Category: Afallen

  • Afallen welcomes new Partner to accelerate growth in energy sector

    Afallen has expanded its partnership to include renewable energy and offshore development consultancy Venn Associates.  

    The appointment is part of Afallen’s continuing growth strategy. Venn Associates is the first new Partner since the company was founded in 2018.

    Commenting on the appointment, Joseph Kidd, founder of Venn Associates said:

    “I am delighted Venn Associates has joined forces with the Afallen team after working with them on a number of sustainability and renewable energy projects over recent years. I am looking forward to being part of a forward thinking team, focussed on helping Wales deliver its net zero ambitions and maximising value for Wales.”

    Joseph will join the three existing Partners, Mari Arthur, David Clubb and Peter Trott to strengthen Wales’ leading sustainability partnership. Joseph brings a wealth of project development and project management experience, as well as significant expertise in the offshore renewables sector in Wales. 

    The addition of Venn Associates will also expand Afallen’s network of associates and presence across Wales.  Afallen works across Wales with a team of associates leading in their own sectors, keeping profits local and helping to keep skilled people working on projects in Wales. 

    Peter Trott feels Venn Associates will add value to existing clients and projects especially work on decarbonisation:

    “Afallen aims to keep work, skills and profit in Wales and to help to grow stronger economies across all regions. We have gone from strength to strength over the last three years and expanding to include a new Partner will mean even more opportunities for Wales.” 

    Mari Arthur added:

    “Having a new partner join us from a new and exciting sector feels like a real boost for Afallen. We look for global best practice and innovation to strengthen what we do in Wales and Venn brings a range of national and international contacts and experience to strengthen our team and our work; helping us develop new ways of making Wales even more sustainable.”

  • Introducing Nikira

    This guest post is by Nikira Bowen, Graduate Intern. We gratefully acknowledge the support provided by Welsh Government and Swansea University in enabling this placement.

    Hello, my name is Nikira and I’m the newest member of the team at Afallen. I’m originally from Mumbles on the Gower Peninsula. Growing up, I spent most of my time outdoors – usually at the beach – and since then not much has changed. My hobbies include reading, sea-swimming, and baking, and I love spending time with my friends and family.

    I hold a BSc in Physical Earth Science from Swansea University, graduating in 2019. This had a strong focus on geology, palaeontology, climate change, ecosystems, and natural hazards. My undergraduate dissertation involved using satellite imagery to predict volcanic eruptions, using Wolf Volcano in the Galapagos as an example. It was during my undergraduate degree that I became passionate about climate change, and the decision to study for a master’s degree in Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change was an easy one. It involved studying the science behind climate change, climate policies across the globe, and the environmental consequences of climate change such as wildfires and sea level rise. My studies have taken me far and wide, from geological mapping on the Isle of Aran in Scotland to studying karst landscapes and plant adaptations in Mallorca, and studying landslides and biodiversity in Sikkim in the Indian Himalayas.

    Facts about me:

    • I single-handedly built the empire state building*
    • I drink a LOT of tea (exclusively earl grey)
    • I’m a big fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race
    • I’m excited to be part of Afallen!

    *out of Lego, not to scale.

  • Open source social media will save our democracy

    This guest blog post was written by our Partner, David Clubb. Afallen is proud to support, champion and use open source social media networks including Pixelfed and Mastodon. We’re happy to work with organisations to help you understand, and incorporate, open source social media into your digital strategy and workflow.

    In an opinion piece in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper, Carole Cadwalladr describes how Facebook is the virus that has enabled the catastrophes of both Brexit, and the ascension of Mr. Trump to the White House.

    Facebook allows lies to spread virtually unchecked. It permits those people with the most money and least scruples to disseminate falsehoods to those most susceptible. And it allows this with no prospect of holding individuals or organisations to account.

    Whilst Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms have enabled a blossoming of connection, conversation and shared ideas; they have also created a bitter, divisive, polarised digital world where shareholder value is enhanced most by highlighting division and minimising harmony. Quiet, reasoned thoughts are filtered out by algorithms designed to maximise clicks, retweets and likes. Volume is king.

