30 posts categorized "Fronesys"

17 May 2015

Fronesys and Open University collaborate to create a startup course on urban data

The hardest part of starting a new technology business is taking the first step. This is made doubly difficult when the start-up's big new idea relates to making sense of the increasing mountain of urban data produced by Smart City initiatives (like MK:Smart). Selecting the best business approach to these urban data projects is key to delivering fresh new ways for cities and their citizens to use technology and information to achieve their goals.

The latest collaboration between the Open University and Fronesys, as part of the MK:Smart programme, has produced a one day course geared toward start-ups with an interest in learning  about how to exploit commercial opportunities around urban data.  The course also covers the use of modern entrepreneurship tools to drive the creation and growth of new technology businesses.

The course outline is as follows: MKSmart logo

  1. Smart Cities and Urban Data
    • Introduction to Smart Cities
    • Overview of MK:Smart and the MK data hub
  2. Creating a successful start-up
    • Customer development: identifying customers and crafting a value proposition
    • The empirical start-up process: developing and testing business model hypotheses
  3. Exploiting urban data
    • Designing data products
    • Understanding data value chains
    • Developing and testing data business models

The course will be taught by Prof. Gerd Kortuem, professor of computing at the Open University  and Jyoti Banerjee, a partner at Fronesys.  Both are on the project board of MK:Smart, a Smart Cities programme in Milton Keynes, managed by the Open University and funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE).  Gerd and Jyoti have extensive experience in creating courses and curricula for entrepreneurs and start-ups. Among other programmes, they created and taught the Software Entrepreneurship course for MBA and science PhDs at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

The first instance of the course will be held on June 26, 2015 in association with University Campus Milton Keynes (UCMK), part of the University of Bedfordshire, and also a partner in the MK:Smart programme. UCMK will be hosting the first course at its Milton Keynes facility.

Sign up to the free course here. For more information about the course, please contact Rajinder

25 November 2014

IIRC announces Technology Initiative

Leading companies providing technology solutions are joining forces to look at how technology can underpin new trends in corporate reporting, and in particular can be applied to assist in the global adoption of Integrated Reporting <IR>.

Launched today by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), the <IR> Technology Initiative will build a deep understanding of how technology can be applied to assist adopters of <IR> on both sides of the report production and consumption value chain. Fronesys partner Jyoti Banerjee will be leading the <IR> Technology Initiative.

A select group of technology companies, who are leaders in their fields, have joined the initiative as ‘charter members’ CRedit360, Deloitte, Indra, PwC, SAP and Tagetik with a number of other interested parties set to follow. These companies are already helping their customers take advantage of new trends in reporting and management practice, and cover a range of disciplines including business software, reporting software, sustainability software, consultancy and systems integration. By coming together in the <IR> Technology Initiative, they will share experiences and lead market innovation.

The goals of the <IR> Technology Initiative are to evaluate how technology is currently used to facilitate corporate reporting and related management processes, how technology might enhance integrated thinking, how software can capture narrative elements of reporting, and how technology can facilitate the audit & assurance of an integrated report. As a result, participating companies will be able to apply their creativity and skills to produce a new generation of innovative reporting products, services and technologies to help their customers adopt <IR> and integrated thinking.

Find out more about the <IR> Technology Initiative.

17 November 2014

Fronesys promotes Smart Cities impact analysis at the World Bank

Fronesys partner Jyoti Banerjee called for a new approach to integrating together the impacts of cities, which enabled a meaningful assessment of how a city creates value, who creates that value, and for whom that value is created. 2014 USA Washington-18-2

Jyoti was speaking at a World Bank Public Sector Integrated reporting conference in Washington DC, where he used Milton Keynes as a case study of a city seeking to grow and create jobs, while facing significant economic, environmental and social constraints.  Jyoti's analysis was based on the work that the Fronesys team is doing in MK:SMART, a Future Cities initiative funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) - Fronesys is a member of the MK:SMART consortium.

