Beyond Waste - A Circular Resources Lab

How can social laboratories be used to their full potential to address current societal challenges?

Impressions from the exchange with political and public administration representatives.

Impressions from the exchange with political and public administration representatives.

Lausanne, December 7th – Today, a group of 21 individuals, representing business, academia and civil society met with local politics and public administration actors to discuss their prototype solutions for a circular economy transition and the potential of social laboratories, the experimental format they were created in. Circular Resources Lab is a project powered by Sustainable Living Lab at Impact Hub Lausanne & Living Lab Lausanne at EPFL in collaboration with collaboratio helvetica, with the support of the Engagement Migros development fund as well as the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Switzerland (SDSN).

Current processes of production and consumption are linear and therein produce a lot of waste. A transition is required to move towards an environmentally sustainable model. Through some of its principles like reuse, recycle, repair and reduce, circular economy offers an alternative model that treats resources in a smart way leaving less or no waste. Shifting to this model requires a systemic approach, a fundamental transformation of our production and consumption patterns as well as change of our mindsets. Here, social laboratories can offer a promising approach: Beyond Waste | Circular Resources Lab is a four month experimental journey (Sept - Dec 2018) which consists of a blended learning environment combining online and offline sessions, using social technologies drawn from various approaches and tools, namely Theory U. Over the last four months, our 21 participants learnt how to let go of old convictions and judgements to be able to open up to new ways of understanding and tackling the issue. In accessing resources that come into existence when a group of people connects deeply on a social level they formed four teams around specific topics.

What are the prototype solutions coming out of this laboratory? One group searches for ways to foster circular economy communities to support individual change through a dedicated space. A second group researches around the potential of new soil fertilizers stemming from usually wasted mushroom substrate. The third team develops an educational program around circular economy opportunities in the construction sector and the last team wants to integrate the topic of circularity in the social welfare system to harness underutilised human potential.

Today, politicians and public sector representatives are convened at EPFL Innovation Park to hear these solutions and discuss the relevance of public support for social laboratories as a new governance model to generate sustainable innovation through an ecosystem approach.

Contact Beyond Waste | Circular Resources Lab :

Erica Mazerolle, M.A. (Design, Facilitation & Project Lead), erica.mazerolle@impacthub.ch, +41 (0)76 779 69 25, French and English

Prof. Dr. rer. publ. HSG Darya Gerasimenko (Design, Facilitation & Research Lead), darya.gerasimenko@unisg.ch, www.gerasimenko.ch, English and German