    Many people want to make a difference but they don’t know how. But there is an antidote to the virus of misinformation and hatred. That antidote is open source social media, and it’s already spreading at the fringes of the online universe.

    Open source social media

    Open source social media doesn’t permit advertising. It doesn’t sell data. It prohibits hate speech and intolerance*. And it’s moderated by users, not resourced at the behest of global tech giants. 

    More worryingly for the incumbents, the hotbeds of innovation are no longer in the mega-corporations with their teams of thousands in the offices and boardrooms of (mostly) America. They are in the open source equivalents, with code freely available for thousands of supporters and volunteers across the globe to build and improve. 

    From the perspective of Wales’ Future Generations Act, anybody using, promoting or supporting these open source platforms is supporting the goal of a Globally Responsible Wales. From a worldwide perspective, that same user or supporter is increasing the freely-accessible sum of human knowledge. 

    One clear example of this innovation is the federation between open source platforms (also known as the Fediverse). Federation is the ability to connect different social media platforms, so that posts and updates become mutually visible.

    This means that if you post a photo on Pixelfed (ethical version of Instagram), it pops up in your feed on Mastodon (ethical version of Twitter). Likewise websites, blogs and updates on the ethical equivalent of pretty much every ‘surveillance capitalism’ platform you can think of can cross-post to each other, enabling much more streamlined conversations and updates.

    What are the downsides (and upsides)?

    Let’s deal with the elephant in the room; the big downside of the new open source Fediverse is that user numbers are far, far lower than for the established platforms.

    This is hardly surprising; there’s a headstart of fifteen years or so for many of the tech giants. And the science behind social media means that there’s an agglomeration effect; once most of your friends are engaged on a platform, it takes a significant effort to leave them behind and start something new.

    For me personally it meant (mostly) leaving my Twitter account of several thousand followers, and starting a fresh new Mastodon account on toot.wales, one of many ‘locality’ type instances across the world. 

    I instantly ‘lost out’ on the instantaneous stream of updates from my many friends and colleagues, and on the rough-and-tumble of (what passes for) debate there. There’s likely an impact on my ability to promote my new business, Afallen, through that network, too. 

    However, what I have found is a new community of online friends and collaborators. I’ve witnessed almost zero hatred or bullying. And I’ve relished using platforms which don’t harvest my personal data in order to sell them to companies who may – in many cases – place profit above the public good.

    The truth is that the community of users in Mastodon (and the other platforms) is growing steadily – see the example below for activity on the toot.wales Mastodon instance. At some tipping point – I’m convinced – the growth will start to become exponential, and then the users who became active first will see the biggest benefits.

    Weekly interactions on toot.wales, the Welsh instance of Mastodon

    But the biggest benefit of all will come when people start to leave the platforms of the tech giants en masse, lessening their influence as the custodians of online debate and information-sharing, and contributing to a kinder, gentler and more thoughtful world of public discourse.

    Further information

    If you’re interested in finding out more about the ethical, privacy-conscious alternatives to the mainstream social media platforms, head to switching.software.

    *Almost all ‘instances’ of open source social media ban hate and intolerance. Those that don’t are generally blocked, so the hatred is restricted to a small portion of the Fediverse

  • Accelerating sustainability

    We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been successful in securing a place in the next cohort of companies for the Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator.

    This competitive process rewards companies with a range of support services which can help accelerate their development. The application process comprised an application form, an interview, and the delivery of a 60-second ‘elevator pitch’.

    We’re extremely keen to use our expertise in sustainability to help influence the other members of the April 2020 cohort in a more sustainable direction – as well as ourselves benefiting from mixing with a very varied group of start-up businesses.

    The placement is for six months, with another six month extension possible, under competitive terms with all existing and new entrants.

    We’re very excited to learn, and share our own skills. Watch this space for our reflections on how we’ve benefited from the support!