Pioneers into Practice: Joe Fisk

As someone who works for a multinational professional services firm, Joseph Fisk was an unusual Pioneer for us at Climate-KIC West Midlands.

Joe makes a point of living sustainably, and was keen for sustainable design to be part of his professional development at Arup – so when his manager introduced him to Pioneers into Practice, he leapt at the opportunity.

His experience shows the value of involving multinationals in the scheme as providers of participants, as their increased capacity to nurture ‘co-opetition’ has real value to other participants in the scheme, whilst also building their own network and supply chains.


Before Pioneers into Practice, Joseph mostly saw his role in the low carbon agenda as a personal one. “This is going to sound really naïve,” he recalls, “but I thought that climate change was a problem for engineers and scientists to solve”.

However, as he learned more about the sustainability-related projects that his colleagues were working on, he became increasingly keen to do more. Luckily, his boss at Arup had been introduced to Pioneers into Practice at a recent event, and suggested it as a way for him to develop his skills. “The culture of collaboration, cross-sector working and being generally outward-facing is integral to Arup, making Climate-KIC and Pioneers into Practice a really good fit for us”.

Attending the first Pioneers into Practice ‘crucible’ training session, Joseph had many of his preconceptions blown out of the water. “I was the only Pioneer from the West Midlands from a large corporation,” he recalls. “it made me realise that tackling climate change isn’t just a technical thing, it’s also about cities, innovation and human beings”.

Joe’s domestic placement was with Ventive, former Climate-KIC Venture competition participant and creator of passive ventilation systems. As a small start-up, it provided a very different experience to the shelter of a large multinational.

In Castellón, Joe was placed with the Chamber of Commerce, where he was asked to help them to support their members, and did so using his own qualities and experience. “A lot of the businesses around Castellón are produce ceramics processes or architectural materials, so it turned out that there were lots of ways that Arup can engage with them.”

Ultimately, Joe really hopes that Arup continues to play a part. “Pioneers into Practice massively opened my mind to what my role could be in the low carbon agenda”.