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.

Join the design revolution to enable Circular Economy

Imagine a world where every product was a service. A future of zero ownership. A future where all products were designed to last, to be reused, repaired and recycled keeping products and materials in the loop. It sounds amazing, right? This year LAUNCH invites up to 10 innovators to join a design revolution to help make Circular Economy a reality.

Cady Coleman

At the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) in Helsinki June 5th 2017, LAUNCH  partners will be announcing this year’s Innovation Challenge: Design & Manufacturing for a Circular Economy. We seek innovators globally with the potential to create a shift in the way we design and manufacture for a circular and inclusive society. We urge individuals, teams, start-ups and established companies and organisations to apply, and help us find the answers to this year’s challenge.

Joining us for the announcement of this years LAUNCH Innovation Challenge will be WCEF 2017 Keynote Speaker Dr. Cady Coleman, former NASA Astronaut and polymer chemist.

“Never before has international collaboration been more important to accelerate our transition to a more sustainable way of life on earth. I look forward to joining the World Circular Economy Forum in Helsinki to help connect businesses, governments, cities and innovators who are working to enable this transition”, says Dr. Cady Coleman, former NASA Astronaut.

This year LAUNCH offers up to 10 innovators the unique opportunity to join and get access to the LAUNCH network of industry pioneers, government, investors and previous innovators to collectively work to build and accelerate the innovations. This will include receiving personal mentoring and help to test, pilot and scale the innovations.

The LAUNCH partners look forward to this year’s innovators and their solutions and how they can help create new joint ventures and accelerate the circular economy even further:

Håkan Nordkvist IKEA opening

“At IKEA Group we want to play an active role in the transition to a circular economy. This year we are looking for innovators, disruptive ideas and fresh mindsets who can inspire the whole industry to design products and services for a circular economy”, says Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group.

One critical component in enabling a Circular Economy is that we start designing and manufacturing products in new ways. If products are to last, reused, repaired and recycled we need to empower designers and manufacturers to make better choices regarding materials, binders, coating and manufacturing technologies:

“New design and manufacturing processes are critical to accelerate the transition to a Circular Economy. At Novozymes we look forward to work with and help innovators from around the world, who can help inspire and lead this transition”, says Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability, Novozymes.

Vigga Svensson is a 2014 LAUNCH Nordic Innovator, who recently won the Design Design Award 2017 on best customer experience. Design is at the heart of her success and to this she says:

vigga svensson launch nordic

“To go from selling products to delivering a circular subscription service, you need to rethink how you design both the products, the customer journey and your service. I believe that rethinking design is at the heart of enabling Circular Economy and I hope that we see a lot of great innovators joining LAUNCH this year”, says Vigga Svensson, Founder, – LAUNCH Nordic Innovator 2014

Deadline for applications will be September 1, 2017. In October 2017 the top 10 innovations will be selected and participants will take part in a unique acceleration program that provides support, networking, and mentoring from influential businesses and government leaders.

“Circular Economy is on everybody’s lips these years. But action rather than talk and reports will drive the transition. That’s why I love working with pioneering partners and innovators through LAUNCH. I look forward to hosting this years LAUNCH Forum at Kvadrat in November where we will meet with the selected innovators and help them go to scale”, says Anders Byriel, CEO, Kvadrat

This year’s LAUNCH Innovation Challenge on Design & Manufacturing for Circular Economy will be announced June 5th at 15.00 (CET) at the WCEF in Helsinki (Finlandia Hall) and online at

Contact information

Download this press release as PDF – Press release LAUNCH Innovation Challenge 2017 For more information about LAUNCH or this year’s Innovation Challenges please contact Sofus Midtgaard, LAUNCH Nordic: +45 30220111 – or

For more about the participating LAUNCH partners and innovators please contact:
IKEA Group: Corporate Communications – +46 (0)72 886 57 81 or
Novozymes: Rene Tronborg:
Kvadrat: Alice Rasmussen: +45 8953 1862 or Peter R. Svensson:+45 22665595 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. In 2016, LAUNCH ran multiple challenges focusing on Food, Smarter Chemistry and on Closing the Loop.

