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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) were 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 with 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. 


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 such as policy-makers, co-creation experts, academics and representatives from 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 and 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  

  2. Collaborative reuse and recycling  

  3. 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 into the three CEBMs that CIRC4Life created, 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. 

  2. Reuse and Recycling: There is a need  to create partnerships around green procurement and second hand markets (e.g. 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 a basis for the integration of the development of the new CIRC4Life business 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: 


During the two-day Open Innovation Camp event, 70 circular economy experts from 18 countries took part in evaluating the CIRC4Life results and jointly and individually provided critical and encouraging comments. Participants provided excellent feedback, mentioning an intense but well structured workflow, excellent presentations, and valuable exchanges.

The second Open Innovation Camp on 27th and 28th May 2021, organized by Laurea University of Applied Sciences, was held to co-validate the developed Circular Economy Business Models and solutions and to identify future research and market opportunities in circular transition. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Camp was arranged virtually using Zoom and Howspace as collaboration platforms.

During the first day of the Open Innovation camp, participants evaluated and discussed the overall success of the five demonstrations of the CIRC4Life project, and the utilization of the CIRC4Life tools and innovations. On the second day the focus was on evaluating and validating three circular economy business models (CEBMs), including (A) co-creation of product and services, (B) sustainable consumption and (C) collaborative recycling and reuse. Insights from CIRC4Life Demonstrators served as case studies for the implementation of the CEBMs.

During the event, the CIRC4Life demonstrations and business models were showcased through a combination of displaying videos and presentations given by the company representatives, followed by interactive workshops where the results were discussed, and solutions were evaluated further.

Overall methodology for validation during the Camp

The Open Innovation Camp validation framework was based on the question: “Is it the right solution to the problem?” and on the evaluation of implementation of CEBMs as a whole, as well as elements of the demonstrators. Moreover, the validation in OIC2 was based on the following key questions:

a) what has worked;

b) what has not worked;

c) what are the lessons learnt?


The validation framework for DEMOS was based on evaluation of the following statements:

  • Has CEBM A) been successfully implemented?

  • Has CEBM B) been successfully implemented?

  • Has CEBM C) been successfully implemented?

  • Have new services and/or products been created?

  • Has the company transited towards more sustainable business?

The validation framework for CEBMs was based on evaluation of the following statements:

  • The business model is innovative

  • The business model is circular and sustainable

  • The business model generates high business potential

  • The business model has wide industry applicability

Taking into consideration the goals and framework of the Open Innovation Camp, the validation of demonstrators and their implementation of the three CEBMs was done internally, with only consortium partners taking part in the validation. In contrast, the validation and evaluation of CEBMs involved 27 external experts, in addition to the consortium partners.


Demo results

According to the results of the internal evaluation of demonstrations presented in the table below, it can be concluded that, overall, the CIRC4Life demonstrations have been successful in implementing the three business models and especially in new product and service development. In addition, in all of the demonstration cases, the Camp participants considered that the company had managed to transit towards a more sustainable business.

Percentage of participants that agreed or strongly agreed.JPG

CEBM results

The results of the evaluation and validation of CIRC4Life business models, presented in the table below, show that all three developed CEBMs reached the desired level ( > 7.0) on their average scores, and can be considered validated by the Camp participants. The highest average score of 8.0 was received by CEBM C), Collaborative Recycle and Reuse model.

Average score for each avaluation criteria.JPG
Screenshot 2021-06-28_19-57-53.png

Participant Feedback

The received feedback on the Open Innovation Camp was generally positive, as 100% of the respondents on the Howspace platform evaluated their experience as Excellent (19/28) or Good (9/28). In addition, 89,6% of the survey respondents stated that they would, or already have, recommended Open Innovation Camp and would participate in a similar event again.

According to the open comments, the Open Innovation Camp was successful in providing the participants with new insights on designing successful circular business models, especially through researcher Erwan Mouazan’s keynote address, as well as delivering perspectives on the developed CIRC4Life CEBMs. The event was also considered an excellent networking opportunity for future collaborations, while also delivering interesting information about Horizon Europe CE grant opportunities through the keynote address of Hans-Christial Eberl, Policy Officer at the European Commission.

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