From 2 – 3 April, QODE showed the world how Queensland is planning, preparing and tackling the important issues of tomorrow. Businesses, product developers, thought leaders, academia and government came together to explore the fourth industrial revolution, including all things AI, human-machine collaboration and platform economics. Business Models Inc and Coreo, partners in circular economy thinking, went to share their vision for the Circular Economy Lab and the future of the Sunshine State. Here are their key takeaways…
On systems thinking and considering the bigger picture
The Queensland Government has a strong desire to make the state a world leader in innovation whilst preserving the lifestyle and natural beauty that Queenslanders adore. An AI Hub, investment in smart infrastructure and renewable energy, an open data policy – all signs that we are moving in the right direction. On top of this, Queensland was the first Australian State to open an Office of the Chief Entrepreneur to support the startup ecosystem across the state. In growing the economy and fostering the creativity and drive of Queenslanders, systems thinking will become common practice.
Systems thinkers are the people that look beyond the linear cause-and-effect model when aiming to solve the problem that they have identified. They recognise that the world is complex and layered, with many variables and flow-on effects to our actions. Ideas developed under these conditions have the power to effect change and uproot industries. One systems thinker who energised the QODE crowd with her keynote address is Queensland Chief Entrepreneur and founder of Everledger, Leanne Kemp. Going beyond traceability in the diamond sector, Everledger created a supply chain tracking system, built on the blockchain, that tells a story of the origin of each precious stone for the end-consumer. When customers purchase diamonds traced by Everledger, they have visibility over the provenance of the stone and have the assurance that it was sustainably mined. Systems thinking and strategic insight allow for innovations to have real meaning and monetary value.
Business Models Inc and Coreo are systems thinkers. In late February, Business Models Inc and Coreo jointly launched Australia’s first Circular Economy Lab – a programme where industry leaders work collaboratively to ideate, test and validate circular solutions to entrenched cross-sector challenges. Broadly, the environment and supply of natural resources have suffered under the current linear economy. Modern industries, cities and lifestyle have caused serious air, water and plastic pollution. Today’s informed and mindful consumers want sustainable and ethical options. Over the course of three months, the CE Lab event will facilitate the creation of new circular business models by the participating teams in the Lab. The circular economy has been enshrined in legislation and policy in the EU and China, where societies actively aim to be less wasteful. This is the vision that Business Models Inc and Coreo have for Queensland, the first Circular Economy state of Australia. Jaine Morris, COO of Coreo, shared this vision up on the big stage at QODE, explaining how the circular economy presents a multi-billion dollar opportunity for businesses in addition to helping the environment.
On Public Sector Leadership
To become a leader in innovation and business, and an example of excellence in liveable cities, Queensland’s public institutions must be proactive. Public policy must reward strong futuristic business models, support networks around innovators and keep up with the rapid change in industries that are disrupted by local and global innovation. While the Queensland Government and the City of Brisbane have shown strong commitments on the front of renewable energy and smart infrastructure, there is no policy that fosters circular economy as of yet.
Australia has some catching up to do. The Netherlands has committed to becoming the first circular country by 2050. China adopted its 2018 Circular Economy Promotion Law in 2008. London introduced a Circular Economy City Route Map in 2017. And on 4 March this year, the European Commission adopted a comprehensive report of the Circular Economy Action Plan. In Europe, Business Models Inc is already supporting these national goals through the R2PI project. Due to end in October 2019, R2PI examines the market and policy failures that hinder the implementation of circular economy business models. Bringing together researchers from around Europe, R2PI will propose policy packages that integrate knowledge from different sectors and countries.
Within Australia, Business Models Inc is no stranger to policy advice, having run South Australia’s Policy Prototyping Lab. In Queensland, Business Models Inc supported the 2018 Brisbane Innovate challenge, where Queensland entrepreneurs and innovators created value out of waste, tackled social isolation and empowered local communities. Queensland is shaping a future with a strong, innovative economy and a clean, liveable environment. Policy that combines these two elements should exist. We are excited to see how solutions that emerge from the Circular Economy Lab will catalyse action across the State.
So what’s driving the transition towards the circular economy in Queensland?
We interacted with the delegates at QODE to put their thoughts on paper and better understand what we are seeing, hearing and feeling in the world around us. This allows us to observe our changing environment as it evolves! By clustering these observations we are able to identify the trends – demographic, technology-driven, regulatory, environmental and economic, customer-driven, competitive, and uncertain – that are driving the shift towards circularity. You shared your thoughts at QODE. You told us that consumers are increasingly wanting to support sustainable businesses, that there is a shift from product to service delivery and about how government will cope with an evolving business sector. Now read what other thoughts were shared by checking out the Context Map Canvas below.