A Northern Powerhouse Built On Concrete And Steel? – Get Real

Brexit changed a lot of things in Britain, including the government which led to the loss of any champion in Westminster for the Northern Powerhouse. But while the Northern economy is less visible politically there is still plenty happening, as revealed by this month Bessemer Society confab in Sheffield. In a way the collapse of the government sponsored Northern Powerhouse …

Industrial Strategy and Five Year Plans – Not Always A Bad Idea

Industrial strategies have a bad name in the UK and deservedly so. Repeated attempts at government intervention to stimulate industrial sectors led to a string of failures from Blue Streak to INMOS and reached their peak with British Leyland in the 1970s; a company where people who had no interest in making anything other than tea were herded together in …

Nanotech and Water: It Took Ten Years Just To Get To The Starting Line

It is just over four years since I drove through an ice storm in Georgia and South Carolina for the meeting that led to the founding of G2O Water Technologies.  In case anyone thinks that this was the toughest bit of entrepreneurship, let me give you the background story. My involvement with water began in September 2004 when along with …

Graphene may well change the world but will it change Manchester?

Graphene City I spent Thursday at the National Graphene Institute in Manchester at SME and Investor events. While the key applications of graphene appear to be composites, composites and more composites, there was a mood of optimism that graphene is now entering its teenage years and approaching some kind of maturity. Hopefully that will break the teenage addiction of most …

Thinking Beyond the Academic Bubble

escaping the academic bubble

Recent elections and a certain referendum highlighted the dangers of living in a bubble or an echo chamber. This can include surrounding yourself with people who always agree, creating a safe space on social media by filtering out anything that may contradict your world view, imposing a tyrannical Steve Jobs / Kim Jong-Un style culture by firing or executing anyone …

Graphene Membranes at The Global Water Summit

G2O’s graphene membrane technology had its first encounter with the global water industry this week at the Global Water Summit 2017, and its first real test. Fortunately the recent work at the University of Manchester using the same material, graphene oxide, had generated a huge amount of publicity while also demonstrating that G2O’s approach works. The key difference is of …

Google: Giving Wearables a Bad Name 

After three years of promises, Levi’s Commuter Trucker jacket embedded with Google’s ‘Jacquard’ technology aims to bring practical purpose to wearables seems to be slouching towards production.  The promise of Project Jacquard is that “everyday objects such as clothes and furniture can be transformed into interactive surfaces.” Given the huge range of smart and conducting textiles available we were expecting big …

Innovation is not a Magic Sausage Machine

The UK’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published its report on Managing Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer this week, something that grew out of the initial inquiry about the commercialisation (or lack of it) around graphene. Focussing on graphene was an excellent starting point, but it soon became apparent that the UK has a problem with linking its …

Reflections in the Northern Powerhouse

This week I spend two days at the Northern powerhouse Conference in Manchester trying to understand what it actually is, and how the kinds of hard technology (also called deep technology or really anything that requires more than IT to develop) would fit in. After attending every session and listening to the panel discussions I came away with a slight …

Henry Bessemer and the Northern Powerhouse

northern powerhouse

The Northern Powerhouse is a hot topic at the moment following the launch of the First Report of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and the upcoming Northern Powerhouse International Conference in Manchester. Even the Chinese are getting in on the act. The North Needs More Than Infrastructure While it’s important to focus on infrastructure – from where I live near Skipton …