Meet the 2018 LAUNCH Circular Innovators

Customers are sending a clear message – consumption patterns are changing, and changing quickly. But in order to truly shape a circular society, we need to mainstream these inspiring efforts. This year, LAUNCH has found 10 Innovators whose inspiring ideas are already moving communities across the world towards more circular and sustainable ways of living. Curious?

At LAUNCH we imagine a world where renting, leasing or subscribing to a service gives you access to better experiences, more customized products, or even saves you money. This has been at the core of this year’s LAUNCH Circular Innovation Challenge. We set out on a journey to find pioneering Innovators around the world that are engaging customers in the circular economy, and we received 125 amazing innovations from around the world representing 36 different countries.

Today, we are thrilled to announce the 2018 selected LAUNCH Circular Innovators:


“To help and inspire people to live within the limits of one planet and at the same time meet people’s needs and dreams is a main objective for IKEA. Circularity is the future of retailing and our way of fulfilling those objectives. We really look forward to meet this year’s selected creative and inspiring Innovators.”

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group


The LAUNCH Partners and the team have selected this year’s Innovators following an extensive review conducted by more than 35 professional experts from research organizations, government institutions, and global companies. Thank you to everyone involved in the whole process. It has been an amazing journey and we are honored to have received applications from such an inspiring group of Innovators from around the world.

What’s next for the Innovators?

Ready to help this year’s Innovators are investors, experts, and companies like IKEA, VF Corporation, Walmart, Novozymes, Kvadrat, Nature’s Path, Waste Management, Sympatex, and other leading global organizations. The selected Innovators and organizations will meet at the Forum on December 5-6, 2018 in Bentonville, Arkansas, with two preceding Innovator preparation days that will be jointly hosted by Waste Management and Walmart.

At the Forum, the Innovators will present and discuss their solution and Call to Action with around 35 industry executives, experts, government officials, and investors.

Everybody will be helping scale the innovations by offering expertise, mentorship, guidance to the innovators, access to market partners, and facilitate opportunities for investment. Following the Forum, Innovators will have an accelerator program with commitments that will help them bring their innovations to scale.

“We are witnessing a new generation that is ready to share more. A generation where experience and community play a big part in their life – more than the goods they purchase.  We are looking forward to engaging with and helping them do so with this years 10 LAUNCH Innovators.”

Barruch Ben-Zekry, Director – Sustainable Business Value, VF Corporation

Want to connect with the Innovators?

If anyone is interested in connecting with one of the selected Innovators or has inputs and ideas that can help them scale, please do not hesitate to reach out to Toke Sabroe from the LAUNCH Circular team at

Stay tuned!

This year, we will again be providing live updates from the Forum, so do not miss out! Make sure to connect with us on Facebook for live videos and interviews, and follow us on Twitter #launchcircular for highlights and a live Twitter conversation.

If you are curious about more information about the innovators, you can find more information at their website:


WOW! 125 innovators from 36 countries!

This year 125 innovators from 36 different countries have applied to become on of this year 10 LAUNCH Circular innovators. Thank you all for your help this year – and for your applications!

Since 2014 Leaderlab has been leading the LAUNCH Circular program on behalf of the partners.

This year we have been exited, thrilled and even a bit nervous about this year’s LAUNCH Circular challenge. Would there be enough innovators out there working with New Circular Business Models and Customer Engagement?

By the deadline September 1st we had received applications from 125 innovators from 36 countries. Are you curious about how we will select the top 10? Read more here

In the following video, Natasha Frank (LAUNCH Innovator 2017) explains what she have gained from being part of the LAUNCH community.

Read more about this years challenge here.


Project & Partnership Coordinator – an internship with purpose and impact

Leaderlab is on the lookout for a future sustainability leader to join our team in a ‘Project & Partnership Coordinator’ internship, for at least 3 months starting August-September 2018.


We are looking for a structured, ‘hands-on’ candidate who can help carry out planning, designing processes, event-management, communication, daily posting and editing of social media.

We expect that you are independent, has strong work ethics, a collaborative spirit and great communication skills.

As we work with Social & Environmental Sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and Circular Economy is essential that you have a personal interest and basic understanding about these fields.

Your specific graduate or post-graduate focus is of lesser importance, as we have previously had team members with backgrounds as varied as International Business and Politics, Sustainable Design and Political Science.

The key requirements are that you:

  • have a strong interest in sustainable development/environmental affairs
  • have the attention to details and deadlines necessary when working with top-tier brands, such as IKEA, Nike, Novozymes, eBay and more.
  • are able to work independently and take initiative, as well as work collaboratively within a very dynamic team setting
  • are quality oriented, well organised and take pride in delivering on your given responsibilities.
  • have experience with Office tools/Google docs, presentation tools (preferably Keynote), Social Media Channels (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram) and as a plus design tools (i.e. Photoshop, Indesign, etc).

Personality is just as important – so if you have ability to hit the ground running, have a great sense of humor and are a curious human being, then apply.

