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Artwork for Circular Economy Podcast episode 129 with Alex Holland of SolarPunk Stories

129 Alex Holland: SolarPunk Stories for a circular future

How do we draw people towards a deliciously sustainable future?
In this episode, we’re going off at a slight tangent: to explore how we can bring people into this world, to feel they have agency and to see an exciting, meaningful future where we do better, with less.
We’re going to hear about a way of telling stories – that could be fiction to help people understand circular solutions, or it might be stories to help them imagine how circular products and services work in real life, helping them see how that’s more fulfilling than buying yet more stuff and adding to the problems of waste and pollution.
Alex Holland is the Founder of SolarPunk Stories, and has worked as a journalist in the UK, Venezuela and India.
Alex has an MA in Leadership for Sustainable Development and created the world’s first Tea Pub which was also Crowdcube’s most-shared startup.
SolarPunk is a much more optimistic genre than dystopian fiction – it’s more like the Thrutopian concept set out by Professor Rupert Read in an article for the Huffington Post, a few years ago.
Utopias are too fantastical, whereas dystopias can be useless, even dangerously doom-mongering. Instead, we can create thrutopias: stories that help us see a way through the challenges we face, that help us build a vision for the future we want to be part of: a regenerative, fair and inclusive future that we can be proud of. Stories that help us to imagine, to feel what it would be like, and to design the political and economic systems to get us through.

Summary of the knowns and unknowns 4 box category used by NASA and others for strategic planning

Climate and inflation: are we facing unknown unknowns?

Climate and inflation: are we facing unknown unknowns? Or just pretending these risks don’t exist? Being explicit about what we don’t know can help us better understand how climate and ecological risk might play out…. What NASA and psychologists can teach us about risk assessment, and why researchers think we need a comprehensive assessment of the risks for our economy posed by climate change.

Artwork for Circular Economy Podcast episode 127 with Yann Toutant

127 Yann Toutant: getting started with As-a-Service

Yann Toutant is the founder of Black Winch, which helps businesses understand the opportunities, practicalities and benefits of shifting to ‘as a service’ models, and supports them in making it happen.
Yann has been implementing subscription-based models for hardware in the ICT industry for 25 years, including over a decade as CEO of Econocom’s Dutch operations.
Today with his own company, Black Winch, Yann Toutant helps CEOs and their teams to focus on the user experience by incorporating all components of an As-A-Service offer into a single in-house comprehensive, scalable subscription model. Yann sees offering a doorway to circular economy as one of the main drivers, making it possible to centralise ownership and to industrialise circularity at scale.
We discuss why ‘as a service’ is becoming more popular, for business customers as well as for people in general, and then Yann talks about some of the benefits for service-based businesses, and how Black Winch helps its clients take the first, easy steps to ignite that journey.
Yann explains how, for some products, ‘as a service’ is likely to exist alongside traditional ownership models, and what he sees as the motivators for that.

Artwork for Circular Economy Insights #40

Circular Insights #40 – Pathways to a circular future

Here’s the latest round-up of what I’ve shared, and what’s inspired me. This time, there’s a travelling theme – a mobile circular ‘shed’, digital mapping for waste streams, choosing different pathways to the future, and a story to build a ‘golden path’ to a brighter future.

Cartoon - excavating chunks from our planet - from 360 Dialogues

Are you held back by last-century thinking?

It was great to be featured by Greenbiz in January, although after reflecting, I realised a couple of my ‘soundbites’ could be read to mean exactly the opposite of what I went on to talk about…! This blog unpacks those, explaining more about what I think is keeping business leaders stuck in ‘last century’ thinking, and how to avoid that trap.

