In our weekly good news round-up, we feature three positive stories from across the week that showcase incredible innovation, significant breakthroughs, and exciting progress within the realms of healthcare, climate and sustainability, equity and inclusion, workplace wellbeing, social impact and more.

Here are our favourite positive stories of the week, 20 to 26 May, 2024.


1. ‘It takes a village’: St Albans jumps on board with smartphone-free status for under 14s

St Albans in Hertfordshire is making moves to become the first UK city to go smartphone-free for all children under 14.

In a similar scenario to that of Greystones, an Irish town which last year adopted a voluntary ‘no-smartphone code’ in a bid to curb peer pressure, parents in St Albans are banding together to collectively tell their children they won’t have a smartphone until secondary school. 

Image: Instagram @smartphonefreechildhood

Daisy Greenwell from the Smartphone-Free Childhood campaign believes others will now “feel emboldened to follow suit.”

Daisy’s local WhatsApp group about the issue ‘exploded’ following a social post, attracting 100,000 supporters in a matter of months. “The groundswell of support we have seen has been completely mindblowing,” she said.

Ofcom research found that 91% of children in the UK own a smartphone by the time they’re 11.

“If everyone does it across the board you don’t feel like you’re the odd one out. It makes it so much easier to say no,” said Laura Bourne, a County Wicklow based parent. “The longer we can preserve their innocence the better.”

Read more of the story here

JOIN OUR PROGRAMME: Prioritising Children’s Health

 

2. Baileys to trial paper-based packaging to replace glass bottles

British multinational beverage company Diageo has revealed plans to trial a 90% paper, dry-molded fibre bottle, as part of the ‘Bottle Collective’, in partnership with PA Consulting and PulPac.

The 2,000 bottle trial, to be implemented across Baileys’ mini format (80ml), will launch at the Time Out Festival in Barcelona this weekend (25-26 May, 2024), and will test how the bottles travel from Ireland to Spain.

Image credit: Instagram @baileysofficial

Paper bottles have already been adopted by a number of drinks manufacturers in the UK.

Experts believe the PulPac dry-molded fibre technology offers huge potential. PA Consulting’s Design, Sustainability and Innovation expert, Jamie Stone, had this to say about the innovative technology behind the paper packaging:

“Not only is it water-saving, energy-efficient and recyclable, but it is also viable at commercial manufacturing speeds and scale. Working with Diageo and other organisations through our Bottle and Blister Pack Collectives has enabled us to pool resources and dramatically accelerate the time to market for this important innovation.”

Read more on the story here.

EXPLORE OUR PROGRAMME: Manufacturing: Industry, Innovation and Impact 

 

3. AI is put to use on cancer waiting lists in England

New AI tech will be used to assist radiography departments across England thanks to a ‘game-changing’ £15.5m investment package, announced by the UK government this week (Tuesday 21 May).

The tech, which will enable algorithms to pinpoint cancer cells 2.5 times faster than doctors, works by automatically reviewing CT or MRI scans, and rapidly distinguishing between cancerous cells and healthy tissue – and thereby avoiding healthy organs from suffering damage during radiation treatment.

“This is an exciting breakthrough in our work to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment, and AI is helping to make our healthcare system faster, simpler and fairer,” said health and social care secretary Victoria Atkins.

Trained health workers will then review reports prior to the administering of any treatment. With the introduction of the new program, tens of thousands of cancer patients each year will receive faster treatment, and cancer waiting times are set to fall.

The announcement came on the back of the Prime Minister’s speech at the two-day AI Seoul Summit – which builds on the momentum kickstarted at Bletchley Park in November 2023 – in which he also touched on the use of AI in the NHS to help “millions of women” who face the risk of breast cancer.

The virtual summit focused on three key themes: innovation, safety, and inclusivity. In an exclusive article for iNews, about the aims of the Summit, Rishi Sunak said:

“It is just six months since world leaders met at Bletchley, but even in this short space of time, the landscape of AI has changed dramatically. The pace of change will only continue to accelerate, so our work must accelerate too. We will not stop at the AI Seoul Summit – we will continue to collaborate across the full range of AI issues for the years to come. An exciting future awaits: we’re determined to seize it together.”

Read more on the story here.

EXPLORE OUR PROGRAMME: AI and Big Data: Empowering Tomorrow

AI has got its capabilities faster than most of us expected and is impacting our lives in an increasing number of ways, but if AI is developed safely and ethically, and the regulation is strong, there is an air of optimism for its future.​

News-style programme AI & Big Data: Empowering Tomorrow will explore the importance of ensuring responsible practices are in place, and the organisations using AI and big data as a force for good. The programme will be premiered at TechEx Europe, 1st-2nd October, in Amsterdam and will feature thought leaders TechUK and more to be confirmed.

There are commercial opportunities for leading organisations to be featured in the programme and spearhead their own news item. If your organisation wants to share what you stand for and be part of this important conversation about AI and big data, please contact ITN Business’ Programming Directors Jamie Connolly and Isabella Sharp.