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The Breakthrough Mindset: Can business solve the world’s biggest problems?

By September 6, 2018January 26th, 2021Member News & Updates, STEMM, Why Exeter blog


The University of Exeter Business School is very pleased to be joined by Innovate UK and Volans for an evening discussing breakthrough innovation and the future of our cities.

Please join us for wine, snacks – and with your help – good conversation.


We live in what New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman calls ‘the age of accelerations.’ Technological progress, climate change and the interconnectedness of the global economy are all developing along exponential trajectories, he argues.

These can be deeply uncertain and discomforting times for business and society. Yet, they also offer huge opportunity for businesses looking to harness the accelerating pace of technology – often referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution – to create solutions. 

Al Gore’s investment firm, Generation Investment Management, claims we are entering what they call The Sustainability Revolution.

Sustainability, they argue, is now fundamental to growth.

“Based on our analysis, there are clear indicators we are in the early stages of a global “Sustainability Revolution” that has the magnitude of the Industrial Revolution and the speed of the Digital Revolution. Empowered by new digital tools, including the internet of things and machine learning, this Sustainability Revolution is giving many businesses the ability to manipulate electrons, atoms and molecules with the same precision used by computer and networking firms to manipulate bits of information.

The two key opportunities present themselves. A) make goods and services accessible to those who previously didn’t have access to them—and B) replace resource-intensive products and services with ones that are radically more efficient.

A new partnership between the University of Exeter Business School and London-based innovation and sustainability change agency, Volans will explore the mindsets, business models and technologies need to unlock these opportunities.

With 75% of the world’s population expected to be living in cities by the middle of the century, transforming our cities is perhaps our most urgent task – and therefore also where the biggest opportunities lie. We are delighted be joined by Niraj Saraf – Urban Innovation Lead for the UK Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK – who is in Exeter to attend a Breakthrough Cities workshop exploring business models to help solve Exeter’s congestion problem.


18:00 – Arrive and mingle

18:30 – Panel discussion with Niraj Saraf (Innovate UK), Adam Lusby (University of Exeter), and Richard Johnson & Jacqueline Lim (Volans).

19:00 – Q&A

19:30 – Networking

20:30 – Ends

We look forward to seeing you there!


Book your place for this event here >