The Unconventional Connections team
We have assembled a group of partners and associates with the range of capabilities you will need to draw on.
CEO and Lead Consultant: Dr Nick Rousseau
After a 20-year career in the UK Government (for the last five years, as Head of International Innovation Strategy in the Business department), in 2016 I left Government to set up Unconventional Connections Ltd. Where I have worked as a CEO/consultant, delivering projects for a range of public and private clients.
I am also the Founder and MD of the Woven Network – the UK network for people working on farmed insect protein - which I started in 2015. As a result I have built an extensive international network of people involved in this, a solid understanding of the many issues and opportunities facing the sector. I have been asked to speak about the potential of insect protein in the Houses of Parliament, at Chatham House and at academic and business conferences.
Significant, relevant projects I/Unconventional Connections have delivered include:
For the WWF Funded FeedX programme. Judged submissions from insect farming companies regarding their potential to provide sustainable alternatives to fishmeal for the aquaculture sector.
While at Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Commissioned and led the development of strategic frameworks for international collaboration relating to High Value Manufacturing and Agritech – working with Institute for Manufacturing and FERA.
For the Department for International Development (DFID). Consulting on and developing a strategic approach to engaging with a range of Indian, Chinese and global brand partners that will enable a rapid increase in the availability of electric cooking devices across the developing world
For DFID. Mapping UK energy technology company strengths to developing country needs and developing proposals for programmes that could harness that for real impact in the developing world
For the North-East Local Enterprise Partnerships. Carried out a review of a proposed Innovation Delivery Partnerships model for driving economic growth in the region, including making recommendations for piloting the approach
I hold BA, MSc and PhD degrees in psychology from the universities of Cambridge, Sheffield and Loughborough with a focus on psychology and user centred system development.
International Collaboration Project Management consultant: Antony Davies
Antony has extensive experience in the field of international technology transfer and trans-national collaborative partnerships, having until recently, been a director and co-owner of an innovation and technology transfer consultancy in the North of England. During his 16 years with the consultancy, Antony developed expertise in European Innovation and R&D funding, supporting client companies to build trans-national collaborative projects. His work in this area led Antony to deliver technology transfer and research funding training and workshops throughout Europe, and as far afield as Russian and Japan. Antony has also extensive experience of bid management and proposal writing, and has managed a number of international technology transfer programmes and projects.
Working with the public and private sectors, Antony has developed an understanding of the drivers of both, and has developed and managed innovation funding support schemes for Regional Development Agencies in the UK.
These experiences have helped Antony to build an extensive network of technology transfer professionals in Europe and beyond, with whom collaborations can be built and expertise and relationships developed.
Antony recently set up his own consulting practice and now undertakes assignments for public sector and private sector clients, supporting business growth and expansion.
Innovation and Organisation Design Consultant: Luke Owen
Luke worked for ten years at the centre of UK Government where he developed UK policy for innovation and managed relationships with key UK innovation bodies on behalf of Government.
During his time in Government, Luke worked with Lord Heseltine on his review of UK competitiveness, managed ministerial offices, developed national innovation strategies and represented UK interests at the European Commission.
He is a trained facilitator and also offers skills around stakeholder engagement, strategy development and project delivery. Having lived, worked and travelled widely in Asia, Luke has an appreciation for working with different cultures and understanding their needs and preferred ways of doing business.
He has a particular passion for helping organisations and individuals to develop and expand their potential. He recently set up his own consultancy practice, focussed on executive coaching, change management and organisational development.
In his spare time, he is a volunteer Non-Executive Director at a Community Interest Company that turns waste materials into furniture and provides employment for disadvantaged individuals.
Luke has a post-graduate qualification in Organisational Development, an MSc in Environmental Sustainability, the APM qualification in Project Management and is a qualified coach.
Luke was one of the small team to research and draft the report for DFID:
Nick Rousseau, Kerry Dickinson, Luke Owen, Jonathan Cloke, Antony Davies and Fay Kenworthy, February 2019 Potential for Application of UK Energy-Related Technologies to Developing Countries.
This involved developing an understanding of the clean energy technology needs of Sub- Saharan Africa and SE Asia and the barriers to take-up of available technologies.