Folk Labs are thrilled to announce we were one of six winners of InnovateUK’s funding competition Digital innovation in the sharing economy which we are using to develop new software for circular economy cities.

Funded by the UK’s innovation agency, InnovateUK, the ICTomorrow Sharing Economy challenge offered six entrants a share of £180K to fund development of new digital solutions to sharing economy challenges with the aim of encouraging innovation in the sharing economy.

Theme categories included trust, tourism and travel and we were successful in winning the Data and Analytics thematic category, run in partnership with Peterborough City Council and Cranfield University.

Here’s the main challenge video, exploring the issues they wanted to address.

Based on the premise that cities play a vital role in developing the sharing economy, they were looking for digital solutions to exploit existing and new datasets in innovative ways; analysing and/or visualising data to help the council’s team to understand their existing local sharing economy as well as helping to improve it.

Our solution to Peterborough City Council’s goal of becoming the UK’s first Circular City is a new web-based decision-support platform called Metroflows which we are aiming to begin trialing later in 2017.

What is Metroflows?

Metroflows is software for circular economy cities – a living systems insight tool to generate material flow analysis visualisations of the resources (material and non-material) flowing around urban economies.

By transforming diverse datasets into beautiful, interactive visualisations, we enable decision makers to discover new insights more easily and quickly.

Based on an open data platform, local government, businesses and even citizens within local communities can contribute to and explore visualisations together, to better understand their current local economy, see their relationship with each network and explore different solutions.

The platform will help Peterborough identify key data black spots where stronger data gathering activities or collaborations could be developed to improve the usefulness of the model. Over time progress can be seen toward the long term vision of a strong sharing economy within a circular city.

Can you help?

Please get in touch with us if you think you can help. We are especially eager to work with experts in the circular economy for cities, or anyone with experience with building software for circular economy cities.

We’d also like to speak to anyone working in a local authority in the UK which is facing similar challenges – we’d like to partner with you as part of our trial, investors who are interested in innovative solutions to circular economy analytics, environmental groups and others who are active in this field.

Photo: “Fireworks” by Norman Wilkinson is licensed under CC BY 2.0