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Insight Futures & TORCH: driving climate action with data


Insight Futures are a Glasgow based consulting business. Working across multiple sectors, they focus on enabling innovation and strategic change for a wide range of corporate and public sector clients. Their goal is to shape a future where business, society and the environment prosper sustainably.


In late 2020, Insight Futures (IF) Founder and CEO, Doug Morwood, approached the TORCH team with a view to validating and shaping an emerging proposition; one that would enable benchmarking and learning around climate action.

Specifically, IF wanted to test and shape a platform that helps both the ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ sides communicate (and understand one another’s capabilities). This will, in turn, simplify and accelerate the work towards more sustainable cities and buildings.


The TORCH team began by evaluating the existing knowledge within Insight Futures. It was quickly concluded that there was sufficient expertise and examples of best and good practice to build a benchmarking proposition and data platform. TORCH Solutions Architect, Iain Henderson, had prior experience of building and running such a service in a different subject area, and so he and Doug mapped out the technical requirements together.

In parallel, Insight Futures worked with The Data Lab to recruit a Masters student. With a strong range of data and technical development skills, Sprios Kalogeropoylos engaged in 3 months of development work to build the minimum viable product. Together with Iain, they worked to specify a Microsoft Azure-based data platform suited to the requirement. Following this, Spiros led the development project to a successful conclusion.

TORCH also made introductions to Robby Maltby of Northbound Digital (from the TORCH Supplier Network), to develop a micro-site explaining the platform and proposition. The collaboration will also highlight a pipeline management approach, through which IF might test and then launch their new offering – now named the Insight Platform.


TORCH provided Insight Futures access to a grant that enabled them to progress a number of the activities on the proposition roadmap, developed as part their engagement. The Insight Platform is now in the final stages of testing, with a view to on-board the first 60-70 benchmarking clients during August 2021. IF plan to publish an early lens on data findings, ahead of the COP26 event in Glasgow.

The proposition is solid and the IF team have put a credible set of initial best practices in place (against which organisations can be assessed). Businesses engaging in the assessment process receive a report that highlights their current state vs. both best practice and the current benchmark. The aggregation of all their scores are then averaged and packaged up by sector, geography, and other variables over time.

– Iain Henderson, TORCH Solutions Architect

Beyond this initial phase, there is clear scope to extend the benchmarking proposition into other areas; the next assessment to be built will be around cities and their approach to climate action.


Reflecting on the project and the emerging service offering, Doug told us,

We are delighted with the work on our data platform, benchmarking and assessment tool over the last few months. We’re very excited about taking our service to market, and Iain and Spiros have worked incredibly well together. I doubt we’d be where we are today without that in injection of knowledge and practical steps from TORCH.


Inspired by Insight Futures and their ideas for data in the climate action space? Speak with our team to discuss how we might support your propositions.