Circular Economy Podcast - episode 122 artwork - Iain McKechnie - steps to a services-led strategy

122 Iain McKechnie: steps to a services-led strategy

Iain McKechnie of the Advanced Services Group helps clients develop services-led strategies, improving circularity and outcomes for the businesses and their customers.
The market for services, including rental, subscriptions and ‘X-as-a-service’ is growing rapidly, both for business to business and business to consumer markets, and services can be a gamechanger for businesses looking to shrink their footprint and adopt circular strategies.
It’s all part of a shift from a culture of ‘ownership’ to ‘usership’, with services emerging as a way to provide more convenient, flexible options for customers, avoiding the burden and hassle of ownership. Meanwhile, businesses can benefit from the stability of recurring revenue, predictable income streams and easier financial planning; and improve sustainability by using resources more efficiently. And providing services helps businesses get closer to their customers, with many more opportunities for contact and dialogues, discovering more about what customers value, and how to improve things.
The Advanced Services Group are specialists in servitization research and practice, with work that is grounded in the latest academic research, real industry insight, business know-how and experience.
The Advanced Services Group helps manufacturing companies and technology innovators on their servitization journey to develop services-led strategies and ultimately transform their business model to compete through advanced services. ASG has worked with over 300 businesses, multinational companies and SMEs to develop their growth strategies through services.
Iain tells us a bit about what Advanced Services Group does, and which kind of sectors are starting to move towards service-based models. Iain then explains how companies can transition from selling products, to moving along what ASG calls the ‘Services Staircase’, developing different kinds of services to create value for their customers.
Iain talks about the kind of benefits these companies are seeing – and how this is better for their customers, too. We hear what typically holds companies back from switching to services, and how they might get started.
Iain shares a couple of diagrams from the resources on ASG’s website – the Transformation Roadmap and the Services Staircase, and I’ve included links to those in the shownotes.

Circular Economy Podcast - episode 120 Catherine Weetman: priorities are changing

120 Priorities are changing

People’s priorities are changing, as we realise more stuff doesn’t make us happier– so how can businesses thrive by doing better, with less?
In this episode, Catherine suggests it’s time to bust one of the myths of the modern economy – people don’t want more and stuff! Priorities are changing, people are realising that more stuff doesn’t make us happier. Instead, people are discovering that life is better when we care for, share and treasure our stuff, and what’s more, that’s better for our planet and society.
But this presents a big challenge – a paradox – how can businesses succeed without selling more stuff, every year? Many of the Circular Economy Podcast guests are already doing just that, using circular strategies to thrive by doing better with less.
You probably already have big questions on this. It feels logical to say that new designs and innovations will always make life better, that people want to keep up with trends and the status that comes from having the latest thing,
And of course, that making new products underpins the success of a business … but Catherine shares research and insights from guests in the last series of podcasts to show why we need to question conventional wisdom, and choose alternative strategies that are fit for the current business landscape.

Circular Economy Podcast - Gene Homicki - getting more from less with MyTurn

105 Gene Homicki – getting more from less with MyTurn

We’re going to hear about some amazing software that helps with the 2nd of the 3 key circular strategies I advise people to use… getting more, from less. Finding ways to get more use out of under-utitlized objects can have big benefits, especially by reducing costs.
When we think about it, there are probably lots of things – both tools and toys – that we don’t use all day, every day. Sometimes we only use these things once or twice a year! But often, we want to be sure we can have access to that equipment, or that product, whenever we want. Those needs might be planned, say for camping equipment, or unplanned – like repair tools.
Today, we’ll hear from Gene Homicki, founder and CEO at MyTurn, a B2B platform that transforms idle equipment into value. MyTurn helps organizations to optimize asset usage, reduce waste, and generate revenue by making it easy to offer rental, lending, and product subscription services.
Gene is a serial entrepreneur and technology strategist who is dedicated to advancing the circular economy and sustainable systems. Over his career, he’s led teams delivering cutting-edge solutions for organizations like SEGA, ABC News, The Economist, and the National Science Foundation.
Gene co-founded the West Seattle Tool Library which has helped provide affordable access to thousands of people in the community. After seeing how much stuff people had in closets, garages and storage (while others had too little) and knowing that businesses, universities and governments had even more assets sitting idle, Gene founded myTurn.
MyTurn’s customers include businesses, communities, universities, and public sector organizations, and it is a for-profit public benefit corporation.
MyTurn’s platform has a wide range of features, from admin dashboards to online marketplaces, helping organizations of all shapes and sizes to identify and rent underutilized tools, equipment and other resources – either within the organisation, or by collaborating with others.
MyTurn’s customers are seeing big benefits from this circular solution, often increasing product reuse by 10 to 100 times compared to traditional ownership.