and

change, habitat and species loss, pollution


and plastification of the oceans are

From this point on, technology + sustainabil-

combining into a perfect storm that humans

ity will be the most potent force for change

will need to bend collective will towards

the world has ever seen.



Just as we pivoted in the past, we need to do

(1) University of Cambridge. What limpets can tell us about life on Mesolithic Oronsay. https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/features/whatlimpets-can-tell-us-about-life-on-mesolithic-oronsay

so again.

Binford LR (2001). Constructing Frames of Reference: An Analytical Method for Archaeological Theory Building Using Ethnographic and Environmental Data Sets

Cooperation requires a common goal, and

KellyRL (2013)The Lifeways of Hunter-Gatherers:The Foraging Spectrum

there is no greater goal than overcoming a

(2)James C. Scott.AgainstThe Grain:ADeep History of the Earliest States

global threat. What we have achieved in

(3) University of Cambridge. Spanish Flu: a warning from history. https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/spanish-flu-a-warning-from-history

mitigating disease and famine, we can

(4) Seagate. The Digitization of the World from Edge to Core. https://www.seagate.com/files/www-content/our-story/trends/files/idcseagate-dataage-whitepaper.pdf

surpass in building a sustainable future and


SUSTAINABILITY & FASHION. Words by Michelle Clark & Richard Pidgeon


ustainability in the fashion industry has certainly become a big trend in recent years. From addressing the usage of certain textiles, through to the air and soil pollution generated at manufacturing and the end cycle of landfill, fashion brands are being

challenged to change their thinking and adapt their systems to be more eco-friendly. There is now so much more transparency through the supply chain that companies are reviewing the impact of production sites on local communities and publishing this information on their websites to prove their ethical practices. There have been significant leaps in change in recent years, with sustainable clothing much more accessible to purchase. We can now know exactly where every part of the textile was made and the impact that has on the environment. We can ensure products lifespan is extended through recycling and using recycled bags brought from home. The one area that we often neglect to challenge however, is the way products are presented to us. Next time you visit a store, notice whether the brand uses paper or plastic to signpost the price of the product. The window display may be eye-catching, but is it made from biodegradable materials? We could go so far as to look at the delivery and packaging methods of visual props. I’ve seen it myself, a store designed for sustainable brands that uses fixtures, fittings and props that are not considered in the full cycle. For us at Monstera Visual it is about shining a light on alternative resources and seeking out sustainable and enviro-conscious suppliers; those that are developing materials to be engineered to their fullest to ensure visual presentation makes sense on both a technical and ethical level. Using unusual materials is becoming increasingly popular and by delving into the origins of


design materials it can become an interesting journey for the customer to connect with emotionally. Research has proved that to Generation Z, environment and ethical practices are integral to their relationship with a brand. Retailers can use this to their advantage and start the innovative movement in visual display with sustainable values at their core. Think about a cash desk made from recycled yoghurt pots, porcelain floors that are up to 40% recycled, 100% recycled marble-clad wall features, reclaimed timber wood window stands, LED lighting, compostable mail bags for online delivery packaging, and the use of technology for point of sale material- avoiding wastage in paper graphics and signage. Fashion for Good is a museum in Amsterdam focused on sustainability. They believe that a good fashion circular is achievable, but that it is the industry that lacks resources and education to refine the processes. The museum aims to bring together the entire fashion ecosystem through an innovation platform. Currently, visual merchandising and presentation does not have a sustainable focus within the retail ecosystem. Monstera Visual was founded to support the transition in this field across a multitude of platforms. We are seeing progressive retail establishments changing the surface of retail. Pop-up space is the new testing ground for design concepts, allowing for amends to design without committing to mass production and waste. But how many are considering the display choices with an eco-friendly intention? The display choices shouldn’t just be limited to physical space stores and retail. Brands presenting at trade shows, events and exhibition all need to give thought to the materials and components used to promote their business. Maintaining an ecological balance is important in our every day. It just requires evaluation,redesign and adaption of current merchandise and signage material, with a view to refashion props and substances for creative display. Visual proposition doesn’t have to be compromised. Creating a strong visual identity effectively tells your brand’s story, whilst ensuring your customers’ experience is unforgettable.


Green retail is coming. This is a mindset we strive to promote in order to be at the forefront of this change, by making a difference to the environment through presentation. Ultimately it comes down to each business individual viewpoint and how innovative they are about the value sustainability has on their brand identity vs their budgets. If managed well, they can carve out an ‘ownable’ design signature for the future of retail.

Michelle Clark Founder | www.monsteravisual.com Michelle has 20 years of experience directing the visual merchandising functions within visual fashion industry openings throughout the UK, Indonesia, Europe, USA, and Japan.

Richard Pidgeon Visual Merchandiser | www.monsteravisual.com Richard’s fascination with deconstructing meaning behind visual choices naturally transitioned into the world of visual merchandising.

Photo by Marcos Rivas on Unsplash

You could be eligible for R&D Tax Credits You might be surprised by what can qualify as R&D (it’s not always about white coats and hadron colliders). We’ve helped numerous businessesclaim back significant sumsof money in all sorts of sectors – incuding those in the sustainable technology sector. Here’s one bit of research you needn’t spend any more time on. Ask us about your own tax affairs today.

Find out more: rdtc@finchassociates.co.uk| 01275 867350 @finchassociates| www.finchassociates.co.uk






7 - 1 0 S E P T E M B E R F R O M E , S O M E R S E T.


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y. T E C H N O LO G Y. P E O P L E .






Profile for Richard Potts

FiresideX | Volume 1 | Sustainability. Technology. People.  

A magazine about Sustainability, Technology & People. Volume 1, February 2020. Subscribe for free at www.firesidex.com

FiresideX | Volume 1 | Sustainability. Technology. People.  

A magazine about Sustainability, Technology & People. Volume 1, February 2020. Subscribe for free at www.firesidex.com

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