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



Collaboration and partnerships play a critical role when companies, governments and cities wish to drive sustainable growth. But establishing and running partnerships is a new leadership dicipline. Leaderlab Founder & Managing Partner Sofus Midtgaard was in Istanbul this week to give a keynote on the topic.

In a 2015 survey by MIT Sloan Management Review, The Boston Consulting Group and the United Nations Global Compact, 90% of executives state that collaboration is important to address sustainability challenges while only 47% are actively engaged in sustainability collaboration and partnerships.

Over the last five years partnerships to drive sustainable growth have become increasingly important. Systemic challenges – i.e. unaware investors, disengaged citizens, lack of enabling policy or introduction of new standards throughout a supply chain – are all issues that no-one company can address on its own.

With the Sustainable Development Goals it was outlined that multi-stakeholder partnerships are fundamentally necessary and should encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships.

Paul Polman

“When you look at any issue, such as food or water scarcity, it is very clear that no individual institution, government or company can provide the solution”

Poul Polman, CEO, UNILEVER

Collaboration and partnerships play a critical role in addressing systemic barriers, driving collaborative innovation and sharing risk. But like most complex projects, partnerships have a failure rate of about 50 % (Harvard Business Review, 2004). Here are 10 rules for successful sustainability partnerships that will help you avoid the most common pitfalls and help you build partnerships that last and will drive change.

Cyrus Wadia opening Summit Nike HQ

Cyrus Wadia opening Summit Nike HQ

”These are massive problems of scale. they are going to require an ecosystem of thinkers and solvers and creative minds.”

Cyrus Wadia, VP, Nike


Haakan Nordkvist, IKEA opening the LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit at Nike HQ

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation IKEA Group.

“Collaboration can bring great results, for example we work closely with Nike to pioneer new techniques for textile dyeing that dramatically reduce the use of water, energy and chemicals”

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group


Here are the slides from the presentation:



10 Rules for Sustainability Partnerships




Partnerships should make you able to achieve something you can not achieve on your own. Partnerships should never be the parking lot for difficult CSR-agendas better solved alone


sweet-spot2. FIND THE SWEET SPOT

Senior leadership support might give you a head start – but unless you find a sweet spot for the participating managers you will fail. Make sure to find a sweet spot/overlap between core strategic priorities of the partners.




Many stakeholders often result in cluttered goals and reporting. Agree on a moonshot, or at least set a few but ambitious goals, that will aspire people for change.



No partnership can run on money alone. Only by leaning in you will harvest the real benefits of a partnership.





You can prepare, make strategies and plans – but in the end it always comes down to people. A partnership needs champions who would die in a ditch for what the partnership is trying to achieve.





If a partnership is strategic, staff it like it is strategic! Include people from relevant business units – not just the CSR department.




Unconventional partners will bring new perspectives and spur innovation. Watch out for the usual suspects when forming partnerships.




Some of the most effective partnerships are the ones that map, connect and embrace existing initiatives – rather than conquer them. This is especially true when it comes to systemic challenges.



Even a focused partnership with few and clear goals will produce unexpected value for partners. Be open for surprises and calibrate your measures of success.




You can achieve amazing things if you are able to step back and let other people step into the limelight.


Haakan Nordkvist, IKEA ad Cyrus Wadia, Nike

Haakan Nordkvist, IKEA and Cyrus Wadia, Nike on stage at LAUNCH CIRCULAR INNOVATION SUMMIT, March 2017.

Up to 50% of all partnerships fail to deliver value and are terminated before time (HBR, 2004). Try to think about these 10 rules in relation to your existing partnerships or next time you consider entering a new partnership.

If you have reflections or suggestions to this list please feel free to contact us.  If you need help shaping a new partnership, mapping potential partners or focusing and energizing an existing partnership, do not hesitate on contact us:

Sofus Midtgaard, Managing Partner & Toke Sabroe, Partner, Leaderlab.

Communication & Social Media Internship

The Internship

Leaderlab is offering a three to six months Communication and Social Media Internship with start 1st Feb., 15 March  or 1st September  2017. As an intern at Leaderlab you will be part of driving a US-Nordic sustainability partnership LAUNCH Nordic between IKEA, Novozymes, Kvadrat, Nordic Ministries and US partners Nike, NASA, USAID, U.S. State Department among others. In addition you will be involved in other partnerships and help plan and handle the execution of events.

The organisation

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 operate globally but most activities and the primary workspace will be in Copenhagen/Greater Copenhagen Area.

Your profile

We are looking for a structured, ‘hands-on’ profile who can help carry out communication, daily posting and editing of social media. Someone who is smart, independent has a strong work ethic, 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.

We expect that you:

  • Are a good and structured organizer, who can work independently and get things done
  • Are a strong communicator with a fluent English.
  • Are a problem-solver with a positive approach to things
  • Have experience using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and have an active LinkedIn profile
  • Are familiar with Excel and Google Docs/sheets
  • Experience with WordPress is a plus

We only accept 3-6 month interns and we expect that you will be joining min. 30 hours a week. The Internship is unpaid.

