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@epfl.ch, darya.gerasimenko@unisg.ch, www.gerasimenko.ch, English and German

On Sustainable Living Lab (Impact Hub Lausanne & Geneva):
Sustainable Living Lab is a pioneering initiative supported by the development fund Engagement Migros and catalysed by Impact Hub Geneva & Lausanne. Our vision is a world in which business, government, academia and civil society openly collaborate in order to support concrete initiatives that solve the most important challenges of our time by taking action locally. We create spaces for collaborative practices and transformative learning, in order to enable cross-sector experimentation and facilitate awareness-based collective action.

On Living Lab Lausanne (3L):
Living Lab Lausanne (3L) at GERG Chair at EPFL is a co-creation platform to foster Circular economy solutions within Canton Vaud (CH) and outside. Our Living Lab follows Quadruple Helix Model of governance of innovation. The objectives of 3L: altered resource flows of the region, new programs and initiatives for CE, new partnerships, and new business models for CE, new products and services for CE, changes in public policy to facilitate CE transformation in Switzerland as well as research on CE transition. We plan the following pillars of work within our Living lab: regular workshops on CE issues with invited speakers, social lab on CE development consisting of various stakeholders as well as living lab for testing innovative solutions (products and services) for CE solutions through integrated learning mechanisms.

On collaboratio helvetica:
collaboratio helvetica is at once platform, community, organisation, laboratory and movement. We are a pioneer project, which is dedicated to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Switzerland, especially through conveying necessary conditions for fruitful collaboration. This is why we create spaces for open dialogue, experimentation and collaboration to co-create the Switzerland we want to live in. collaboratio helvetica is supported by Engagement Migros, the development fund of the Migros Group.

On Engagement Migros:
The Engagement Migros development fund enables pioneering projects in the midst of social change, which break new ground and test solutions aimed at the future. This approach is oriented towards making a difference and combines financial support with coaching services in its Pioneerlab. Engagement Migros is made possible by the companies of the Migros Group thanks to annual funding of approximately CHF 10 million; it has been complementing the Migros Culture Percentage since 2012. For further information: www.engagement-migros.ch

On Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Switzerland:
SDSN Switzerland - Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in Switzerland Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Switzerland mobilizes universities, research centers, civil society organizations, business and other knowledge centers to create and implement transformative solutions to achieve the Agenda 2030 and Paris Agreement in Switzerland and beyond.

Beyond Waste - Un laboratoire pour la circularité des ressources Laboratoires d’innovation sociale en Suisse:

Comment cette forme organisationnelle peut-elle être mobilisée à son plein potentiel afin de résoudre les défis sociétaux actuels ?

Lausanne, le 7 décembre - Aujourd’hui, un groupe de 21 individus représentant les secteurs privé, académique et associatif rencontrent des politiciens et membres de l’administration publique pour discuter leurs prototypes de solutions pour une transition vers l’économie circulaire, ainsi que le potentiel des laboratoires sociaux, un format participatif expérimental au sein duquel ils furent créés. Beyond Waste | Circular Resources Lab est un projet porté par le Sustainable Living Lab d’Impact Hub Lausanne et le Living Lab Lausanne de l’EPFL en collaboration avec collaboratio helvetica, avec le soutien du fonds de soutien Engagement Migros ainsi que le Sustainable Development Solutions Network Switzerland (SDSN).

Le modèle actuel de production et de consommation est linéaire, produisant énormément de déchets tout en épuisant les ressources. Une transition est indispensable afin d’instaurer un modèle écologiquement durable. À travers ses principes tels que réutiliser, recycler, réparer et réduire, l’économie circulaire offre un modèle alternatif qui traite les ressources de façon intelligente en laissant moins ou pas de déchets. Adhérer à ce modèle requiert une approche systémique, une transformation fondamentale de nos schémas de consommation et de production, soutenue par un changement de paradigme. C’est précisément là que les laboratoires sociaux offrent une approche prometteuse: Beyond Waste | Circular Resources Lab est un parcours expérimental de quatre mois (Sept - Dec 2018) qui consiste en un environnement d’apprentissage mixte, employant des technologies sociales empruntées à plusieurs approches dont Theory U. Au cours des quatre derniers mois, 21 participants ont appris à lâcher prise de leurs convictions obsolètes et de leurs jugements dans le but de s’ouvrir à de nouvelles façons de comprendre et d’aborder le gigantesque défi. En accédant à des ressources qui naissent d’un lien social, ils et elles ont formé quatre groupes autour de sujets spécifiques.

Quels sont les prototypes de solutions qui émergent de ce laboratoire? Un groupe propose de cultiver des communautés d’économie circulaires pour soutenir le changement individuel à travers un espace dédié. Un deuxième groupe développe des fertilisants biologiques pour les sols employant le substrat de champignons normalement jeté dans la production. Une troisième équipe développe un programme d’éducation dédié aux entrepreneurs de la construction sur les opportunités d’économie circulaire des matériaux. Une dernière équipe vise à intégrer le sujet de la circularité dans le système d’aide sociale afin de mobiliser le capital humain sous-utilisé.

Aujourd’hui, des politiciens et représentants du secteur public sont convoqués au Parc Scientifique de l’EPFL pour entendre ces solutions et discuter de la pertinence de soutien public pour les laboratoires sociaux en tant que nouveaux modèles de gouvernance to générer de l’innovation durable à travers une approche écosystémique.

Contact Beyond Waste | Circular Resources Lab :

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

Prof. Dr. rer. publ. HSG Darya Gerasimenko (Design, Facilitation & Research Lead), darya.gerasimenko@epfl.ch, darya.gerasimenko@unisg.ch, www.gerasimenko.ch, anglais et allemand