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Bee positive

Increasing biodiversity by building an intelligent tool to support pollinators

In the latest Tech4Positive Futures challenge, a Capgemini team is bringing data from humans and bees together to improve biodiversity in urban areas.

Photo by Chris Parkes

What would happen if bees and other insects weren’t around to pollinate flowers and plants? In fact, the effects would be devastating – and the decline of pollinators is already a global issue that is having far-reaching consequences.

Around the world, almost 90% of wild plants and 75% of vital global crops depend on animal pollination, and one out of every three mouthfuls of the food we consume is made possible by the work of pollinators like bees. To put it simply, if the bees aren’t busying themselves pollinating our fruit and vegetable plants, the food crops we need to feed ourselves won’t grow.

In light of such statistics, rewilding and biodiversity projects are increasingly vital, and they also require solutions tailored to specific local environments.

A challenge for technology

How could technology be part of a solution? That was the question for a winning UK-based team in Capgemini’s latest Tech4Positive Futures challenge. The global challenge encourages employees to apply their skills to make a positive impact on our people, planet, and society. In the latest edition of Tech4Positive Futures, the challenge was to develop solutions aimed at protecting our biodiversity and reducing our reliance on the Earth’s resources. 

“We wanted to help people rewild urban areas by building an intelligent rewilding tool, which would allow people to understand where to rewild and what to plant,” says Innovation Consultant and team member Hardik Pithadia, who works in Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE) in London. “How could we know exactly what’s good for the biodiversity of the local area, to support bees and the pollination of flowers?”

Also part of the winning Tech4Positive Futures team is Emerging Technology Engineer Ben Preston. “One of our focuses in AIE is sustainability,” he says. “We were keen to find a project that was interesting from a technological point of view that matched this focus, and supporting bees does that perfectly.”

A tool for rewilding

For the project, the Capgemini team partnered with Pollenize, a community interest company in the southwest of England who are encouraging local people to grow the native wildflowers that enable pollinators to thrive. The result is a rewilding tool aimed at encouraging people to help bring nature back into urban areas.

Data is at the heart of the project, and the tool allows people to scan a QR code on packets of wildflower seeds distributed by Pollenize, which takes them to a website where they can upload information about where the seeds have been sown.

“We’re looking at how we can provide people with localized data that changes their behavior, and then how we can gamify that to create change at scale,” says Ben.

Understanding bee behavior

There is one more set of data that is vital to the project, however, and that is provided by the bees themselves.

“We are using data to help us understand more about bee behavior,” says Ben, “and in particular what we can learn from the ‘waggle dance’ that bees perform when they arrive back in their hive after collecting pollen.

“The waggle dance is a bee communication system. They speak to other bees by moving in a figure of eight pattern, and then pointing themselves in a certain direction. If we can use technology to help us decode the waggle dance within an active beehive, it may provide information about the bees’ choices in where they collect pollen.

“For example, how many trips out are the bees making each day? How far are they going? Are they being instructed to go to a particular place? If data from the hives provide insight, we can start to map how the bees use and navigate local areas.

“Knowing this will then help with rewilding urban districts by letting people know good places to sow wildflower seeds. What we are hoping for is that the EHive tool helps to build an active and engaged rewilding community, with some solid data supporting their efforts.”

Helping sustainable futures

According to Hardik, the team’s work with Pollenize through the Tech4Positive Futures challenge is a natural fit with the broader work Capgemini is involved with every week.

“At a day-to-day level I might work on projects for water companies or energy companies, and all major corporations today are concerned about sustainability and biodiversity. They are looking for projects and solutions that can impact their sustainability targets, goals, and measures.

“There’s definitely a feel-good factor when you are working on an important issue like this, but it’s also important in terms of our careers. Increasingly, we all need to know how we can use technology for good – for solving important issues and for raising awareness of how tech can help shape the future we all want. Projects like this help us understand how we can make that happen.” For Hardik and Ben, the underlying value of the project is that it could eventually be rolled out at scale. Decoding the secretive dance of a bee, and understanding where to sow a tiny seed in a local urban patch – these aren’t just insights that affect biodiversity in a small corner of southwest England. They could deliver real impact globally.


Through Tech4Positive Futures, Capgemini applies innovation and technology to solve some of the most pressing planetary and societal challenges in the areas of skilling, health, and well-being, and climate-related sustainability. We do this by bringing financial support and leadership commitment together with the pro-bono technology and consulting services of our volunteering colleagues. This is delivered in collaboration with our ecosystem of partners, creating impact at scale.

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Applied Innovation Exchange

Capgemini’s AIE is a global platform for innovation. It brings together a framework for action, a network of exchanges, and a diverse ecosystem