The World Bank conference was an opportunity for public sector organizations from around the world to come together in a unique initiative designed to help them improve transparency and build trust through Integrated Reporting <IR>. The Public Sector Pioneer Network was launched at the conference by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), and participants will be among the ‘first movers’ in <IR> in the public sector.2014 USA Washington-42

08 September 2014

Educating Smart Cities leaders: interview with Jyoti Banerjee

MK:SMART has just published an interview with Jyoti Banerjee, partner at Fronesys, on the education programme we are building as part of the Smart Cities consortium working in Milton Keynes.

As Jyoti explains in the interview, "I’m not expecting that a city leader would be in a position to make a decision about technology choices, but they need to understand the business impacts of the choices they make. If they make one kind of data centre decision – these could be the impacts, while if we make another type of data centre decision – those could be the impacts. And they need to be in a position to understand the different kinds of impacts and be able to make a judgement between those. That’s what we’ve decided to focus on. We explore the citizen impact, the economic impact, and the social impact of smart cities decisions, and help people make good decisions based on those impacts."

To read the full interview, please see http://www.mksmart.org/blog/2014/09/08/spotlight-interviews-jyoti-banerjee/.

01 January 2014

MK:SMART Smart Cities initiative kicks off

MK:SMART is a new three-year £16m initiative, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE), which aims to provide innovative digitally-oriented solutions to the growth challenges in Milton Keynes. Fronesys is pleased to be part of the MK:SMART consortium. Ou-logo

Central to MK:SMART, which is being led by the Open University, is the creation of a state-of-the-art ‘MK Data Hub’ which will curate vast amounts of data from specially deployed energy, transport and water sensors, satellite sources, social and economic datasets, and crowd sourced data from social media or specialised apps.

Why Milton Keynes? MK happens to be the fastest-growing city in the United Kingdom. Anything that can be done to help meet the challenges of supporting growth without outstripping the capacity of the infrastructure, while meeting challenging carbon reduction targets, will be very beneficial to the citizens and businesses in Milton Keynes.

Fronesys played a role in helping win the funding from HEFCE. We created the business case that tied together the various digital initiatives into a single cohesive programme focused on value creation and growth in jobs. In particular, we brought together two main ideas: impacts that remove or mitigate barriers to growth in Milton Keynes, and impacts that drive new sources of value creation in the city.

Fronesys will play its part in the development of MK:SMART - we have been given the task of developing new education programmes that will help city leaders and others learn how to make wise decisions when it comes to Smart Cities. In this work, we will be collaborating with the Open University.

The members of the MK:SMART consortium are Anglian Water, BT, Community Action MK, e-ON, Fronesys, Graymatter, HR Wallingford, Milton Keynes City Council, Open University, Playground Energy, Satellite Applications Catapult, UCMK (University of Bedfordshire) and University of Cambridge.

For more information on MK:SMART, please see www.mksmart.org.

09 December 2013

IIRC launches Integrated Reporting Framework today

A three year journey traversed by a global coalition of companies, investors, framework providers and NGOs led by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) has resulted in the publication of a new framework for corporate reporting: The International <IR> Framework. Fronesys welcomes the publication of the framework and is keen to see it being adopted by companies around the world who are committed to transparency, governance and wise decision-making. International-IR-Framework-Cover-176x250

<IR> applies principles and concepts that are focused on bringing greater cohesion and efficiency to the reporting process, and adopting “integrated thinking” as a way of breaking down internal silos and reducing duplication.  It improves the quality of information available to providers of financial capital to enable a more efficient and productive allocation of capital.  Its focus on value creation, and the ‘capitals’ used by the business to create value over time, contributes towards a more financially stable global economy and is a force for sustainability.

The Framework will be used to accelerate the adoption of <IR> across the world, where it is currently being trialled in over 25 countries, 16 of which are members of the G20, the group of nations focused on strengthening the global economy.

