A bike ride through innovation

milton keynes

Milton Keynes to Amsterdam in three days.

On a bike.

Some challenge.

And one undertaken by Kieran Crewe, a marketing services executive here at MPA Group.  Kieran embarked on a gruelling test to raise much needed funds for Willen Hospice – a local charity here in Milton Keynes focused on improving the quality of life of its palliative care patients.

While Kieran was hard at work pedalling his way to one of Holland’s most famous cities, his route took him past a number of locations which have been the birthplace of brilliant and profound innovations that are making a real difference to all aspects of our lives.

With this in mind, we wanted to showcase some of the brilliant innovations Kieran’s cycle challenge covered over the three days.

Start: Milton Keynes turn data into business intelligence

The day was sunny, cool but with a stiff breeze at Kieran’s starting point, Milton Keynes. The city boasts a number of innovative businesses, including software development company, Halpenfield.

With statistics reporting that less than 0.5% of all data is ever analysed and used, there is huge opportunity here for companies to achieve competitive advantage by using data to better understand their customers and make the best business decisions possible.

This is a space where Halpenfield, established in 2004, has made its mark. It specialises in organising, analysing and visualising data in a way their clients can use. They are working with big brands like M&S, Boots and Thomas Cook to help them optimise the business intelligence that big data offers today’s digitally savvy organisations.

Cambridge: A new way to drug screen

From Milton Keynes, the route headed for 60 miles towards Cambridge – home to many hi-tech organisations pushing the envelope of what’s possible, and the first overnight stop of the ride.

The numerous business innovations include Intelligent Fingerprinting – a company which has developed a new system to analyse fingerprint sweat which can be used to screen for the four main drug groups – cocaine, opiates, cannabis and amphetamines – simultaneously.

The new test, which has been fully trialled and is now available to order, has applications across a variety of screening scenarios, including drug rehabilitation programmes, workplace applications, criminal justice and for use by coroners.

Here at MPA Group, we also see Cambridge as an important collaborative hub for innovation, having recently become a member of Cambridge Wireless. An international community for ambitious technology, we’re already working alongside a number of its members when it comes to innovation funding associated with wireless and mobile, internet, semiconductor and software tech.

Essex: Helping the planet survive the curse of plastic

From Cambridge, Kieran pushed hard towards his port crossing in Essex.  Here he passed the workplace of inventor Adam Root, a British designer hoping his invention will prevent micro plastics from reaching the ocean.

He has developed a filter which can be easily fitted onto washing machines to stop minuscule plastic fibre particles from entering the UK’s sewage network.

With many clothes containing man-made materials and dyes which cannot be broken down easily, they often end up in the sea, harming sea life and getting into the human food chain.  The public’s horrified reaction to the plastic sea pollution images shown recently in BBC’s Blue Planet made it clear that something must be done.  Adam’s vision is an example of innovative thinking and execution with the potential to make a substantial difference.

And finally, Amsterdam: Building for tomorrow

Kieran’s third and final day of cycling concluded in Amsterdam – home of a 3D printed bridge!

It has recently been awarded the European Commission’s prestigious STARTS Prize 2018, designed to champion innovative projects at the interface of science, technology and art.

STARTS recognises digital transformation projects that have the potential to contribute to economic and social innovation. The 3D-printed pedestrian bridge is the product of the innovative collaboration of Dutch technology start up MX3D and designers Joris Laarman Lab.  MX3D has created intelligent software that transforms welding machines into 3D robotic printers to produce a fully functional steel bridge.

The pedestrian bridge, which is earmarked for completion towards the end of 2018, will be installed in the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam.

A route full of inspiring people and innovations

Wherever we look, work is underway to create new solutions and develop new products that advances previous thinking and have a wider societal impact across all walks of life.  Turning a visionary concept into practical use for commercial gain is the end game for individuals and organisations which have innovation, research and development as core driving values by which they exist. At MPA Group our team of industry experts are able to work alongside your business to identify eligible activity, and who knows, it could be your ground-breaking innovation which becomes a feature in one of our next blogs.

To support Kieran on his mammoth challenge in aid of Willen Hospice, please visit his JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kieran-crewe