LAUNCH Nordic is a partnership between IKEA Group, Novozymes, Kvadrat, Vinnova, The Capital Region of Denmark, Region Skåne, The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Danish Ministry of the Environment, and Malmö Stad.
Read more about LAUNCH Nordic at


Sustainable Build samler byggebranchen om bæredygtige innovationer og Cirkulær Økonomi

Kina har på tre år brugt mere beton end USA gjorde i hele forrige århundrede og frem mod 2050 vil antallet af folk der bor i byer stige med over 2,5 mia. Herhjemme udgør affald fra byggeri og anlæg f.eks. 45% af affaldet i Københavns Kommune. Det kræver radikal nytænkning i den måde vi designer, bygger, bruger og genanvender bygninger på.

Cirkulær økonomi er for alvor er kommet på den politiske dagsorden, og d. 26. januar tager 140 af byggebranchens centrale aktører det næsten skridt mod at accelerere den cirkulære udvikling i byggeriet. Det sker til Sustainable Build Summit, hvor deltagerne skal arbejde med konkrete cases og blive klogere på genanvendelse og genbrug af materialer i byggeriet. Samtidig lanceres årets innovationsudfordring, der kalder på alle danske og internationale innovatører med en god idé inden for årets emne, upcycling og recycling.

Innovationsprojektet Sustainanable Build samler hele den brede danske byggebranche for at udvikle nye konkrete løsninger, der kan løfte branchen i en mere bæredygtig retning. Projektet er godt i gang med sit andet år og til Summit d. 26. januar tager deltagerne næste skridt mod sammen at finde nye løsninger og hjælpe mindre virksomheder og iværksættere med at komme ind på markedet. Årets tema er upcycling og recycling i en cirkulær økonomi – et tema, der har mange øjne rettet mod sig for tiden fra både regeringen, EU og FN, der ser det som en vigtig del af den bæredygtige udvikling:

“Som investor vil vi gerne skabe byggeri, der giver værdi på lang sigt, som har fokus på energi og sundhed. Byggebranchen er den branche med størst belastning af miljøet, men vi kan ikke drive den bæredygtige udvikling alene. Derfor er samspil og mødet med branchen gennem initiativer som Sustainable Build meget værdifulde for at blive bedre på området. Her lærer vi både virksomheder og samarbejdspartnere at kende og får nogle meget konkrete ideer og input, som vi kan bruge direkte i vores egne udviklingsprojekter,” Marius Møller, ejendomsdirektør hos Pension Danmark og Founding Partner i Sustainable Build.

Sustainable Build Innovationsudfordring kridter banen for nye innovatører

SB DAY1 (27 Of 47) (1)

Potentialerne for Sustainable Build er store og bygger videre på stærke resultater fra sidste år. Her kom branchen frem til nye løsninger og hjalp 10 nye innovationer på vej. Flere af dem har lovende samarbejdsaftaler med projektets partnere og er godt på vej ud i branchen. Til Summit lanceres dette års innovationsudfordring, der igen indbyder danske og internationale innovatører til at deltage med deres gode idé og få mulighed for at skalere den og komme bredt ud i markedet.

>> Læs mere om Sustainable Builds innovatører fra 2016

Tiltag som Sustainable Build skaber bæredygtig udvikling


Sustainable Build samler en bred vifte af byggeriets parter. Både arkitekter, bygherrer, producenter og entreprenører, store som små, samles og skaber gennem dialog og intensivt arbejde konkrete, bæredygtige resultater, som branchen kan bruge med det samme.

“Der er flere barrierer på vej mod en mere bæredygtig og cirkulær byggebranche. Arkitekternes design dør ofte hos entreprenøren, der er presset af tid og mangler viden og tests til at løse usikkerheden omkring, hvorvidt nye produkter kan holde. Vi mangler en løsning på, hvordan vi hurtigst sikrer, at nye bæredygtige produkter får et løft, ligesom der mangler et overblik. Men det kræver, at branchen har mulighed for arbejde sammen om konkrete opgaver, og det tager Sustainable Build på sig”, Hanne Juel, strategisk udvikler i Region Midt og Founding Partner i Sustainable Build.

