LAUNCH unites big brands at Nike HQ to accelerate Circular Economy

The shift to a circular economy requires new levels of innovation and collaboration. Everybody’s talking about the tremendous potential of the Circular Economy. Constraints on the planet are driving demand for resource-efficient and closed-loop products, services, and corporate models. But how do we create circular systems, material streams, and new business models to support the transition?

March 2 and 3, LAUNCH and its partners — including Nike Inc., IKEA Group, Novozymes, Kvadrat and several Nordic government institutions, with support from the eBay Foundation — hosted a summit at Nike’s world headquaters in Portland for fifteen Circular Economy startups and innovators to collaborate with partners and external organizations on ways to accelerate the transition to a more circular economy.

Cyrus Wadia Nike

Cyrus Wadia, VP, Nike opening the LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit at Nike HQ – Photo: Ben Mund

“At Nike, we believe that our future growth will depend on a healthy planet for athletes everywhere. This means not just reducing our use of finite resources, but using new resources born out of tomorrow’s innovative technologies. To get there, we will need breakthrough innovation from diverse and unexpected communities working together. That’s what makes LAUNCH and its mission so important. Today’s ideas can grow into tomorrow’s solutions.”

Cyrus Wadia, VP, Nike Inc.

Discussing some of the key systems changes that are needed to drive circular solutions, Hakan Nordkvist, head of Sustainability Innovation at IKEA Group, pointed out that one of the urgencies is to change consumer behavior. Innovations are needed to create convenience in order to engage more people in the system.

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

Håkan Nordkvist, IKEA opening the LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit at Nike HQ – Photo: Ben Mund

”We want to have a positive impact on people and the planet and that includes playing an active role in moving toward a circular economy. We are thrilled to see so many leading companies and pioneering innovators gather at the LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit to collaborate for a better future.

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group

Fifteen past and present LAUNCH innovators were selected to participate in the Summit:

LAUNCH Circular Innovators

One of the participating innovators was May Al-Karooni Founder of Globechain – a platform to connect businesses, charities and people to reuse unwanted items:

The LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit at Nike’s global headquarters in Portland brought together over 100 industry pioneers, innovators, leading researchers, and investors who can help identify and deliver innovation for a circular economy.

Claus Stig Pedersen Novozymes and Cyrus Wadia Nike

Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability @ Novozymes and Cyrus Wadia, VP @ Nike – Photo by Ben Mund

The head of Corporate Sustainability at the Danish company Novozymes, Claus Stig Pedersen, kicked off the second day of the summit.

“We look forward to collaborating with leading companies, government institutions, and innovators on finding new sustainable solutions and building a roadmap to the circular economy. Public-private partnerships are exactly what we need to help sustainable innovations get to scale.”

Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability, Novozymes

Astronaut Cady Coleman shared her perspective from the ultimate circular habitat — the International Space Station.

Cady Coleman former NASA Astronaut

Cady Coleman former NASA Astronaut gives her unique perspective on circularity and closed loop systems – Photo: Ben Mund.

“To look beyond borders and co-innovate with unconventional partners is key, if we want to achieve great things. I look forward to meeting with amazing people and innovators from all over the world to discuss how we take circularity and closed loop solutions to a whole new level. “

Dr. Catherine Coleman, former NASA Astronaut & PhD in Chemistry

The Summit brought together unlikely partnerships across industry and government including IKEA Group, eBay, and several Nordic government organizations and companies including Novozymes, Kvadrat. A new LAUNCH partner and supporter of this years LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit was eBay.

Chris Librie eBay opening LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit

Chris Librie, Head of Global Impact, eBay – Photo by Ben Mund

“eBay was founded on the belief that our platform can help create an enduring and better kind of commerce. Through eBay, we make it as easy as possible for consumers to sell and participate in the power of the circular economy. By helping to extend the useful life of products, we’re giving them the chance to have many lives and serve many people. We are excited to join this extraordinary network that nurtures innovation and drives towards systems change.”

