aql CEO named Director of the Year for Innovation

Prof. Adam Beaumont, founder and CEO of aql and NorthInvest, has been named Director of the Year for Innovation by the Institute of Directors for Yorkshire.

This is the second IOD award in as many years for Beaumont, who was named International Director of the Year in 2017.

The award recognises another year of significant progress towards Beaumont’s goals of transforming the North into a digitally-native, data-driven society and enabling innovation to create opportunity for everyone. He’s focused particularly on supporting young people – the next generation of change-makers – and building the tools and partnerships to retain and unleash the region’s graduate talent.

Beaumont is dedicated to driving change and building missing capability within ecosystems, and broadly focuses on two areas: the inspirational and the enabling. On one hand, the kinds of projects that spark an interest in technology, with a focus on underrepresented groups; on the other, the tools that help bring innovative ideas to fruition. This year has seen plenty of activity on both fronts.

As part of his mission to inspire, Beaumont unveiled aql’s first autonomous trial vehicle during Leeds Digital Festival and announced a consortium of partners, including Gulf Oil, Leeds and Bradford city councils, the University of Leeds, Citu and CitiPark to trial the vehicles in Leeds.

He also brought British aeronautic pioneer Gravity Industries and its founder and Chief Test Pilot, Richard Browning, to Leeds to showcase continued leaps in human flight technology by flying their latest jet suit.

He has provided the backdrop and platform for innovators and leaders at aql’s historic HQ, including Helen Sharman OBE, Britain’s first astronaut, and Bas Lansdorp, CEO and co-founder of Mars One, earlier this year.

To help enable innovation, NorthInvest, the not-for-profit investment platform founded by Beaumont, ramped up investment over the past 12 months and has seen a 25% increase in membership. NorthInvest connects entrepreneurs with mentors and investors and is a key part of a comprehensive tech ecosystem.

Beaumont was named Honorary Consul of Estonia in Leeds for his ongoing work building partnerships between the two nations. Estonia is leading the world in citizen-centred transformational technology, and his efforts enable all kinds of opportunities for Northern businesses and entrepreneurs, in terms of partnerships, investment and shared learning.

aql holds 5G test licences in the UK and Beaumont continues to drive Leeds’ bid to become one of the UK’s 5G cities. The Leeds City Region is among the areas best-placed to take advantage of 5G, thanks in large part to Beaumont building the underlying technical infrastructure. This opens the doors to all kinds of future innovation around 5G connectivity, including further work in autonomous vehicles and delivery drones.

A committed environmentalist, Beaumont joined the Eden Project as a trustee and is actively engaged in the positive use of technology to support lifestyle change via projects in social prescription. His team are also innovating – recent projects include low-power sensors to track water bottle refills and to drive a lower-plastic society.

“My passion for innovation is what drives me to build new disruptive models, invest in new technology and back those who are pioneers in their field. Winning the IOD Director of the Year for Innovation award is a great accolade for me and my teams – INNOVATION is also the word which all visitors to our historic Leeds HQ see, in large letters, as soon as they enter the building,” said Beaumont.