Kicking off #UNLEASHLAB2017 with 900+ SDG talents

During this week, 900+ SDG talents from around the world joined #UNLEASHLAB2017 in order to solve 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Leaderlab and Workz proudly worked alongside for the kick-off event on August 13th in Copenhagen.


In August 2017, the first UNLEASH event is held when talents from all over the world come to Denmark for nine days to create real, scalable solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals. UNLEASH is supported by a number of Danish and international companies, 15 Danish foundations and even more international foundations. As such, it has over 200 global partnerships with some of the world’s leading institutions, organizations and NGOs. The executive partners are Carlsberg Foundation, Dalberg, Danish Industry, Deloitte, the Folk High Schools and UNDP.

The goal is that UNLEASH will be an annual event that travels to a new country every year and develops new solutions to our SDGs. The plan is that next year’s UNLEASH will be held in Silicon Valley, then in Singapore, Mumbai and finally in New York in 2030.

Kick-offing of the SDGs

August 13th, the purpose of the day were to bring people together across nation, professional and personal background. The talents were then welcomed by Flemming Besenbacher, Chairman of UNLEASH and President for the Danish Governmental Circular Economy Advisory Board.

We then started the afternoon by doing an icebreaker in order to visualize the diversity and similarities of the talents. Next, we facilitated a case challenge that had the purpose of preparing the talents for the challenging week they had ahead of them. The 7 SDG tracks each had a challenge that various companies wanted the talents to solve. The cases where:

The kick-off became a huge success with lots of energy and enthusiasm in the room. We can’t wait to hear what solutions are presented during this weekend in Aarhus.

The LAUNCH Family and Our Innovators: What Are the Benefits?

At LAUNCH we are currently reaching out to communities, companies, academia, networks/hubs, incubator, accelerators, embassies and municipalities all around the world to find up to 10 innovators that should be part of the new generation of circular innovators. This year’s theme is ‘Design and Manufacturing for a Circular Economy’, and we encourage everybody with an innovation that is anywhere between pilot-stage and ready-for-market to apply.

However, are you unsure of what happens after you have applied? There are many who are curious what happens if their innovation is chosen to be in our top group. In the following you will learn why dozens of innovators have joined our ecosystem and the benefits they have received.


How does the LAUNCH program work?

As a LAUNCH Innovator you will get access to a world class network of investors, pioneering companies and mentors from our LAUNCH partners IKEA, NIKE, EBAY, Novozymes, Kvadrat and other leading global organizations, who are all ready to help scale your innovation. This network of industry professionals know what it takes for innovations to succeed and achieve sustainable growth.

The first step is submitting a very easy application via our online submission page. In this application you will have the opportunity to briefly explain your innovation, its sustainability impact, and your motivation for applying. After the deadline, our team of expert reviewers help us determine which innovations are most relevant and potentially disruptive for a shift towards a more circular economy. Once these subject matter experts have helped us narrow down the numbers we conduct phone interviews to dive deeper into those selected innovations.

Next, we invite the top innovators to join our LAUNCH community. The selected innovators are invited to attend this year’s LAUNCH Nordic Forum at Kvadrat’s Headquaters in Ebeltoft, Denmark on November 29-30, 2017. Here they will get the opportunity to present and discuss their solutions with 35 industry executives, circular economy and materials experts, government officials and investors. These “council members” have agreed to contribute their expertise, insight, guidance to our innovators, making commitments wherever possible. The council members will help in creating access to new markets, networks, testing, or resources that can help grow and scale the innovators’ solutions.

Finally, following the LAUNCH Nordic Forum, innovators will take part in an accelerator program to help them bring their innovations to scale. The innovators will receive an action plan tailored for their specific company and needs. This action plan includes each council members’ commitments and suggestions to help our innovators – the progress of each plan is checked on a continuous basis by the LAUNCH team.

In the following two videos, Vigga Svensson (LAUNCH Innovator 2014) and Siddharth Hande (LAUNCH Innovator 2016) are interviewed at the World Circular Economy Forum 2017 about what they have gained from being part of the LAUNCH community.

Vigga Svensson, CEO and founder of VIGGA.US was a 2014 Innovator and she is still participating in the LAUNCH ecosystem. In the video she elaborates on what she has gained and still gains from being part of the LAUNCH ecosystem. 

Siddharth Hande, founder of from Kabadiwalla Connect became one of the 2016 Innovators, and in the following video he elaborates on what he has learned and achieved through the LAUNCH ecosystem. 


The LAUNCH Community

The unique thing about the LAUNCH innovation challenges is that once you have been selected as a top innovator, you will always be an important part of the community. For example, the LAUNCH community of circular innovators, partners, leading researchers and business executives met this spring at the Circular Innovation Summit at Nike’s headquarter in Portland on March 3, 2017. Fifteen past and present LAUNCH innovators were selected to participate in the Summit. They discussed how to find ways to be more efficient, effective, and economically viable with the limited resources on planet Earth and also discussed some of the key systems changes that are needed to drive circular solutions. You can read more about the event here.