If you fit the profile please send your CV and cover letter to:

If you have questions feel free to contact, Project Manager Ole Høy Jakobsen: or +45 22920764 for more information.

We will evaluate the received applications on an ongoing basis, and close for applications once the right Intern is found, so apply rather sooner than later.


LAUNCH Nordic: Closing the Loop – how do we create a more sustainable society?

Imagine a world where instead of owning everything you leased it. We know it sounds a bit crazy. But what if it wasn’t! What if it was the birth of a sustainability revolution where waste is turned into resources and kept out of landfill? What if it was the starting point of an age keeping products and materials in the loop? An age of products designed to last, be repaired, to be disassembled and to be recycled…

Everybody’s talking about the potentials in the Circular Economy. But how do we create closed loop systems and material streams? How do we design and manufacture for disassembly and recycling? And how do we shift to new business models that stimulate the design of durable products and re-use?

These questions are at the center of this year’s LAUNCH Nordic Innovation Challenge. IKEA, Novozymes, Kvadrat and several Nordic Ministries and public institutions have joined forces to accelerate a more circular economy.


“We are working to make our whole product range more sustainable, including playing an active role in the transition to a circular economy. We are looking for innovators with disruptive ideas and fresh mindsets who can help us on this journey. I’m looking forward to help select and interact with this years five selected innovators.”

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group

This year LAUNCH Nordic offer five selected innovators the opportunity to join a coalition of companies, government institution and innovators, committed to accelerate the shift to a circular economy. We are looking for game changing ideas and innovations for this year’s challenge: Closed Loop Solutions and Recycling Technologies.


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

Claus Stig Pedersen, Senior Director, Sustainability, Novozymes.

The LAUNCH Nordic challenge 2016 is open to individuals and teams, start-ups and established companies. Deadline for applications will be September 1, 2016. In October 2016 the top 5 innovations will be selected and the teams will take part in a unique program that provides support, networking, and mentoring from influential business and government leaders.


“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

LAUNCH Nordic will search for innovations with the potential to go to scale globally, as well as game‐changing early stage technologies and prototypes. Innovations can be business models, design tools, materials, manufacturing processes, technologies or systems or programs that have the potentials to shape a more sustainable society.

“Region Skåne is a partner in LAUNCH Nordic because of the strong commitment from both Nordic and Global partners like IKEA, Nozozymes, Kvadrat, Nike, USAID and U.S. State Department. LAUNCH Nordic offers a unique platform to identify and collectively scale innovations with a positive impact of people and society.”

Carin Dahl, Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Region Skåne

Vigga Svensson – a 2014 LAUNCH Nordic Innovator, who herself is pioneering circular economy with her start-up – delivering subscription based baby-clothing says the following:


“I hope a lot of great innovators from around the world with ideas to accelerate the shift to a more circular and sustainable world will apply.

Vigga Svensson, Founder, Vigga.US – and LAUNCH Nordic Innovator 2014

For more information about LAUNCH Nordic and this years Innovation Challenge on Closed Loop Systems & Recycling Technologies please read the full challenge here contact Sofus Midtgaard, LAUNCH Nordic: +45 30220111 – or For more about LAUNCH Nordic partners please contact:


– IKEA Group: Jamie Rusby:
– Novozymes: Debbie Spillane:
– Kvadrat: Anders Byriel:
– Vigga.US: Peter R. Svensson: +45 22665595


LAUNCH Nordic is a global innovation platform by: IKEA Group, Novozymes, and Kvadrat, as well as the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF), The Danish EPA and Region Skåne. 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.

Relevant information

The challenge is available at the LAUNCH Nordic website:




Hvordan sætter vi tryk på bæredygtigt byggeri og eksport?

Byggeri spiller en afgørende rolle for miljø, sundhed og produktivitet både i Danmark og globalt. På den baggrund samles den danske byggebranche og 10 innovatører 8-9. juni 2016 til Sustainable Build Accelerator Forum for at sætte tryk på bæredygtige innovationer i byggeriet.

Over to dage skal ti udvalgte innovatører vise deres konkrete løsninger frem foran et panel af bygherrer, investorer, arkitekter, producenter og andre kompetente fagfolk. De ti innovatører får hjælp til at skalere deres innovation og mulighed for at lande nye samarbejdsaftaler. De to innovationsdage løber af stablen d. 8. og den 9. juni på Carlsberg Akademi.

Det er kulminationen på årets arbejde i projektet SUSTAINABLE BUILD, hvor byggebranchen fik til opgave at identificere udfordringer og vækstpotentialer inden for bæredygtigt byggeri. Målsætningen er at skabe vækst inden for bæredygtigt byggeri gennem samarbejde og innovation.


”Markedet for bæredygtigt byggeri og bæredygtige byggematerialer er stort og voksende – og dermed interessant for danske virksomheder. Branchens aktører er imidlertid meget afhængige af hinanden, når der skal innoveres, eftersom nye materialer, produkter og løsninger skal kunne fungere sammen på tværs af branchen. De kan derfor have svært ved at skabe innovation alene. Målsætningen med SUSTAINABLE BUILD er derfor, at samle branchen og øge innovationen, videndelingen og væksten på tværs af byggebranchen,siger Mads Lebech, adm. direktør i Industriens Fond.