Picture from LAUNCH Forum 2016

Picture from LAUNCH Forum 2016


Your key responsibilities will be planning, projects/event-management, stakeholder relations and communication – including updating website and social media channels.

As our new intern, you will mainly be involved in LAUNCH, a partnership focusing helping innovators scale their solutions through collaboration with companies, investors, technical experts and government officials.

Your work will lead up towards the LAUNCH Forum 2018 that is the main activity and event in our yearly and global innovation challenge.

As an intern in Leaderlab you will be a part of a flat hierarchy in a company with a strong focus on social cohesion, trust, and equal opportunity. You will have ample opportunity for both acquiring new valuable competences , as well as for bringing your skillset and insights into action.

Picture from LAUNCH Forum 2016

Picture from LAUNCH Forum 2016


Leaderlab is a small but dynamic and globally connected organisation that offers a meaningful internship where you can make a real difference. Through the internship you will have the opportunity to build a unique international network with pioneering companies within sustainability. We are based in Copenhagen but operate globally.

We work with industry leaders and global pioneers within sustainnability.  We set high standards and have high expectations for all members of our teams. At the same time we prioritise socialising and having fun at work.

Our projects span areas such as sustainable materials and manufacturing, liveable and sustainable cities and buildings, sustainable and healthy food systems, circular design and more.



You will start August-September, and be with us for 3-6 months. We will be conducting interviews as applications come in, so don’t hesitate to apply at

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact Stine Kolding: +45 6016 6126 or Toke Falk Sabroe: +45 2213 1293.

Making Circularity Great Again

Tim Brooks LEGOHow do we accelerate the transition to a Circular Society?  And what role will customers, corporations, cities and governments play in realizing this vision?

This week, eBay hosted the LAUNCH Big Think on Customer Engagement and New Business Models, an opportunity for brands such as IKEA, LEGO, Apple, eBay, Interface, Dell, VF Corporation, Novozymes, Kvadrat and organisations like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and GreenBiz to come together to understand how we can collectively build a circular society. During the Big Think, Sofus Midtgaard, the Director of Circular at LAUNCH, caught up with a number of the Big Think attendees to gather their thoughts on this vital circular economy dialogue and on what it takes to achieve a truly Circular Society by 2030.

“If this group can come up with something that really sparks interest and gets people excited, that would be the biggest thing for me.” Barruch Ben-Zekry, Director of Sustainable Business Value at VF Corporation.

“If we can really answer a need or answer an innovation challenge for consumers, we’re onto a winner.” Tim Brooks, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility at LEGO Group.

“I think there are new conversations that are going to emerge, but ultimately this is just about something that’s better than a broken system that we’ve created.” Del Hudson, Head of US Operations at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

“I hope that we can get a variety of innovations ranging from technology to more social and legislative… To have a mix of that would be wonderful.” Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation at IKEA.

“We have to create these systems and these products and services that are just inherently better.” Mikhail Davis, Director of Restorative Enterprise at Interface.

“The opportunity to get that many companies in a room and to talk about the challenges in creating a Circular Society is always a great moment.” Chris Librie, Head of Global Impact and Giving at eBay.

To see more photos from the Big Think, visit the LAUNCH Flickr. For more on the LAUNCH Circular Movement, visit and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

What happens next?

All inputs given at the Big Think will be actively used over the coming months to form the Innovation Challenge along with further interviews to ensure a diverse representation of voices. By the end of April, we will send you a summary of all insights and the process. Until then, you can read more about the LAUNCH process and next steps in the booklet we sent to you previously this week (see page 12-13 and page 21).

Eight innovators with the potential to revolutionize the mobile, textile and furniture industry


This is exactly what three of this year’s eight selected LAUNCH Circular Innovators are now working on making a reality. To help them succeed and scale, LAUNCH partners IKEA Group, Nike Inc., Kvadrat, eBay, Novozymes, as well as leading companies, Scientists, Investors, and Government Representatives will team up with the innovators at Kvadrat HQ in Ebeltoft Denmark Nov. 29-30, 2017.

Anders Byriel Circular Economy

“This year’s LAUNCH innovators represent a new age of manufacturing for a circular economy. From innovations in textile dyeing to RFID threads, these companies inspire us at Kvadrat to continue to keep sustainability at the forefront of our decision making. I look forward to hosting this year’s LAUNCH Forum at Kvadrat’s HQ in Ebeltoft.”

Anders Byriel, CEO, Kvadrat

Here, 38 industry executives, design and manufacturing experts, government officials and investors will gather to offer insight and guidance to help scale eight selected innovations. The innovations represent new business models, platforms, technologies and even a new policy that all support the creation of an alternative supply chain and all demonstrate potential to disrupt the linear economy.

“We are constantly looking for new ideas and innovation that can help make our business more sustainable. I’m happy to see the large global interest in the LAUNCH program and look forward to working with new partners and this year’s 8 selected innovators with disruptive ideas and fresh mindsets.”