Want to Join?


Then apply for this year’s LAUNCH Innovation Challenge on ‘Design and Manufacturing for a Circular Economy’!

For more information on the challenge, please visit the ‘Design and Manufacturing for a Circular Economy’ challenge website or contact LAUNCH Nordic at

Global Call for Innovators in Design and Manufacturing for a Circular Economy

The LAUNCH Nordic Innovation Challenge 2017 is now open and we are seeking innovators around the world with the potential to create a shift in the way we design and manufacture for a circular and inclusive society. The goal of this challenge is to help accelerate these innovators’ businesses, so we are looking for innovations that are anywhere from pilot-stage to ready-for-market.

This year, LAUNCH Nordic invites up to 10 innovators to join a design revolution to help grow the circular economy. So this is your unique opportunity to join and gain access to the LAUNCH eco-system of industry pioneers, government, investors and previous innovators to collectively work to build and accelerate your innovation. This will include receiving personal mentoring and help to test, pilot and scale.

We urge innovators to apply as soon as possible, but final deadline for applications will be September 1, 2017. In October 2017 the top 10 innovations will be selected and participants will take part in this unique acceleration program. Submit your innovation via our website today.

At the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) in Helsinki on June 5th 2017, LAUNCH partners announced this year’s Innovation Challenge: Design & Manufacturing for a Circular Economy. As part of the announcement, we had a session together with Erik Zappalorto from Nesta and Erik Bang from H&M Foundation about how innovation challenges can help accelerate the circular economy. The room was filled with people who engaged themselves in the discussion and helped us spread the innovation challenge by nominating innovators and networks for us to spread the message. We are currently reaching out to these nominations and still searching for more in hopes of finding the most impactful innovations.

Please help us spread the message by following us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and sharing our updates with your network. You are also welcome to email us at and receive further information on how to spread the message.

If you have questions about this year’s innovation challenge or know of an innovator that should apply please contact the LAUNCH Nordic team at



LAUNCH Nordic is a partnership between IKEA GroupNovozymesKvadratThe Danish Ministry of Foreign AffairsThe Danish Environmental Protection Agency and Region Skåne. LAUNCH Nordic seeks to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable society through open innovation, industry collaboration, and global systems mobilization. It was founded in 2014 in collaboration with LAUNCH, a strategic partnership between NIKE, NASA, The U.S. Department of State and The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with the goal of harnessing the strengths of the Nordic region to accelerate innovation in sustainable materials.

Read more about LAUNCH Nordic at

SUSTAINABLE BUILD er klar med årets 8 innovatører

Kommer robotter og open-source teknologi til at revolutionere bæredygtigt byggeri? Otte bæredygtige innovationer, står klar til at møde topfolk fra hele den danske byggebranche for at få rådgivning og sparring til, hvordan de skal komme ind på markedet og revolutionere branchen.

Over to dage, d. 31. maj og 1. juni, skal otte udvalgte innovatører vise deres løsninger frem foran et panel af bygherrer, arkitekter, producenter, investorer og andre kompetente topfolk fra den danske byggebranche. Det sker til arrangementet Accelerator Forum, hvor alle involverede skal bidrage til at revolutionere branchen og skabe vækst inden for bæredygtigt byggeri. De to dage er kulminationen på årets arbejde i projektet SUSTAINABLE BUILD. Målet er at øge genanvendelsen af materialer, komponenter og bygninger samt styrke vækst inden for bæredygtigt byggeri:

“Dansk design og byggeri er kendt for høj kvalitet og stærke kompetencer inden for miljø og bæredygtighed. Styrkes denne position yderligere, så står danske virksomheder endnu stærkere i den internationale konkurrence og kan gøre sig gældende på det voksende globale marked for bæredygtige produkter og løsninger i byggeriet,” siger Mads Lebech, adm. direktør i Industriens Fond, der har støttet SUSTAINABLE BUILD med næsten seks millioner kroner i forbindelse med fondens særlige tema om bæredygtig produktion.

Stærkt innovatørfelt

De otte udvalgte innovatører kommer med alt fra robotter, som sænker brugen af beton i byggeriet, til digitale platforme, som sammenligner byggerier og produkters bæredygtighed. De er udvalgt fra et bredt ansøgerfelt med ansøgninger fra 11 forskellige lande. Fire af de udvalgte innovatører er danske, tre er hollandske og en er britisk. Sidstnævnte er WikiHouse, som er et open source bygningssystem:

”WikiHouse er et open source-projekt, der er rettet mod at genopfinde den måde, vi bygger i dag. Vi har skabt en platform, hvor arkitekter, designere, ingeniører, opfindere, producenter og bygherrer sammen kan være med til at skabe nye bæredygtige og effektive byggestandarder. Løsningerne er til rådighed for alle, og målet er, at de skal blive til nye industristandarder og være med til at forbedre byggeprocesser universalt”, siger Alastair Parvin, der er grundlægger af WikiHouse.