Commenting on the release of the Framework, IIRC Chairman Professor Mervyn King SC, said, “We have been taken aback by the degree to which mainstream businesses and investors have been willing to participate in creating this Framework and embarking on their own <IR> journey.  Last month PepsiCo became the latest global company to sign up to the IIRC’s 100-plus strong business network, which includes HSBC, Unilever, Deutsche Bank, China Light & Power, Hyundai Engineering and Construction, National Australia Bank and Tata Steel."

Jyoti Banerjee, partner at Fronesys, who worked with the IIRC's management team in developing its plans for the release of the framework, had this to say: "Corporate reporting, as practiced today across the world, is broken.  It is broken because it is almost always only about the financial performance of a company - we now know that in most modern companies, the financial statements only capture around a quarter of the value they create. It is also broken because reporting is usually focused on a single period, say a quarter or a year. And it is broken because it is backwards-looking. We need a better way to understand how companies create value, and a better way to help investors make good capital allocation decisions. The <IR> Framework offers just such a solution to the crisis in corporate reporting."

For more information about the <IR> Framework, please see: http://www.theiirc.org/international-ir-framework/.

28 June 2013

Fronesys apprentice hired by think tank

Apprenticeships are all the rage in policy circles, but do they work in a start-up company like Fronesys? Jyoti Banerjee reflects on the first apprenticeship at Fronesys.

As a company doing work in the areas of youth unemployment and digital skills, we are conscious that so many young people with great potential are currently missing out on jobs. So when we had the chance to recruit our very own apprentice, we were keen to find out if real-world experience in an advisory service like ours would make a difference in the search for jobs.

We are pleased to report that Dan Johnson, our first apprentice at Fronesys, has just been signed up by the Institute of Business Ethics, an organisation focusing on corporate behaviour. Dan came to us with a business degree and a Master's Degree in Sustainability from Nottingham University. He had also won an award from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS) for the best student essay on integrated reporting, a subject close to our hearts.

So we figured he knew a thing or two.

But nobody would give Dan a job. His work experience in a local church and in a ski resort had been richly rewarding but had not given him any relevant job experience when it came to the kind of work he was seeking.

As a start-up ourselves, we knew that Dan would get exposed at a deep level on our projects. In his first two months, Dan worked on a digital skills project for a major telco, the economic case for a proposed Smart Cities implementation, and did research into corporate behaviour. Something must have clicked at his next job interview because he came back with a job offer.

Dan, we are sorry to see you go, but pleased that you have the opportunity to get an excellent job. We like to think that your time with Fronesys helped make the difference.

Need to start thinking about a new apprentice...

03 June 2013

Fronesys in winning consortium for WRAP framework contract

Fronesys is pleased to announce that our consortium (Fronesys and its partners Advancing Sustainability, as consortium leader, and Sustain) has won a WRAP Framework Contract (FRA052 Resource Efficiency in Products) through which we can provide a tailored support package advising on a range of issues from accessing finance to marketing and business strategy. WRAP logo

WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) is a not-for-profit private company backed by funding from the Department for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and others.

In this area, Fronesys focuses its work on:

  • reducing waste
  • driving greater resource productivity
  • positioning UK businesses to better address emerging resource security/scarcity issues in the future
  • helping reduce the environmental impacts of our production and consumption in both the UK and abroad
  • 19 September 2012

    ITU launches sustainability toolkit ... with some help from Fronesys

    This week the International Telecommunications Union, the UN body tasked with setting standards in the technology sector, is launching an environmental toolkit aimed at helping ICT companies manage their sustainability performance. Fronesys was glad to help ITU get the toolkit together.

    Over fifty tech companies from around the world contributed to this toolkit. We made a significant contribution of our own: we wrote two of the seven documents in the toolkit, and edited the whole effort.

    There is no shortage of standards, guidelines and tools targeting the sustainability performance of the technology sector. Why do we need another one? The problem with existing material is that none of it is comprehensive in coverage of all the major activities of an ICT organisation. And most are not practical in allowing the integration of regulatory compliance, good practice and business performance. This toolkit aims at just such a balancing act.