Chris Librie, Senior Director, Global Impact, eBay           

Part of the summit was dedicated to envision a shared Circular Economy Future and co-create a Circular Economy Roadmap.

Jeff Hamoui, LAUNCH – Photo by Ben Mund

“You can’t change a system until you know where you want to go. We think the future is a fascinating place from which to begin designing.”

Jeff Hamaoui, co-founder and global lead, LAUNCH

Most of the second day of the Summit was dedicated to identify collective action, pilots and areas of collaborative innovation to accelerate a more circular future.

Sofus Midtgaard, LAUNCH – Photo by Ben Mund

“It’s been amazing working with so many different companies and having one of our founding partners Nike hosting this event. Our 2017 innovation challenge on Design & Manufacturing for the Circular Economy will be launched on June 5th at the World Circular Forum in Helsinki. Insights and feedback from this week’s forum will be incorporated in this global challenge.”

Sofus Midtgaard, co-founder of LAUNCH Nordic & Circular lead



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 global innovator reach


Driving Sustainable Growth through Partnerships

Driving Sustainable Growth Through Partnerships

Companies are partnering with other organisations— both public and private—to address sustainability challenges. Here are 10 rules to suceed driving sustainable growth through partnerships.

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 popular. 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.

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 to suceed driving Sustainable Growth through Partnerships. The slides below are from a presentation given by Leaderlab’s Managing Partner Sofus Midtgaard at the We-Economy Conference in Copenhagen February 24, 2015:




Sustainable Build


En ny platform til at fremme vækst i bæredygtigt byggeri er en realitet. Platformen Sustainable Build er udviklet i samarbejde mellem Dansk Arkitektur Center og Leaderlab og har netop modtaget knap 6 mio. kr. fra Industriens Fond.

Sustainable Build skal styrke vækst i bæredygtigt byggeri, ved at fremme vækstbetingelserne og konkret accelere nye innovative løsninger i byggeriet. Projektet vil samle branchen på tværs af byggeriets værdikæde og det omkringliggende system.

Markedet for bæredygtigt byggeri overstiger 440 mia. euro i 2015, hvilket er en vækst på 28 % siden 2013. Europa alene står for halvdelen af markedet på verdensplan, og danske virksomheder har et uforløst potentiale for vækst.

Industriens Fond bevilliger 6 mio. kr.

Industriens Fond har bevilget en samlet ramme på knap seks millioner kroner til Sustainable Build, der vil skabe en fælles innovations- og formidlingsplatform for materialeproducenter, bygherrer, arkitekter, konstruktører, ingeniører, forskere, investorer, beslutningstagere og private og offentlige aktører på tværs af branchen.

Mads LebechI forbindelse med bevillingen siger Mads Lebech, adm. direktør i Industriens Fond:

”De påtrængende klima- og miljøudfordringer har skabt et hastigt voksende marked for bæredygtige materialer og komponenter til byggeriet – og for såkaldt ’cirkulære’ byggeprocesser med fokus på ressourceoptimering og genanvendelse. Det marked skal de danske virksomheder have så stor en del af som muligt. Projektet Sustainable Build har nogle interessante metoder til at skabe den vidensudveksling og innovation, som er absolut nødvendig i den sammenhæng”,


Behov for offentligt Privat samarbejde

Sustainable Build bygges op som et partnerskab mellem private og offentlige aktører, og vil blive udviklet og realiseret i tæt samarbejde med en række store industrivirksomheder. Metoden er blandt andet at samle aktører på tværs af værdikæden, for at finde løsninger på, hvordan barriererne for det bæredygtige byggeri kan fjernes. Herudover vil projektet bringe større etablerede virksomheder sammen med mindre vækstvirksomheder og start-ups, for at accelerere nye bæredygtige løsninger.

