Circular challenges and the art of scaling innovations (Part 1)

Moving from a linear to a circular economy ultimately means eliminating waste and pollution by refusing, reducing, recycling and reusing. However, most solutions focus on end of line innovations (waste reduction) and are limited in scope. How can we shift the focus from waste depletion towards a circular design that rethinks production and consumption indefinitely and systemically?

This year, the Netherlands moved up to the second place of the Global Innovation Index. The country is scoring high on factors such as knowledge and technology outputs and creative outputs. A strengthening of the circular innovation ecosystem and public-private cooperation can be observed and increasingly, inspiring innovations are emerging. A broad range of different instruments such as incubators, investment ready programs, accelerators and a wide spectrum of funds and capital are in place, aimed at facilitating startups and SMEs with innovative circular products and services.

However, Amsterdam faces challenges as well. Still a relatively limited amount of circular innovations is successfully scaling up. We do not see many examples of impactful, ‘game-changing’ innovations yet. Therefore, the big question is: what can we do to help circular inventors become more successful in scaling their innovations, and by doing so accelerate the transition towards a circular economy? Is there a way to add more substance and structure to innovation, so that it will truly lead to systemic integration and change?



During this workshop, with you we would like to tackle the challenges Amsterdam area faces in order to scale up solutions that solve global issues! Join us and help build the circular city of the future.


Format of the workshop

  • Introduction by Arjan Hassing
  • Divide into four groups. Table hosts are four Dutch innovative companies: Waternet, Madaster, Space and Matter and Metabolic
  • Develop solutions
  • Wrap-up, share insights and network!



Arjan Hassing, program manager circular economy at the CTO innovation office of the City of Amsterdam.


Moderators/table hosts:

  • Waternet : The water company in the Netherlands that takes care of the entire water cycle and currently works on the integration of innovative ‘circular’ waste water systems.
  • Madaster: The online global register for products and materials in the built environment that gives materials a passport in order to eliminate waste.
  • Space and Matter : A multidisciplinary spatial design practice that merges architecture, social design and online technology to create resilient and socially inclusive living environments
  • Metabolic : A consulting and venture building company that uses systems thinking to tackle global sustainability challenges.
Circular challenges and the art of scaling innovations (Part 1)
Idea room
Session 1: 10.00-11.15