    The Smart 2020 report found that the full life cycle carbon footprint of the ICT industry represents around 2% of worldwide emissions, and is projected to grow at a 6% annual compound growth rate. Although the sector’s emissions are rising, its largest influence is expected to be through enabling increased energy efficiencies and improved environmental performance in other sectors.

    A significant challenge for ICT companies is that in enabling better environmental performance elsewhere, the ICT sector is itself taking on significant burdens, at a time when there is greater scrutiny applied to environmental performance, and, often, at much greater cost. As a result, it is important for ICT organizations to use sustainability actions to drive their own business performance, while being more responsible corporate citizens.

    Toolkit content

    The Toolkit on Environmental Sustainability for the ICT sector is an ITU-T initiative which provides plenty of detailed support on how ICT companies can build sustainability into the operations and management of their organizations, through the practical application of international standards and guidelines.

    The basic components of the toolkit are a number of individual documents, each covering a separate area, as follows:

    • Introduction to the toolkit
    • Sustainable ICT in corporate organizations, focusing on the main sustainability issues that companies face in using ICT products and services in their own organisations across four main ICT areas: data centers, desktop infrastructure, broadcasting services and telecommunications networks.
    • Sustainable products, where the aim is to build sustainable products through the use of environmentally-conscious design principles and practices, covering development and manufacture, through to end-of-life treatment.
    • Sustainable buildings, which focuses on the application of sustainability management to
      buildings through the stages of construction, lifetime use and de-commissioning, as ICT companies build and operate facilities that can demand large amounts of energy and material use in all phases of the life cycle.
    • End-of-life management, covering the various end-of-life (EOL) stages, and their
      accompanying legislation, and provides support in creating a framework for
      environmentally-sound management of EOL ICT equipment.
    • General specifications and key performance indicators, with a focus on the matching environmental KPIs to an organization’s specific business strategy targets, and the construction of standardized processes to make sure the KPI data is as useful as possible to management.
    • Assessment framework for environmental impacts, explores how the various standards and guidelines can be mapped so that an organization can create a sustainability
      framework that is relevant to their own business objectives and desired sustainability performance.

    Each document features a discussion of the topic, including standards, guidelines and methodologies that are available, and a check list that assists the sustainability practitioner make sure they are not missing out anything important.

    Although the toolkit is wide-ranging and designed to help improve business and sustainability performance, some companies may decide that they cannot afford to use such tools, particularly in the light of a negative business outlook. This document explores why companies cannot ignore their sustainability performance if they seek superior financial performance.

    Finally, the document covers how the toolkit may mature and develop in future, through extending its scope, deepening its metrics, lowering the questionnaire burden on ICT companies, and through the provision of an implementation program to enable national regulators, policy-makers and individual ICT organizations to use the toolkit to achieve their own objectives.


    Most obviously, this toolkit is aimed at the leaders and managers of technology companies. It gives them a single framework covering all their major environmental impacts so that they can deliver their business objectives while meeting best practice guidelines and complying with standards and regulations.

    However, the scope should also be interesting to policy-makers who want to consider the breadth and scope of regulations they wish to put in place with respect to the ICT companies operating in their jurisdiction. And it is potentially interesting to researchers as a basis for carrying out sectoral, national and international studies on the environmental impacts of the technology industry.

    Wondering how to take advantage of the toolkit in your own organisation? Fronesys can help. After all, we are quite expert with this toolkit! We can offer you a targeted assessment assessing how you manage your environmental impacts, and how the toolkit can help improve your performance. Get in touch.

    05 September 2012

    Circular economy: will the tech industry ever learn?

    In the face of planet-wide resource depletion and huge volatility in raw material pricing, it is time for the circular economy. The tech industry is well-placed to make this move. But will it? Fronesys in in discussion on the issue with the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF).  