Om Sustainable Build
Sustainable Builder et samarbejde mellem Industriens Fond, Dansk Arkitektur Center og Grøn Omstillingsfond og er udviklet i samarbejde med Leaderlab. Sustainable Build realiseres i partnerskab med NCC, Region Midt, PensionDanmark, Henning Larsen Arkitekter, Tarkett, Flügger, Kebony, Outrup Vinduer, Frøslev Træ, Rheinzink, Junckers, Eurotag, Wienerberger, Xella, The Architecture Project, Lendager Arkitekter, GenieBelt, KALK, Connovate, Green Building Council, AY Arcgency, bips, Vugge til Vugge, Advanced Nonwoven, DAKOFA, Dansk Byggeri og Eksportrådet.

>> Læs mere om Sustainable Build her




This is exactly what three of this year’s six LAUNCH Nordic Innovators envisioned and are now working on making a reality. To help them succeed and scale, LAUNCH partners IKEA Group, Nike Inc., Novozymes, Kvadrat, as well as Leading Scientists, Investors, and Nordic Government Representatives will team up with the innovators in Malmö, Sweden, Dec. 1st.

Håkan Nordkvist IKEA Group

” We want to have a positive impact on people and the planet and that includes playing an active role in the transition to a circular economy. We are looking forward to meeting this year innovators with disruptive ideas and fresh mindsets who can help us on this journey. I’m looking forward to help and interact with this years six selected innovators.”

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group

Twitter chat with a NASA Astronaut

 The 6 innovators will participate in a live Twitter chat with NASA Astronaut and PhD in Chemistry Catherine “Cady” Coleman. It is possible to join the live chat with Coleman using the hashtags: #LAUNCHNordic #ClosingTheLoopWednesday November 30 from 16:30-17:00 CET – that’s 10:30am EST, 7:30am PST 

The 2016 Challenge

How do we create closed loop systems and material streams? How do we shift to new business models that support durable products and re-use? And how do we introduce new platforms that enable second life of products and materials?


These questions were at the center of this year’s LAUNCH Nordic Innovation Challenge that received 120 applications from innovators from 36 countries covering six continents around the world.



“Being partners in LAUNCH Nordic has been highly inspirational for us. We are looking forward to helping this year’s innovators, but we learn a lot from them as well. We look forward to share knowledge and hopefully find meaningful and relevant technologies and innovation suitable for co-investment.”

 Anders Byriel, CEO, Kvadrat

The 2016 Innovators

A panel of subject matter experts has carefully reviewed the applications. The LAUNCH Nordic partners selected the top 6 innovators who are invited to participate in the LAUNCH Nordic Forum in Malmö, Sweden.
The top 6 LAUNCH Nordic innovations 2016 are (in alphabetic order):

  • BioCellection: a biotech solution that uses bacteria to upcycle plastic. (US)
  • Globechain: a platform to connect businesses, charities and people to reuse unwanted items. (UK)
  • Infinited Fibre Company: a closed loop solution for the textile industry. (FI)
  • Kabadiwalla Connect: a system to help cities manage recyclable waste, by leveraging the informal waste ecosystem. (IN)
  • Shrilk: a biodegradable alternative to plastic that is inspired by the insect cuticle. (SI)
  • Queen of Raw: an online sustainable materials marketplace for suppliers and designers. (US)

The six LAUNCH Nordic innovators were selected based on their positive environmental or social impact potential. Their respective innovations have the potential to significantly increase sustainability in production, manufacturing, and recycling by introducing new types of materials, or alternative ways of using known materials, closing the loop and driving circular economy.

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


   “What is special about LAUNCH Nordic is the strong partnership between government, academia and industry. Public Private Partnerships is exactly what we need to help sustainable innovations get to scale. We look forward to help this year’s innovators and shape a more sustainable society.

   Claus Stig Pedersen, Senior Director, Sustainability, Novozymes.

