Innovation in the Wild: Circular Economy training in Newquay

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Newquay was the location for a new style of business support developed by the University of Exeter, which is all about getting outside and doing things differently to spark new ideas in your business.

The into the wild series, takes enterprises into spaces that invigorate and inspire, using a combination of methods that enable open innovation. Creating the right conditions for generating thinking and discussion within peer-to-peer networks. The Innovation in the Wild series draws on several different academic practices that inform the structure of the sessions as well as maximise the outcomes for the businesses attending.

The Headland Hotel hosted The Innovation in the Wild event on Thursday 25th April which included a workshop with Professor Allen Alexander, lunch at The Headland Hotel and Bodyboarding with Newquay Activity Centre. As Hollie Kirk, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship explains, “Creating these events in the natural environment has supported our participants to realise their own entrepreneurial spirit, alongside your more traditional business acumen.  A challenge for anyone in today’s fast paced and hectic business environment” 

Into The Wild Exeter UniversityAllen Alexander, who is head of the Sustainable Futures team, based at the University of Exeter Business School in Penryn, noted “I originally conceived these sessions to encourage new approaches in learning about innovative ideas and theory, but now they have become so much more – from helping nascent entrepreneurs to develop their first pitch; to stimulating new products and services through the process of bio-mimicry; to understanding the Circular Economy, we are so pleased to be able to use the natural capital of the southwest for such beneficial economic purposes”. While traditional workshops have taken place in seminar type formats, this series instead takes businesses into spaces that invigorate and inspire, using a combination of methods that enable discussion, collaboration and action.

Perched upon a private clifftop top, The Headland Hotel provides the perfect location for business conference and workshops with its elegant spacious interiors, epic seascapes, and award-winning restaurants. After the morning workshop session concluded, the delegates were served with a delicious lunch overlooking Fistral Beach.

While traditional workshops have taken place in seminar type formats, this series instead takes businesses into spaces that invigorate and inspire, using a combination of methods that enable open innovation.

The final part of the workshop was a bodyboard lesson with Newquay Activity Centre, which took delegates out of their comfort zone to experience something new and invigorating, whilst also giving them space to process information from the morning session and network in a beautiful outdoor setting.

Newquay Activity Centre Director Rob Barber says “it was great to be involved in this new approach to supporting businesses and we hope that delegates walked away feeling refreshed and re-energised, equipped with new ideas and practices that can help them take their business to the next level’

The workshops are delivered by Allen Alexander and Hollie Kirk and include various stunning venues and locations across Devon and Cornwall, alongside a range of different approaches from immersive residentials on Bodmin and Dartmoor, to beach cleans and guided walks in West Cornwall.  

The University of Exeter has been commissioned to deliver the EVOLVE FUTURES project on behalf of the Growth Hub by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund as part of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth Programme.

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