Social enterprise Circle Economy is calling on the global community to participate in creating a visionary circular future. In hopes of solving some of “humanity’s biggest challenges,” the organization has launched a new online crowdsourcing platform with support from the eBay Foundation. The Circle Lab platform is intended to capture ideas, encourage collaboration, and help ensure that ideas get off the ground and are implemented.
“Circle Lab is an ideation platform that leverages and combines the power of crowdsourcing with circular economy expertise, in an open access environment, to create circular solutions,” explained Circle Economy CEO Harald Friedl. “If you are a problem solver, circular enthusiast, policy maker or finance specialist – Circle Lab is the place to make a real impact.”
The platform is an evolution of the open-access knowledge hub launched by Circle Economy in August 2017 that has grown to include roughly 750 case studies and nearly 2,000 users. It also builds on Circle Economy’s work with businesses, cities and regions over the past five years, supporting the development of business cases and pilot projects.
“The launch of the knowledge hub and results of the market validation showed us that there is a high demand for a global community to engage and co-create circular solutions. The addition of a challenge environment is the next step,” Friedl said.
Circle Economy is calling the platform an “online accelerator for circularity” and expects it to help mobilize a global community of circular economy experts, entrepreneurs, forward-thinking businesses, citizens, cities and governments. To achieve this, Circle Lab has been created as a unique open-access collaborative environment that will not only allow contributors to share their ideas, but also provide expertise to identify and accelerate circular solutions, and ensure that the best solutions can receive support from local incubators to aid in their implementation. These local efforts can then share their learnings globally through the platform to support similar efforts worldwide.
Circle Lab could help break down information silos and fuel cross-industry collaboration, ideally increasingly the circularity of the global economy. It is currently only 9.1 percent circular, according to recent Circle Economy research.
“eBay has been at the heart of the circular economy since its founding over 20 years ago. The eBay Foundation believes that by using the power of technology to bring people together, the circular economy can help fuel the future of commerce,” said Amy Millington, eBay Foundation President. “We are proud to support Circle Lab, a platform that accelerates creative problem-solving and entrepreneurial action towards a more circular economy.”
The first structured challenge on the platform is being hosted by Circular Glasgow in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland and several other local organizations. This challenge will focus on how small to medium-sized businesses can improve the legacy of major city events and conferences – a question faced by many cities the world over.
“There is great potential for the circular economy to create a future-proof and resilient Glasgow through innovative ideas that will provide economic and social benefits to our city,” said Alison McRae, Senior Director at the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. “Glasgow regularly hosts major events such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Celtic Connections to this year’s European Championships, and has recently achieved a hat-trick of events industry award successes, reinforcing the city’s reputation. Whilst these events undoubtedly already benefit the city, there is still a significant financial opportunity for businesses to embrace and to prolong the impact made by these events. We look forward to seeing ideas from across Glasgow and the world coming together on Circle Lab to generate new methods that will change the way we host events and the way we collaborate.”