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group


Flemming Besenbacher, chairman of Carlsberg Group, the Carlsberg Foundation, deputy chairman of Innovation Fund  Denmark, and the Chairman of the Advisory Group on Circular Economy to the Danish Government will be joining the Forum too:

Flemming Besenbacher

“LAUNCH is a great example of how global companies, governments and investors can work with circular entrepreneurs and start-ups. I look forward to joining and speaking at the forum and meeting the partners and 8 selected innovators.”

Flemming Besenbacher, Chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation

The 2017 Challenge

How do we start to design and manufacture for a circular economy? How do we shift to new business models that support durable products and re-use? These questions have been at the centre of this year’s LAUNCH Innovation Challenge on Design & Manufacturing for a Circular Economy that received 112 applications from innovators from 39 countries covering six continents.

The Innovators

Through a careful review process by a panel of 42 subject matter experts, 8 innovators were selected and invited to participate in the LAUNCH Forum at Kvadrats HQ this year, each based on their positive environmental or social impact potential. Their respective innovations have the potential to significantly shape a more sustainable future of design and manufacturing for a circular economy.

Ranging from start-ups to established companies, the selected innovators will present their ideas and technologies to the LAUNCH Council that is comprised of leading global companies, ministries and research institutions.

The top 8 LAUNCH innovations 2017 are:

  • AEROPOWDER – A sustainable insulation material created from waste feathers
  • Circular Devices – PuzzlePhone is a modular smartphone designed for longevity and circularity; it is customizable, repairable, and upgradable
  • Colorifix – Converting agricultural residues into pigments and dyed textiles using no acids or solvents – just sugar and biology
  • EON – The industry’s first RFID tag in the form of a thread that can integrate with textiles to power recycling
  • Living Ink Technologies – Making renewable and biodegradable printing ink from algae
  • Recircular – A brokering platform that proposes alternatives for a given waste stream and connects the generator with potential consumers
  • StrataLayer – Modular build furniture that changes according to life scenarios
  • University College, London – A new policy that companies only sell the lifetime services of their products but retain ownership of the materials

LAUNCH Innovator Alejandro Santacreu comments on his expectations for the LAUNCH Forum:

“We are eager to discuss with public bodies and conscious corporates how our vision on how Designing for Longevity enables the re-shoring of critical IT solutions, and how this impacts on national security in its most broader definition, beyond privacy and up securing long term welfare.”

Alejandro Santacreu, Founder, Puzzlephone and LAUNCH Innovator 2017

LAUNCH Innovator Natasha Frank is also excited about working with industry pioneers:

Natasha Frank EON.ID LAUNCH Innovator 2017

“A circular fashion industry requires industry wide-collaboration across technology and material science. Our technology and concept is a piece of this ecosystem. The industry partnerships through LAUNCH present an opportunity to move this concept from success to significance.”

Natasha Frank, Founder EON.ID, and LAUNCH Innovator 2017

LAUNCH Circular seeks to scale innovations that can play a crucial role in market evolution by exploring how businesses and alternative solutions use the circular economy to drive opportunities across complex global supply chains. Together with the innovators LAUNCH aims to disrupt and capture the value of the circular economy and by scaling innovations and taking action.

Following the LAUNCH Forum, innovators will take part in an accelerator program to help them bring their innovations to scale.
The LAUNCH Council participants include: Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group, Anders Byriel, CEO, Kvadrat, Mike van der Zanden, Sustainability Director, Supply Chain Innovation Europe, Nike, Ben Maxwell, Circular Economy Lead, eBay, Markus Stutz, Director Environmental Affairs, Dell, Mikkel Stenbæk, Deputy Head of Division, Danish EPA, – together with more than 25 other industry representative, entrepreneurs, scientist and investors. They will provide access to capital, credibility and capacity to help the eight innovators scale globally.

This year, we will be providing live updates from the Forum, so do not miss out! Make sure to connect with us on Facebook for live videos and interviews, and follow us on Twitter with the hashtag #LAUNCHCircular for highlights. We encourage you to follow along and add your voice to the conversation using #LAUNCHCircular.

For more information on this years LAUNCH Challenge on Design & Manufacturing for a Circular Economy please watch this years call for innovators:

For more information on the challenge please watch this years call for innovators:

For more information contact Director, LAUNCH Circular, Sofus Midtgaard: +45 30220111 – or


LAUNCH was founded in 2009 as a strategic partnership between NASA, NIKE, Inc., the US Department of State, and the US Agency for International Development. LAUNCH identifies and supports visionaries whose ideas, technologies, or programs have the potential to create a better world. Through a series of meetings, events, and an annual forum, LAUNCH has successfully introduced innovations that are solving urgent challenges facing our society today.

Since its founding, LAUNCH has attracted numerous additional strategic partners and supporters including IKEA Group, Novozymes, Kvadrat, eBay, Region Skåne, The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Danish EPA.


Let us help you drive transformational change!