Greg Clarke

Smart thinking

13 November 2012

In post from September 1st, new Met Office Chairman Greg Clarke brings fresh perspectives at a time when innovation and ideas have never been more important for the organisation's future success.

By working at the forefront of what is possible, we are enabling more people to access our advice and services, helping the UK to become more resilient, competitive and sustainable.

My interest in science goes way back - well beyond the moment when I chose management over physics for my degree. But it's a passion that's stayed with me throughout my career running multinational public companies - crystallising during the seven years I was managing Lend Lease Corporation in Australia from 2002 to 2009.

It was then that I became deeply involved with understanding the impact of weather on the built environment in general and the company's construction division in particular. Joining the Met Office as Chairman now gives me a unique opportunity to support a world- class organisation tackle some of the biggest issues our planet will face over the next 10, 20, 30 years.

New ideas are pivotal to good science - theories that can be verified through repeatable experiments and then exploited to solve problems. So it's fitting that we're now owned by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), an arrangement that encourages bold new thinking across industries.

A feature on innovation and invention explores this theme with Caroline Griffiths, Head of Innovation at EDF Energy, one of the Met Office's clients. Caroline shares her thoughts on how EDF is learning from us - and we're learning from them.

An accompanying feature on the ThinkUP initiative, investigates how a Met Office team is helping to support an innovation culture - working with EDF Energy, the Environment Agency, University of Exeter Business School, BIS and others.

A piece on the science of attribution then brings the innovation concept to life through an example of science that's adding to our understanding of extreme weather events.

The collaboration theme that's supported by our diverse BIS links also flows strongly through the new Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme - an initiative designed to build on the UK's climate capability by bringing together the best minds from science, Government and industry.

Kirstine Dale, our Head of International Services and Climate Services for Government, explains how the programme will drive joined up thinking to underpin the UK's climate capability over the next three years to 2015.

Sharp, creative minds have again been hard at work in three other fascinating areas covered by Barometer:

Wind energy is explored through a guest article by Ian Burrow, Head of Agriculture and Renewable Energy at Nat West. Ian discusses how the Met Office is working with the bank to help investors make the most of the wind energy opportunity.

Growers' Nation is an exciting new app developed by a Met Office team which cleverly combines location, soil, climate and growing data to help anyone aiming to grow their own produce.

Finally, a feature on flood forecasting reviews the ongoing success of the Flood Forecasting Centre following integration of Met Office and Environment Agency resources.

Like me, I hope you'll enjoy discovering more about the vital work of the Met Office through these and other stories in this 22nd edition of Barometer. I look forward to my learning journey in the months to come - and the chance to support a unique organisation in the years ahead.

Introducing Greg Clarke

• Former Chief Executive of FTSE 20 company Cable and Wireless Communications PLC and ASX 50-listed Lend Lease Corporation of Australia.

• Chairman of the Football League since 2010.

• Non-executive director for organisations including BUPA, T-Mobile and MTN South Africa.

• Honours degree in Business Studies; MBA from Cass Business School, London.

• Greg is married with four daughters, loves golf and football - and is a lifelong fan, as well as former Chairman, of Leicester City.

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