Event RecapBack
Circulab Discovery Game -- Imagine a Circular Economy

Right after its Phase 2 Launching Ceremony in the morning of 4 February, the Jockey Club CarbonCare Open Innovation Lab  (JC COIL) invited Ms Catherine Touzard, Consultant and Teacher in Sustainability & Circular Economy, to host a Circulab Discovery Game in the afternoon as part of the CarbonCare InnoFest programme.  “Circulab Discovery Game – Imagine a Circular Economy” is an interactive and experimental tool to help participants see the bigger picture of Circular Economy and consider an alternative mode of production and consumption.

Circular Economy is an economic model often compared with Linear Economy, which focuses on resource extraction and transformation, mass production, consumption and waste disposal. Before starting the game, Ms Touzard gave a short lecture on Circular Economy and the benefits it offers. Circular Economy is more than just recycling. It also requires the revamping and overhauling of the supply chain.  She cited several innovative business cases as examples in  which both environmental and social impacts were enhanced as a result: Interface, the replaceable carpet slice which extends its product lifecycle by using a repetitive design pattern and a no-glue installation process; Adidas 3D-printed sneakers, the sports shoes made from recycled plastics which once polluted our oceans; Tool library, the community hub set up in Toronto that encourages tool-sharing ; Splosh, which supplies refillable bottles for laundry, dish washing and home cleaning detergents and Mushroom Packaging, a new, compostable alternative to foam packaging.

The challenging scenario set up for this Circulab Discovery Game was that the cost of wood is expected to rise 15% by 2020 because of extended deforestation, increased demand for furniture and paper, as well as tightened legislations on wood export. The game participants needed to put themselves into the shoes of a furniture company (IKEO)’s top management. To win this game, they had to come up with a more sustainable business strategy. Each group was given a business operation board and five innovation cards. To encourage creativity, those cards would make suggestions such as ‘rethink partnership’, ‘transfer environmental costs to customers’,    ‘adopt user-pay system’, ‘ re-allocate resources’ , ‘establish new customer relationship’ or ‘change market position’.

Three groups of participants came up with three different ideas. The first group proposed a “New Life Furniture” plan, an incentive system to encourage customers to return old furniture in exchange for shopping coupons. The company could then resell or give away the old furniture to charitable bodies. This new plan could possibly create job opportunities, reduce carbon emissions and increase wood supply to the company. It could also help the company to build a better corporate image and expand their customer network.  “Wood Collection Platform” was another proposal from the second group.  Participants reckoned that there was a lot of wood wastage after exhibitions, which could be duly collected and reused for making new furniture.  To create a platform for collecting reusable wood would therefore be useful.  The third group suggested “IKEO Connect”, which would target customers from corporations and education institutes interested in short-term furniture rental through a digital platform.  Furniture pieces could be delivered to another customer upon expiry of the rental contract.  In this way, the company could hope to increase revenue and strengthen customer loyalty. All these innovative proposals greatly impressed Ms Touzard and the COIL team.   After voting by the participants,  the “Wood Collection Platform” group became the winner.  

After the game, participants went on to explore the feasibility of putting the Circular Economy model into practice in Hong Kong.  Many related issues were discussed, including how to find early practitioners and what were the operational obstacles. Participants even suggested various supportive measures such as boosting environmental awareness, adopting a community-based business approach and making better use of the social media. All participants enjoyed a highly engaging and interactive afternoon and the event ended with a cheerful group photo.