LAUNCH NORDIC CHALLENGE 2014 – in search of disruptive innovations that will transform the system of textiles, fabrics and fibers to the better

LAUNCH Nordic Innovation Challenge 2014 -  kick off ©LeaderlabIn the end all design objects, buildings, cities and stuff that surround us boils down to materials. Everything is made of this ‘something’ and as it unfortunately is now, sustainability is far from always present in the making. LAUNCH – an initiative started by NASA, USAID, Department of State, and NIKE in 2010 – is a global innovation platform tackling sustainability challenges within the system of making and materials. Now LAUNCH calls upon the LAUNCH Nordic Challenge in search of disruptive innovations that will transform the system of textiles, fabrics and fibers to the better…

LAUNCH & LAUNCH Nordic

LAUNCH unites global industry leaders and regional innovators to identify and scale sustainable innovations in materials. They set up challenges to identify and accelerate innovations that will change the world and has by now put focus on water health energy and waste. What has been going on in the US for some years now, putting focus on changing systems within making and materials has now also reached the Nordic. The initiative to introduce the Nordic region in the global LAUNCH collective was taken by a project group consisting of Leaderlab, Danish Design Center (DDC), Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA) and Danish Fashion Institute (DAFI). LAUNCH Nordic acts as an integrated but also independent initiative, allowing the Nordic initiative group and founding partners to tailor the system challenges and events to the Nordic context. It will take the benefits and capacity of the global LAUNCH platform and bring it to the Nordic region.

“The Nordic region is a pioneer when it comes to sustainability. I look forward to collaborating closely with Nordic companies and institutions on open innovation and scaling innovators in sustainable materials.”

Diane Powell, Chair LAUNCH and Head of Partnerships NASA

By doing that, it also introduces the Nordic region to a powerful global network that aims to bring sustainable change to the way we produce, use and recycle materials. The partner group engaged in LAUNCH Nordic is still growing. The current partner group includes the following institutions: IKEA group,  Novozymes, Kvadrat, ARLA, Danish Ministry of the Environment/EPA, Danish Ministry of Business and Growth/Danish Business Authority, Danish Foreign Ministry/Global Green Growth Forum – 3GF, University of Denmark, City of Copenhagen, Region of Denmark. This year LAUNCH Nordic put focus on textiles, fabrics and fibers – an industry that are extremely environmental damaging yet still not given enough attention to really improve conditions. Participants @LAUNCH Nordic Summit - Innovation Challenge 2014 @Design Society ©LeaderlabParticipants @LAUNCH Nordic Summit – Innovation Challenge 2014 @Design Society ©Leaderlab

On March 14th the LAUNCH Nordic Summit took place at Design Society in Copenhagen. Besides the core team behind LAUNCH – representatives from Nike, NASA etc. –  the summit was filled with global, professionals from all sectors of the textile industry, gathered to collaborate to address complex challenges. As a key part of the LAUNCH process the LAUNCH Nordic Challenge was released at the Summit. LAUNCH Nordic Panel Discussion @Design Society ©Leaderlab Ida Auken – MP, Diane Powell – NASA, Håkan Nordkvist – IKEA and Anders Byriel – KVADRAT at a LAUNCH Nordic Panel Discussion @Design Society ©Leaderlab

LAUNCH Nordic Challenge – submit your innovation

“LAUNCH Nordic is a great opportunity for IKEA to develop transformational innovations that can help solve global sustainability challenges. Collaboration can bring great results, for example we work closely with Nike to pioneer new techniques for textile dyeing that dramatically reduce the use of water, energy and chemicals. We look forward to being part of LAUNCH Nordic and helping to scale new materials innovations that make a big difference for people and the planet.”

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group

One of LAUNCH Nordic main goals is to identify and accelerate disruptive Nordic innovations with potential to revolutionize the materials industry across the system of materials, from raw materials to consumers. Innovators are therefore invited to submit their ideas and solutions. Submissions are reviewed and evaluated by a 30‐40 people panel of experts (the LAUNCH Nordic Council). LAUNCH then invites approximately 10 innovators to participate in the LAUNCH Forum, where they have access to, mentoring, networking opportunities, and key investors to enable them to bring their innovations to market. The LAUNCH Nordic Council will besides Nordic stakeholders include strong, relevant international stakeholders from the global LAUNCH community bringing a unique networking platform to the innovators.
DEADLINE for submitting ideas is June 1st 2014.
Read much more and submit your material innovation here.

* * * * *

Materials have a significant impact on the planet. It is estimated that around 150 billion garments were produced around the world in 2010. By 2015, the global apparel industry is expected to produce more than 400 billion square meters of fabric every year – enough to cover the whole of Sweden – or Denmark 10 times. LAUNCH Nordic sets the tone for future development and sustainability of materials and how they are made. By submitting your idea you now have the chance to become a game-changer in an industry with loads of challenges…. – And possibilities.

The Fabric Source launched

While talking about sustainble textiles it is a must to mention another initiative that puts focus on doing much better in the textile industri: The Fabric Source started by Danish Fashion Institute (DAFI) as a part of the Nordic Initiative, Clean and Ethical (NICE) project. Fabric Source @DesignSocietyPart of the Fabric Source @DesignSociety
The Fabric Source is the North’s first Nordic sustainable fabric library. The aim is to accommodate the fashion industry’s need for organized information and guidance about sustainable fabrics and encourage further innovation within the field 
The library’s collection ranges from natural and organic textiles to repurposed and recycled fabrics, as well as innovative renewables. The Fabric Source is located at the Design Society in the heart Copenhagen.
Find more info here.


Maria HørmannAbout Maria Hørmann
Maria Hørmann is editor of ‘Hello Materials Blog’ and one of the Change Makers in the Design & Innovation team at Danish Design Centre. Since 2009 she has worked on several innovation projects bringing together creatives and the industry to work on future solutions. She has a broad knowledge and network within the environmental- , technological- and material area, is co-curator on Hello Materials Exhibition, curator of ‘My Darling Materials’ and has a background as a trained cabinet maker. > More about Maria Hørmann

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