At the LAUNCH Nordic Forum on December 1st, 35 industry executives, materials experts, government officials and investors will gather to offer insight and guidance to help scale the six innovations. The innovations represent new business models, platforms and technologies that all support the creation of an alternative supply chain and all demonstrate potential to disrupt the linear economy.
LAUNCH Nordic 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 Nordic aims to disrupt and capture the value of the circular economy and by scaling innovations and taking action.

LAUNCH Nordic Innovator Stephanie Benedetto comments on her expectations for the LAUNCH Nordic Forum:


“We are excited about the LAUNCH Nordic Forum.  It’s a unique opportunity to learn from and collaborate with some of the world’s leading organisations. Together we can scale our innovation and change the world!”

Stephanie Benedetto, co-founder Queen of Raw

 Following the LAUNCH Nordic Forum, innovators will take part in an accelerator program to help them bring their innovations to scale. Information and details about the other five innovators:






The LAUNCH Nordic Council participants include: Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group, Anders Byriel, CEO Kvadrat, Morten Elkjær Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mikkel Stenbæk, Deputy Head of Division, Danish EPA, Carin Daal, Head of Department, Region Skåne, Mike van der Zanden, Sustainability Director, Supply Chain Innovation Europe, Nike, – together with more than 25 other industry representative, entrepreneurs, scientist and investors. They will provide access to capital, credibility and capacity to help the ten innovators scale globally.


LAUNCH Nordic invites you to follow the hashtag #LAUNCHNordic on Thursday December 1, 2016. We encourage you to follow along and add your voice to the conversation using #LAUNCHNordic. The main Twitter handles for this event will be: @LAUNCHorg and @LAUNCHNordic

For more information on the challenge please go to:

For more information contact Nordic Lead, LAUNCH, Sofus Midtgaard: +45 30220111 – or

For more about LAUNCH Nordic partners please contact:



LAUNCH Nordic is a global innovation platform by: IKEA Group, Novozymes, and Kvadrat, as well as the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Danish Environmental Protection Agency, Region Skåne, Malmö Stad, VINNOVA, and The Capital Region of Denmark. LAUNCH Nordic was created in collaboration with LAUNCH founders NASA, NIKE, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) & The U.S. Department of State.

Meet LAUNCH Nordic Innovators at DIF!

difslideDisruptive Innovation Festival

Through a collaboration bestween LAUNCH Nordic and Ellen MacArthur Foundation three LAUNCH Nordic innovators will present their innovations at the Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF) November 17: 15:00-16:00 GMT. 

The LAUNCH Nordic innovators have responded to the 2016 innovation challenge:

How can we – through new types of closed loop solutions or recycling technologies – shape a more sustainable future of materials and manufacturing?

The three innovators who will participate in the webinar are:

  • Stephanie Benedetto
    Co-Founder of Queen of Raw:  an e-commerce platform connecting designers to suppliers of innovative raw materials.queen-of-raw-medium
  • Petri Alava
    Founder of Infinited Fiber Company: natural cellulosic textile fiber manufactured of post-consumer textile waste and paper waste.                                                                                                          
  • May Al-Karooni
    Founder of Globechain: a reuse platform that connects corporates to charities and smes within a supply chain network providing a waste and social impact audit to its members.

At the live Disruptive Innovation Festival, you can learn more about how their innovations address the question of what we need to know, experience and do in order to change the economy to a circular one.

The LAUNCH Nordic Innovation Challenge 2016 called for innovations with the potential to transform the system to a more sustainable society with focus on new types of closed loop solutions and recycling technologies. Innovations were selected based on their environmental and social impact, potential to scale, their business models, technologies and on the potential to create the shift towards closed loop systems and a circular economy.


LAUNCH Nordic is a global innovation platform that unites industry leaders and innovators to identify and scale sustainable innovations in materials.

LAUNCH Nordic was created in collaboration with LAUNCH, a strategic partnership between NIKE, NASA, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and The U.S. Department of State and Nordic partners IKEA, Novozymes, Kvadrat, The Danish Foreign Ministry (3GF), The Danish EPA and Region Skåne.

LAUNCH is focused on positively transforming the system of materials and manufacturing, which can have dramatic social, environmental and economic impacts on the world.

You will need to sign up for the Disruptive Innovation Festival to attend this event:



Let us help you drive transformational change!