On December 6th 2017 at the Future Cities Catapult’s Urban Innovation Centre in London (UK) approximately 90 Circular Economy professionals gathered to engage, learn and network. The event was organized in collaboration with three renowned names in the industry: CEC London, the Future Cities Catapult and Advance London with a common goal of bringing together brilliant minds and individuals for a fun yet fruitful evening.
How collaboration and networking spurred during the event?
The event started at 6 PM with casual networking and a touch of circular food and drink, including Toast beers brewed with leftover bread (a circular drink tackling bread waste at an industrial level), and scrumptious zero-waste, organic snacks from Tiny Leaf London. Once the foyer was filled, Jon Kirkpatrick from the Future Cities Catapult, Emma McKenna from Advance London and Linda O’Halloran, one of the two CEC London organisers, delivered a quick introduction to their respective organizations and proceeded to the later half of the event, the Speed Networking session.
Dr David Greenfield, the other CEC London organiser ran the Speed Networking Session, which was very similar to Speed Dating. It took place in a separate room where those interested were randomly seated face-to-face to each other and once the 3-minute timer went off their partners changed. This was a wonderful opportunity to stimulate conversations and speak to multiple CE enthusiasts unlike the normal laissez-faire networking sessions where it often might be awkward to either start or leave a conversation. I personally thought this session was especially effective in getting to know the person seated in front of you at more personal level and more in depth. This not only broke the ice but carved pathways to follow-up with any questions or even make contacts that last for the long-term.
“We’re really conscious that for the circular economy to become a reality, we need to help all kinds of people from all kinds of industries to work together, and it can be intimidating to talk to strangers! So, we’re experimenting with different meet-up formats, from intimate dinners to big events like this one. To help those who didn’t know anyone upon arrival, and to help people identify people they might be able to collaborate with, we tried a speed-dating format this time.” – Linda O’Halloran
Takeaways from the Circular Economy Event:
- There’s a massive interest in circular economy in London, and scope for a lot more networking and collaboration within the community
- Some people have really excellent ideas! I met start-ups producing biodegradable baby wipes made from waste materials, and others developing online sharing platforms for circular Peterborough City, and another for sharing high tech assets, like drones and cameras. (I can look for links later)
What circular economy professionals thought about the event
“The speed-networking was great, everyone involved really played the game – it was sometimes hard to stop the conversation after 3 minutes ! I met people from such different backgrounds and working in very different sectors, people I would have probably never had the opportunity to talk to otherwise. It is quite an amazing feeling to realise that circular economy is also a guideline for all of them ! Overall, a very inspiring event.” – Justine
CEC London upcoming activities
After this successful event in December, the next CEC London event will be a circular economy mapping session on the 8th of February 2018. This session is a part of the bigger world-wide event Circular Economy Mapping Week, ran by CEC. During this week, there will be over 40 local mapping workshops all around the world, focused on identifying circular economy initiatives. All initiatives will then be gathered in a global database which will be public and freely available at CEC. The mapping sessions will also serve to further connecting circular economy practitioners and researchers, and therefore building a stronger network.
CEC was built around the vision of bringing the circular economy community together, CEC London and their partners share the same mission, and you can be part of it now by checking the CEC London page. If you are interested in attending or hosting a mapping session in your city, please check out the above link or get in touch.