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 Co-creation through Open Innovation Camps



Co-creation with end-users and other relevant stakeholders is a key component to develop new circular economy business models (CEBM) and is at the core of CIRC4Life. To co-create and prioritise initial concepts, validate developed solutions and identify their market potential, two open innovation camps (OIC) are scheduled during the project. 


OICs are a sprint type multi-day event grounded on open innovation 2.0 principles where a group of carefully selected stakeholders having diverse but complementary expertise co-create a common understanding of a complex societal challenge. They work together to develop user-centered concepts and solutions to pre-defined challenges in a set timeframe. 


First Open Innovation Camp  


The first CIRC4Life OIC took place in Cracow, Poland, on 12-15.11.2018. and was organised by Laurea University of Applied Sciences (Finland) together with the Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas (Poland). It gathered 80 circular economy experts from 17 countries with a diverse multi-disciplinary and cultural background across the world. It included policy-makers, co-creation experts, academia, industry and civil society (including consumer organisations) following the quadruple helix approach. 


The OIC was a concept development exercise aimed to better understand the needs and main challenges of developing circular economy business models in all stages of the circular economy in four industry sectors (domestic and industrial LED lighting, recycled tablets, micro-farming and meat production). The goal was to produce concrete solutions and feasible concepts for business models dealing with challenges in the demonstration activities based on: 

  1. Co-creation of products and services for the given four case industries  

  1. Collaborative reuse and recycling  

  1. Sustainable consumption  


During the camp, initial ideas were introduced by the partners responsible for the CEBMs and demonstrators. Participants then worked in the business model or industry specific work groups which interacted throughout the OIC. All CEBMs groups interacted with all the groups of demonstrators by industry sector (4 CEBM groups and 4 industrial sectors) to determine how they could be further developed to make a novel contribution to the circular economy. 


Diverse co-creation methods were used in a series of facilitated sessions to support and stimulate teamwork. Inspiring social events helped recharge, stimulate creativity and networking between participants. 


The results of the camps can be divided by the three CEBMs that CIRC4Life is creating, which are:    

1) Co-Creation and end-user engagement;  

2) Reuse and Recycling;  

3) Sustainable Consumption.  


  1. Co-creation and end-user engagement: There is a need to engage customers and collect their feedback to ensure that they are at the centre of co-creation by using participatory methods such as end-user workshops. 


  1. Reuse and Recycling: There is a need  to create partnerships around green procurement and second hand markets (c2c, Amazon for used products), and new business models for reuse. In addition, recycling logistics should be addressed in the business model development. 


3) Sustainable Consumption: Understanding sustainable consumer profiles is crucial. Communicating positive messages to customers was considered very important. Consumption should be reduced at all levels, especially meat consumption. In addition, concerns were raised on the value of eco-points for end-users, how they can use them, how they will be certified, calculated and how they will evolve with time. The need to use the Living Labs methodology to assess user’s behaviour linked to eco-points was also highlighted. 


The results of this first OIC served as the basis to integrate the development of the new CIRC4Life models. 


For more information about the open innovation camp in CRACOW, please check the paper Innovation Camp (OIC) – A Tool For Solving Complex Problems Rapidly. written by Laurea University of Applied Sciences here: :  


Link to all OIC results here  

Link to pictures here 


In addition, demonstrations are currently taking place in the UK (Berkshire and Cornwall counties) and Spain (Valencia, Murcia and Basque country Regions). Co-creation activities organised during these demonstrations will also gather real-life feedback which will be used to adapt and further develop the business models. 


For more information about the demonstrations: 


Second  Open Innovation Camp 

The second CIRC4Life Innovation Camp which will validate and disseminate the outcomes of the demonstrations, will be held in Poland in 2021. 

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