Responsible innovation monthly round up – October

Written by Catherine Makin on 23 Oct, 20
Responsible innovation

A regular update on activities within our responsible innovation theme.

What we’ve been doing:

We have contributed to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) project exploring how cities around the world are applying innovation methods to tackle their tough challenges. Find out more about the project, read Bristol’s snapshot or apply to add your own city to the map.

Internally, we’re establishing a working group within Bristol City Council to better coordinate our response to addressing the city’s digital divide and have launched our first edition of an internal quarterly newsletter on innovation news and developments in digital technology. We hope to share some of the insights from the newsletter with you through these monthly digests.

Where we’ve been and what we’ve seen:

We were delighted to help shape and facilitate the smart cities stream of this year’s Anthropology and Technology Conference. The Bristol-founded two-day event returned for its second year to champion socially responsible artificial intelligence (AI) and explore the role that social scientists can and should play in the development of digital technologies. Organised across three streams of Fintech, Health Tech and Smart Cities the conference was packed with inspiring talks and energetic panel discussions. The discussion in the smart cities stream centred on the human problem(s) that technologies and smart cities seek to resolve, with a clear shift in focus away from technology towards helping people to flourish. 

You can read about this year’s speakers across all three streams and hear them in discussion on podcasts recorded in the build up to the event. The conference is set to return in May 2021 so watch this space for updates and tickets.

    What we’ve read:

    The UK government’s National Data Strategy was published in September and sets out a framework of action to enable businesses and organisations in the UK to use data effectively to drive growth and innovation, create new jobs and improve public services. The strategy is accompanied by a consultation to shape the principles of the strategy and ambitions for the use of data. The consultation invites responses from organisations and individuals across the UK until 2 December 2020.

    This article from the Web Foundation discusses the importance of increasing internet access, fighting misinformation and using data responsibly and effectively. These three priorities, which are particularly acute as a result of COVID-19, are part of the Contract for the Web, a plan of action launched in 2019 by the Web Foundation and its partners, to make our online world safe, open and empowering.

    What we want to share:


    Starting this week is the Executive Harvard Innovation Lecture Series. The bi-weekly lecture series is delivered by an Innovation Fellow at Harvard University, is free to attend, and covers a variety of topics to help individuals and organizations drive success through innovation. Find out more about the lecture series and register to attend.

    Looking ahead to November, Bristol Technology Fest takes place from 9-15 November. Now in its second year, Bristol’s Technology Festival seeks to showcase technology  developed in the city.

    SETsquared Bristol are running a pitching event on 10 November for entrepreneurs with a great high tech business idea. Entrepreneurs are invited to sign up for #Idea2Pitch event to help hone their ideas, and shape ideas into a pitch for gaining interest or support in their venture.


    UWE Bristol’s second round of the Digital Innovation Fund, a £1m Covid-19 Recovery Fund, is open for applications until 10 November. The fund will help support SMEs in the West of England to innovate and solve new challenges created by the pandemic.


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