Workstudio Descriptions and Insights

We created a short insights paper for each workstudio that you can download at the end of each description to see the results of the events.

1. From footprint to handprint
2. Circular economy and sustainable lifestyles
3. The consumer relationship challenge
4. Industry 4.0 as enabler for sustainable lifestyles
5. Impact investment in sustainable business models
6. Food Waste
7. Cities enabling sustainability

Workstudio 1

Be part of the solution: Increasing the handprint of goods and services


How do we mainstream positive sustainability effects? The “handprint” is an innovative approach aiming to holistically evaluate the positive contributions of products, processes, and business models. Join this workstudio to learn how and get inspired by case examples from the textile, chemical, and health sectors. Above all, explore to what extent your products and services can contribute to the global sustainability agenda.

Today, good sustainability performance is commonly associated with having a relatively low footprint. While these approaches are very valuable, they represent only one side of the story and have done their part in loading sustainability with negative associations. But what about positive contributions to people and planet? Collateral benefits? What about all those low impact products that do not fully serve their primary purpose? Aren’t they wasting resources?

The handprint aims to complete the picture. It represents the positive —and innovative yet often unexpected— contributions to sustainable development. Today, most companies are neither aware of potential sustainability contribution of products and value chains, nor how to take advantage of it. The workstudio will be supporting the discovery and creation of positive sustainability impacts. Take your products  as a case and benefit from experts with various backgrounds!

For an even more detailed background on the handprint methodology, participants of the anniversary event are also invited to join the dedicated workshop of the corresponding research project on the following day, 1 June, in Wuppertal. This event is held in German. For more information, please visit

Workstudio 2

Round and round we go: discovering lifestyles in the circular economy innovation lab


What if the circular economy gains currently estimated are only half of what they really could be? When the circular economy goes beyond the production realm and starts to shape lifestyles, a variety of new opportunities can be unraveled. How? Join us on this journey into the circular home to dive into what the consumers’ role is when using different circular products and services!

Current views on a more circular economy focus mainly on the business to business interaction. Consumers and households are considered as part of take back schemes or their role in accurate waste stream separation. To actually close resource loops we need to better understand what are the needs and consumption patterns of different user groups and households, how they respond to current circular approaches, and how they can be actively involved for greater circular economy gains.

This workstudio will start closing the consumer gap in the circular economy, by bringing the circular economy to the lifestyle context. We will visit a house where innovative business solutions for the circular economy will be featured and explore their potential for further engagement with the consumer. We will focus on household interactions using different consumer groups. We will conclude with a high-level panel discussion identifying opportunities to further boost circular economy advancements by bringing the consumer into play. We will see what promising strategies must look like to better fit circular economy solutions to consumer needs and aspirations. The workstudio will result in a hands-on framework of circular business model innovations for sustainable lifestyles.

Workstudio 3

Sustaina…what? The consumer relationship challenge


How can we engage consumers in our journey towards sustainability? This workstudio will present interesting examples on how sustainability engagement has played out successfully, while also highlighting remaining challenges. We will discuss latest trends (e.g. gamification, experiential learning, emotional relationship marketing) as well as success factors to help sustainability becoming a shared concern of society.

Companies are increasingly moving from defending their record to putting sustainability at the centre of their strategy. But is the message getting across? Product and service brands occupy a complex emotional relationship with our daily lifestyles but are they supporting more sustainable consumption patterns?

This workshop aims to explore what successful responsible engagement means, identify the latest tools and best practice to achieve it, and the benefits to those who do. It will be organised in different stations where possibilities and challenges are approaches from different angles and perspectives. Companies looking to optimise their engagement as well as policymakers and other stakeholders supporting them will benefit from an interactive format enabling participants to share organisational expertise.

Workstudio 4

Sustainability 4.0?! Real-time, connected, customised: Industry 4.0 as enabler for sustainable lifestyles?


How can we use the transformative momentum of Industry 4.0 to support sustainable living and lifestyles? What opportunities come to the fore and what best practice activities already exist? Join us in this workstudio to explore how the powerful trends that are shaping our future can be harnessed to enable more sustainable lifestyles.

