The UK and APAC businesses driving international collaboration
From large corporates to new start-ups, from food and drink to architecture, collaboration between UK and APAC businesses of every kind has never been stronger. The GREAT Innovation in Action Awards, a new initiative by the UK’s Department for International Trade in 2018, are a celebration of these international partnerships at their most ambitious, most collaborative and most innovative.
The twelve shortlisted trade projects all demonstrate how new thinking, shared between two businesses, can have a transformative impact on how we either work, live, play or learn. The winners will be determined by members of the international business community, who are being asked which of the nominated initiatives represent the pinnacle of innovative UK and APAC trade.
You can cast your vote by visiting the GREAT Innovation in Action Awards website.
The awards have four categories. The first focuses on collaborations that are producing exceptional results in the world of work. Our professional lives are changing, with new technologies, business models and behaviours. UK and APAC companies are leading that change.
A fine example of this is the pioneering work that UK-based OC Robotics and Dragages Hong Kong are undertaking to reduce the risk involved in complex construction. Ambitious subterranean construction projects can present extremely challenging working conditions. Dragages Hong Kong are constructing two 5km-long subsea road tunnels between the mainland and Hong Kong International Airport. At 50m below sea level, excavations are taking place at 5bar of pressure, with temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius and 100% humidity. Cleaning and inspecting the machines that bore tunnels is therefore a hazardous and time-consuming task. This is changing thanks to the partnership with OC Robotics. The JetSnake system from OC Robotics is allowing Dragages Hong Kong to inspect and clean equipment in difficult-to-access parts of the construction site remotely, reducing the potentially dangerous work required of engineers.
The second category of the GREAT Innovation in Action Awards recognises the UK and APAC collaborations that are enhancing our lives outside of the workplace - from designing the urban spaces we spend time in, to the transport solutions we use to travel around them.
For example, Europe’s first all-electric bus garage now allows Londoners to travel on clean, silent and reliable electric buses, result of pioneering work between Go-Ahead London, the UK capital's biggest bus company, and Build Your Dreams (BYD) of Shenzhen, China. The companies have been working in partnership since 2013 and have saved a remarkable 700 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the process.
Our downtime is becoming more immersive, more global, more fun. The third awards category highlights the UK and APAC companies paving the way in defining how we unwind.
A good cup of coffee, many of us would argue, is key ingredient of relaxation. IKAWA are based in the UK where they design and manufacture innovative coffee roasting machines. They have spent no less than six years developing the world's first digital micro coffee roasters that improve the quality of coffee immeasurably. Japanese tech giant Panasonic partnered with IKAWA to help the firm expand its home coffee roasting service with the latest in digital coffee roasting technology. The Panasonic 'Smart Coffee Roaster' is based on IKAWA designs, and the product's launch in Japan represents a significant step forward in advancing coffee appreciation in the country. IKAWA have also been able to use the collaboration to draw inspiration from the high standards synonymous with Japanese manufacturing; which has inspired them as they set up a new workshop in London.
As technology becomes ever more embedded in education and academia, UK and APAC business are taking a leading role in teaching the world how it's done. The fourth and final awards category focusses on the brilliant initiatives that are transforming the way we learn – at any age.
One case-in-point is work that Malaysia’s Ministry of Education has been undertaking with UK tech company Frog since 2012. In that time, they have succeeded in making Malaysia the first country in the world to connect all of its schools to a single learning platform. Frog is an award-winning, cloud-based virtual learning environment that has been designed to streamline teaching, learning, school communication and administration. It provides a seamless way for teachers to deliver lessons, give homework and track performance, whilst allowing students to access learning and revision materials, anywhere, anytime, and even effortlessly collaborate with one another. To date the project has reached 5,000,000 students and 500,000 teachers in Malaysia enabling them to embrace the latest techniques in teaching and learning.
The GREAT Innovation in Action Awards are a snapshot of international trade at its collaborative finest. But they also demonstrate that when it comes to innovative thinking, UK and APAC companies are leading the world. Have your say. Explore the nominees and cast your vote. >>