• Note: In order to provide you with a better experience, this website uses cookies — by using our website, you agree to our use of cookies OK

Devex World 2016 – Innovation and its Impact on Sustainable Development

By Sam Adlen, Head of Business Innovation, Satellite Applications Catapult

Innovation and its possible impact on things like the UN Sustainable Development Goals were high on the agenda at Devex World 2016, where the STARHub team was among presenters.

As a major new event for the international development community, Devex provided a unique opportunity to engage broadly with this community about some of the new trends and opportunities that satellite technology and data can bring.

Devex World 2016

High profile speakers included Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, United States CTO, Megan Smith, and President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, all of whom emphasised innovation and technology as key factors in helping do things differently and better.

The conference’s key themes included:

  • Transforming business development – focussing on business model innovation to ensure sustainability.
  • The data revolution – how can all the new data sources available drive new ways of doing things, and how does satellite data fit into this as an important component
  • New funding models – innovating with different sorts of funding to get more things to drive to scale.
  • Innovating at scale – delivering scale is key, as opposed to temporary, fragmented initiatives.
  • Story-telling and human-centred design – the methodologies and rationale for human-centred design were emphasised throughout the day.

Technologies showcased at Devex focussed around data but also included virtual reality, 3-D printing, not to mention satellites. There is a strong feeling that the technologies that are maturing at the moment have real potential to deliver a step change in scale and impact.

Devex World 2016 - STARHub stand Devex World 2016 - UBO on the STARHub stand

Delivering scalable impact through space innovation

We spoke about the innovation occurring in the space and satellite applications sector, and detailed the extensive opportunities for the development community and satellite community to work together to deliver impact at scale.

The key themes at Devex marry well with the direction we are seeing in the UK space sector and we highlighted the opportunity not just to deliver impact together, but to learn together as these new ways of working are embedded.

Our presentation on human-centred design – a focus area central to the work we do at the Catapult – was well received, as we emphasised the approach of thinking of the users, failing fast and iterating. The Catapult’s Human-Centred Design Guide also attracted much positive interest from delegates.

Devex offered a great opportunity to promote the amazing potential for the satellite sector and development community to collaborate on new innovations, with STARHub being the ideal channel through which to share and identify new opportunities, as well as register capability and expertise.