En anden af årets innovatører er danske Odico, som arbejder med at reducere mængden af ressourcer ved at optimere måden, hvorpå vi fremstiller bygningskonstruktioner:

”Vi har udviklet en robotstyret fremstillingsmetode til at lave betonkonstruktioner, der er mere end 15 gange hurtigere end eksisterende produktionsmetoder. Hvis metoden bliver anvendt, vil CO2-belastningen blive kraftigt reduceret”, siger Anders Bundsgaard, CEO, Odico.

Mød alle otte Sustainable Build 2017 innovatører her

Til Accelerator Forum får innovatørerne faglig sparring fra eksperter og beslutningstagere på tværs af byggeriets værdikæde. For innovatørerne handler det om at få hjælp til at skalere deres innovation, få deres første pilotprojekt og få skabt samarbejder med SUSTAINABLE BUILDs partnere:

”Det har været fantastisk at stifte bekendtskab med den nytænkning og innovationskraft, der spirer frem i byggesektoren, og jeg glæder mig til den videre proces. Det er et stærkt et felt af innovatører, der er udvalgt, og deres løsninger skal ud og bruges på byggepladserne. Jeg drømmer om at vi de kommende år får bygget nogle flere fyrtårnprojekter, der kan inspirere nationalt og internationalt. Med dette års nye innovatører i SUSTAINABLE BUILD får vi udvidet mulighedsfeltet”, siger Signe Kongebro, partner og chef for bæredygtighed hos Henning Larsen Architects.

”Der skal i de kommende år bygges rigtig mange nye boliger og bofællesskaber til unge, børnefamilier og ældre i nærheden af de større byer. Vi er, som pensionsselskab, altid interesseret i, hvordan man kan få skabt og forenet livskvalitet og bæredygtighed med kommercielt attraktive projekter”, siger Torben Möger Pedersen, adm. direktør, Pension Danmark.

Innovationerne får både hjælp fra store og små aktører fra branchen, der selv har erfaring med at bryde igennem med nye innovationer som mindre virksomheder:

”Som iværksætter kender vi selv til de udfordringer, der kan være for at bryde igennem med nye løsninger og idéer i en stor branche. I SUSTAINABLE BUILD får innovatørerne mulighed for både at få rådgivning fra større aktører og kan høste af vores erfaringer med markedet som iværksættere. Samtidig får vi mulighed for at få indblik i nye danske og internationale løsninger, der er med til at gentænke branchen og skabe nye bæredygtige løsninger”, siger Flemming Werk, COO, Advance Nonwoven.

 Bæredygtigt byggeri skal løftes på tværs af branchen

Det er netop behovet for nye løsninger og samarbejder på tværs af branchen, der har fået Industriens Fond til at samle aktørerne i SUSTAINABLE BUILD. For at kunne løse de udfordringer, byggebranchen står overfor og føre byggeriet i en mere bæredygtig retning, må branchen være fælles om udviklingen:

”Der er brug for modige og kreative mennesker, der tør udfordre og gentænke vores måde at producere og forbruge på. I SUSTAINABLE BUILD bliver der bygget vigtige broer mellem det nye og det etablerede. Opfindere og mindre virksomheder får mulighed for at præsentere nye produkter og processer for etablerede virksomheder, og byggebranchen får input til at forny deres virksomhed – til gavn for forretningen og miljøet”, siger Bent Hansen, regionsformand, Region Midtjylland

”En af hjørnestenene i SUSTAINABLE BUILD er, at hele branchen er samlet under samme tag. Arkitekter, designere, leverandører, entreprenører, kunder og investorer er med, og der er både etablerede aktører og mindre nystartede virksomheder i blandt. Byggeriets bæredygtige udvikling skal løftes i flok, på tværs af værdikæden og med både store og små aktører, og i SUSTAINABLE BUILD ser vi, hvordan det netop bærer frugt for branchen” siger Kent Matinussen, adm. direktør i Dansk Arkitektur Center, om projektet, der både har deltagelse af virksomheder som Abeo, Connovate og Frøslev Træ, men også større aktører som Henning Larsen Architects, NCC, PensionDanmark, Region Midtjylland og Tarkett.

SUSTAINABLE BUILD samler over 30 forskellige aktører til udvikling og skalering af nye løsninger inden for byggeriet. Accelerator Forum, der afholdes på Godsbanen i Århus, er kulminationen af foreløbigt to års arbejde, hvor partnerne både er med til at skalere de udvalgte innovatører og selv udvikler nye løsninger på nogle af byggeriets centrale udfordringer.


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