Kent MartinussenI forbindelse med bevillingen udtaler Kent Martinussen, adm. direktør i Dansk Arkitektur Center følgende:

”Tværfaglige partnerskaber er en helt nødvendig vej til innovation og udvikling i byggebranchen, som traditionelt er præget af stærk silodannelse. Med støtte fra Industriens Fond, er vi nu gået i positiv dialog med såvel store som små udviklingsdrivende virksomheder i branchen, og jeg oplever en stor interesse for et innovationsprojekt, der som Sustainable Build har skarpt fokus på tværfaglighed og bæredygtighed som vækst- og konkurrenceparametre”.


Stort uforløst potentiale for vækst

Sofus Midtgaard B&WMålet er at skabe bedre vilkår for bæredygtigt byggeri, styrke samarbejdet på tværs af værdikæden og accelerere eksisterende, bæredygtige løsninger. Derigennem vil Sustainable Build styrke innovationen, konkurrenceevnen og skabe nye grønne job i byggesektoren.

”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. Jeg er glad for at Industriens Fond har valgt at støtte Sustainable Build.” siger Sofus Midtgaard, Managing Partner, Leaderlab.


Læs mere på partnerskabets hjemmeside:


For yderligere information om Sustainable Build:

Mikkel Kragh, Programchef, DAC: 45 31167999,

Sofus Midtgaard, Managing Partner, Leaderlab, 30 220 111,




·      Markedet for bæredygtige materialer og komponenter til byggeriet anslås at være på 440 mia. euro i 2015 i EU, hvilket betegner en vækst på 28 % fra 2013.

·       Cementproduktion alene udgør 5 % af den globale CO2 udledning.

·       Kina har på tre år brugt ligeså meget cement, som USA gjorde i løbet af hele det 20. århundrede.

·       Industriens Fond har bevilget en samlet ramme på knap seks millioner kr. til Sustainable Build.

·       Sustainable build er udviklet sammen med Dansk Arkitektur Center og LeaderLab.

·       Billedet viser Krøyers Plads og er fra NNC


LeaderLab: Leadership Network kick-off June 17th

LeaderLab’s new Leadership Network on Open Leadership & Social Business Innovation had a great kick-off June 17th at Carlsberg Academy. Gathered was 55 business leaders, politicians, NGO’s and thinkers. Sofus Midtgaard – Managing Partner at LeaderLab,  Anne Skare – Partner at Future Navigator and Hanne T. Odegaard Head of Customization at LEGO share thoughts and experiences on Open Leadership, Social Business Innovation, Social Media, Crowdsourcing, Co-creations, Mass Customization, Sustainability and Meaning,

The network events and some of the presentations and videos are only available for members, but we try to share our thoughts with the rest of the world so here are some photos and Sofus Midtgaards presentation from the event.

Photos from the LeaderLab 2010/2011 kick-off at the Carlsberg Academy:

Kick-off 17. Juni 2010 på Carlsberg Akademi

Det var fantastisk at se så mange af jer til kick-off i torsdags. Vi håber I havde en inspirerende dag og fik mødt nogen spændende mennesker.

Vi fået meget positiv feedback på oplæg, men også en opfordring til at sætte mere fokus på cases, interaktion og det at skabe noget sammen – gerne i mindre grupper. Det er noget af det vi planlægger at folde ud i efteråret. Hvis I har idéer eller feedback må I meget gerne melde ind:

Vi glæder os til at se jer til næste arrangement d. 21. september fra 13.00-21.00. Har lige snakket med Matthew fra Starbucks og han har lovet at komme ind på de organisatoriske og ledelsesmæssige implikationer af at åbne innovationen op som Starbucks har gjort det med My Starbucks Idea. Han bliver og spiser med os d. 21/9 fra 18.00-21.00 – så husk at ryde aftenen hvis i kan.

Vi arbejder på at få Anne Skares Nielsen og Hanne T. Odegaards præsentationer klar til jer der ikke kunne deltage. Indtil da kan I se lidt billeder og mine slides fra kick-off.

LeaderLab kick off
LeaderLab kick-off Christian Nissen og Malou Aamund


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