    At a time when the arrival of a new phone from Apple promises to create an intense cycle of device replacement among millions of consumers across the world, it is worth asking whether such a cycle of economic activity - make, sell, use, throw away - really makes sense. Does it deliver value to the tech industry making products that are intensive in their raw material usage but short-lived? Does it make sense to the consumer who often throws away a perfectly usable product in search of product nirvana as espoused in global media advertising?

    Business-as-usual (BAU) growth of ICT hardware and services is being driven by a combination of:

    • technological momentum, including ever increasing demand for communication bandwidth, access to sophisticated data sets, storage and computing power
    • the growth of the middle class in emerging economies.

    Such ubiquitous connectivity brings with it many benefits, but also a number of dis-benefits. Market forces will naturally drive many of the benefits (social, economic and environmental), but the ICT industry can do much to address additional benefits that will not arise as a matter of business as usual, as well as responding to the negative sustainability impacts that result, directly and indirectly, from their operations and value chains.

    Circular thinking

    As the Ellen MacArthur Foundation laid out in its recent report, Towards the Circular Economy, "The call for a new economic model is getting louder. In the quest for a substantial improvement in resource performance across the economy, businesses have started to explore ways to reuse products or their components and restore more of their precious material, energy and labour inputs. The time is right, many argue, to take this concept of a ‘circular economy’ one step further, to analyse its promise for businesses and economies, and to prepare the ground for its adoption."

    The current economy is essentially linear: remove materials from the planet, make a product, use it, throw it away. While some recycling does take place, for many materials, including some very scarce ones, it remains the exception rather than the norm. Driving efficiencies into the linear economy (for example, lower cost manufacturing) has actually made it increasingly difficult to repair and reuse products.

    The Ellen MacArthur Foundation report concluded that adopting a more circular economy approach, whilst being disruptive to many existing business models, actually offers a significant business opportunity. In Europe the report found even partial adoption of circular economy principles could provide a net material cost saving opportunity of up to USD 630 billion per annum. In China, concerns surrounding resource scarcity led to the adoption of a Circular Economy law in 2009.

    "Instead of the goal of maximum linear growth in GDP," said Ian Cheshire, CEO of Kingfisher / B&Q, "we should be thinking of maximum wellbeing for minimal planetary input. That starts to challenge business to go beyond efficiency gains, useful though they are, and really redesign their business models. The wellbeing challenge also forces us to think about our total impact as a business rather than the narrow shareholder value lens, since businesses that do not create broader social value will again not survive the longer term."


    The technology industry could be (or arguably should be) at the vanguard of the circular economy for a number of reasons:

    1. It is dependent on a number of scarce materials and is exposed to availability constraints and price volatility.

    2. ICT equipment often becomes obsolete long before it fails – in fact the industry has often been accused of built-in obsolescence.

    3. The ‘cloud’ is already offering ‘infrastructure as a service’ (IaaS) – typical of the new business model thinking surrounding the circular economy.

    4. ICT applications will underpin information systems for reverse logistics, remanufacturing and material recovery - all critical to the circular economy transition.

    As Gavin Pattersion, chief executive of BT Retail pointed out, "Digital technology will play a crucial role in providing the information needed to create iterative logistics and restorative systems". In agreement with this view was Chris Dedicoat, president, EMEA, Cisco: "The Circular Economy is a blueprint for a new sustainable economy, one that has innovation and efficiency at its heart and addresses the business challenges presented by continued economic unpredictability, exponential population growth and our escalating demand for the world’s natural resources."

    So what sort of impacts should we see if the Circular Economy were to work in practice?

    • New business models
    • Using the circular economy model as a tool to drive improvement and innovation
    • Application of ICT as an enabler of the circular economy
    • Increasing levels of reuse and remanufacture
    • Addressing obsolescence
    • Collaboration across the industry to drive action
    • Minimising risk exposure to critical environmental factors such as resource scarcity

    Such thinking may not help Apple's new iPhone 5, but surely we must put the mechanisms in place so that the iPhone 6 and its peers from across the industry offer a new social contract between the tech industry and the consumer.

    Want to chat further? Get in touch with Fronesys and the IBLF.