Real-Time, connected, customised, flexible, and efficient are the qualities used to describe the rapidly increasing digitalisation of manufacturing processes and supply chains. This digitalisation is believed to be unfolding into the fourth industrial revolution.

The current views on Industry 4.0 focus mainly on production processes, the impact it has on supply chains, on B2B relationships, and its transformative potential for different industry sectors. This workstudio aims to shift the attention to consumers and related sustainable lifestyle opportunities:

  • Can Industry 4.0 lead to a reduced use of resources during both production and use/consumption?
  • Will more smart and decentralised production strengthen regional and local consumption and value creation?
  • Can Industry 4.0 be regarded as a facilitator for the circular economy and thus enable closed loop systems?
  • Will transparency along the supply chain increase and support more conscious consumption patterns?

In the format of a Gallery Walk, we will learn how leading representatives from various sectors engage in Industry 4.0 and which opportunities and challenges they identify from a sustainability perspective. Building on the extensive expertise in the room, lots of free space will be dedicated to participant interaction. Let’s find out how to build on the strength of Industry 4.0 to enable sustainable lifestyles!

Workstudio 5

Resilient and “sense”-making: Impact investment in sustainable business models


In times of low interest rates, the demand for non-financial societal return increases. This workstudio explores how positive social and environmental impact in business models can be identified to assist sustainable investment decision-making. Real case examples will help to identify “impactful” business models.

The workstudio explores means and measures to identify impact investment opportunities that add value to investors. It addresses banks, business angels, foundations, and funds that are looking to make a difference with the assets they manage. Participation also offers an opportunity for companies and entrepreneurs of impact-related products and services.

We will be looking at business model parameters that can tell whether an investment can live up to its impact promises. It enables investors to better target and support the impact investments they and their clients are looking for. Using innovative and engaging techniques, this workstudio aims to develop a sixth sense for impact investments that make a difference in people’s lives, safeguard the environment and proof an attractive SROI.

The workstudio will be supported from the Do School that contributes its successful innovation methodology as well as their extensive knowledge on social entrepreneurship.

Workstudio 6

Food for thought (and action!): the waste(d) value of food


Wasted food is just too good to be true. What are the opportunities behind food waste, from prevention to new business opportunities, based on what we throw away? Let’s look at real food value chain settings to explore innovations for consumers, business, entrepreneurs, and policymakers.

“It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food.“ This is the short formula of the UN Sustainable development goal 2 on achieving zero hunger. Today, one third of the food produced globally is wasted. This wasted food is more than enough to feed the world, in fact 25% more, without considering related distribution challenges. This means that one quarter of scarce resources such as soil, water, and fertilisers are exploited for no reason.

In our workstudio we will take a closer look at the hotspots of food waste and the reasons behind them. Together, we will explore the key leverage points to change wasteful behaviours in various sectors, from the hospitality and household to production and retailing industries. Knowing that there is not one blueprint to solve this issue, we will seek the latest technical and social innovations able to help us reducing and managing food waste. We will bring our heads together in an explorative and interactive workstudio session to find ways to link several actors of the value chain to work collaboratively on solutions and opportunities to reduce and eliminate food waste.

Workstudio 7

sUsTOPIA City: facilitating sustainable urban life


Let’s create the truly sustainable and sharing city: attractive for people, supportive toward sustainable products and lifestyles, smart and shareable to connect local supply and demand, circular to close resource loops, and socially cohesive. How can city governments be the catalysts to address sustainability with an integrated perspective involving all relevant stakeholders and create incentives to participate, innovate, and create sustainable lifestyles?

This workstudio aims to bring together representatives of all relevant actors who operate in the city environment: local government, citizens, business, civil society organisations, and academia, all of whom have been developing and implementing ideas to create increased sustainability in the urban environment. Viewing cities as integrated systems of people, business and government, we would like to challenge the participants to create the sUsTOPIA City where all activities are brought together to make urban life and work smart, circular, sharing, and sustainable.

As part of a negotiation game, you can take on a specific roles and challenge the other stakeholders to create the necessary incentives and conditions to achieve the most optimal collaboration for sustainability. Bring your own background and experience (or simply interest in the topic) to contribute to developing a plan for implementing and managing the truly sustainable city.