Last week, the FSLCI organized a workshop in collaboration with Innovation for Sustainable Development Network in Berlin, Germany. The workshop titled “Defining Sustainable Innovation from a Life Cycle Perspective” brought together a variety of different stakeholders. The principle objective of the workshop was to develop a better understanding of how to link the concept of sustainability from a life cycle perspective with innovation processes.

The workshop, organized as a lunch-to-lunch meeting, and hosted by iac Berlin, started off on Thursday with a highly insightful input by Prof. Klaus Fichter, director of Borderstap Institute for Innovation and Sustainability on linking innovation & sustainability within several conceptual frameworks. Following this presentation, Fernando Diaz Lopez, the programme manager for innovation, energy, and sustainable development at TNO and project manager of the inno4sd network provided his take on “Understanding innovation for sustainable development: fables, facts and challenges ahead”. Lastly, Andreas Wade, global sustainability director at First Solar gave insights about how innovation and sustainability are linked within a multinational company. The round of inputs was concluded by Elisa Naranjo from Einhorn Condoms, who shared Einhorn’s story and gave a start-up perspective on sustainable innovation.

In the interactive workshop sessions participants discussed differences between technological/ product innovation, process/ management innovation, business model innovation. Participants mapped stakeholders and discussed how they influence the innovation processes in different ways. After a productive and intensive round of discussions, the first day concluded with a relaxed networking dinner.

On Friday morning the discussions from the previous day were summarized, before Jim Fava, chair of the executive committee of FSLCI e.V. provided a comprehensive insight into defining sustainability from a life cycle perspective. After the participants gained a better understanding of life cycle thinking, the workshop sessions focussed on how to combine innovation processes with a life cycle perspective. While the discussions on the first day had focussed more on what innovation and sustainability means as well as how these concepts could be linked, the second day focused more on the barriers, key drivers, opportunities and the required processes/ structures within different innovation types as well as why life cycle thinking is important in sustainable innovation.

Lastly, participants discussed how to push companies for more sustainable innovation in the sense of how to approach them and who needs to be approached. To close the day, workshop participants reconvened over lunch to review the outcomes of the two days.

All in all we enjoyed the discussions throughout the two days and are looking forward to sharing some really interesting insights with you, once our workshop documentation has been reviewed and approved by our workshop participants. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in our workshop and helped us make it happen!

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