”Da vi i Region Midtjylland blev spurgt, om vi ville være partnere i SUSTAINABLE BUILD, var vi ikke i tvivl. Byggeriet er et at de meget vigtige områder i den grønne omstilling – i Europa står byggeriet for 40 procent af det samlede forbrug af energi og materialer! I mange tilfælde kan vi som bygherre spare penge, hvis vi tænker os godt om og arbejder helhedsorienteret for at løse flere udfordringer på en gang. Og så skader det jo ikke at vi forhåbentligt samtidig kan styrke væksten blandt en række virksomheder med miljørigtige og sunde produkter,“ siger Bent Hansen, Regionformand, Region Midtjylland.

Alt fra naturlig maling til vægbeklædning fremstillet af tøjaffald

De ti innovationer er udvalgt på baggrund af året innovation challenge:


De ti innovationer spænder vidt: fra spiseligt naturlig maling til vægbeklædning fremstillet af tøjaffald, formaldehydfri lim og vinduer, der automatisk åbner for ventilation med forvarmet luft og sikrer godt indeklima – uden at bruge strøm. De 10 innovationer har deltaget i årets Innovation Challenge sammen med et stærkt felt af 57 innovationer og er udvalgt af SUSTAINABLE BUILDs styregruppe og partnere.

DE 10 udvalgte innovatører er er:


”Det er en god idé at kigge på de små udviklingsvirksomheder i Danmark, når man skal finde de nye innovationer i byggeriet. Det er en stærk arbejdsdeling, at nytænkningen opspores hos græsrødderne og skaleringen kommer fra os, der har fået ansvaret af samfundet for at udvikle- og bygge bæredygtigt. Det er et ansvar vi ta’r på os, og samtidigt skal virkeliggøre i et marked, der er under store omvæltninger og presser os for blive mere produktive. Sustainable Build er derfor et udviklingspartnerskab der skærper og fremskynder branchens bæredygtige produktion og konkurrencekraft til fælles glæde”, siger Martin Manthorpe, strategidirektør, NCC.

Signe Kongebro

“Et af vores mål med at være med i projektet var at opnå konkrete og målbare resultater. Det er nødvendigt, hvis vi også skal se en effekt af det i branchen. Det føler jeg vi er godt på vej til at opnå med resultatet fra innovationsudfordringen, og nu gælder det om også at implementere dem i branchen og lade os inspirere af de innovative løsninger. For der er brug for innovation i branchen, særligt hvis vi skal tænke mere bæredygtigt, og det er der et stort behov for, at vi gør,” siger Signe Kongebro, partner og chef for bæredygtighed hos Henning Larsen Architects.

Alliancer på tværs af branchen

Partnere bag projektet inkluderer alt fra Henning Larsen Architects, NCC, Region Midt, PensionDanmark og Tarkett og branchen er således bredt repræsenteret. Partnerne har i samarbejde med et bredt udsnit af byggebranchen samlet tre Task Forces, som har arbejdet med konkrete indsatser og løsninger for øget bæredygtigt byggeri. De tre Task Forces har arbejdet med udbuds- og samarbejdsprocesser, materialeviden og sporbarhed, samt sundhed og indeklima. Resultaterne af deres arbejde bliver præsenteret på Accelerator Forum sammen med de 10 udvalgte innovatører.

”Med støtte fra Industriens Fond og projektets partnere har vi samlet byggebranchen og sat fokus på innovation og vækst inden for bæredygtigt byggeri. Det er inspirerende at opleve engagementet fra projektets partnere, såvel som de over 200 involverede deltagere i projektets workshops og arbejdsgrupper. Ser vi alene på vores innovationsudfordring fik vi 57 innovationer fra 11 forskellige lande. Det viser, at vi er nået bredt ud i branchen og har fået engageret en lang række forskellige aktører”, udtaler Mikkel Kragh, programchef for BUILD hos Dansk Arkitektur Center.

Sofus Midtgaard

“Der ligger en kæmpe uudnyttet potentiale for vækst i bæredygtigt byggeri – både herhjemme og i udlandet. Men det kræver at vi samler aktører på tværs af værdikæden omkring at fjerne barrierer og skabe rammerne for mere bæredygtigt byggeri. Her spiller vores 10 innovatører en afgørende rolle. Jeg glæder mig til at se hvad vi kan udrette de kommende dage og måneder.” siger Sofus Midtgaard, Managing Partner, Leaderlab

SUSTAINABLE BUILD er et samarbejde mellem Industriens Fond, Dansk Arkitektur Center og Grøn Omstillingsfond og er udviklet i samarbejde med Leaderlab. Projektet udspringer af Industriens Fonds temaindkaldelse om bæredygtig produktion. SUSTAINABLE BUILD realiseres i tæt samspil med byggebranchens leverandører, bygherrer, virksomheder og organisationer.

For yderligere information kontakt:

Kristoffer Soelberg
Sustainable Build/DAC,

Mobil: (+45) 40 16 33 32
Ole Østrup
Industriens Fond

Mobil: (+45) 23 80 06 60

Sustainable Build er 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.



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