New sustainable solutions for a better tomorrow
CORO, Co-lab is the result of an ambitious vision of creating innovative collaborations. The local innovation platform creates new sustainable solutions to complex societal challenges. It takes place in cross-sectorial cooperation’s between public organizations, academia, civil society and businesses across industries. Through the activities, new sustainable scalable solutions are developed, using the entire area of Roskilde as a unique real-life test platform with demonstration facilities.
The innovation platform commences locally and subsequently upscales solutions to solve complex societal challenges both on national and global level. The civil society benefits from the innovations which are explained further in the text below.
The innovation platform works with projects, where a single actor is not enough, but where cross-sectorial cooperation is required. One or more members of the collaboration initiate each project, and relevant actors as well as civil society are involved to test the project using their resources, knowledge or test platforms, all of which may contribute to the development of new solutions. The innovation platform speeds up the process from idea to solutions, ready for the market.
An example of social innovation is COCONF, which is an innovation process where public sector, academia and private actors from all of Denmark are called upon to present their new solutions to complex challenges put forward by larger organizations. COCONF is hosted annually and 2019 is the third year in a row. More than 2500 representatives from both private and public sector and over 2500 students have been involved so far.
Examples of new sustainable solutions developed:
Center for flood and cloudburst protection through a simulation environment
Flooding is categorized as one of the world’s biggest natural disaster. The damages between 2003-2013 has cost the EU 150 billion EUR. The Center for Flood Protection will help to strengthen the knowledge and competence of citizens, so that they are better prepared to take an active role in both emergency response efforts and preventing their homes from potential damage. The core of this venture is a simulation environment in Roskilde, which will act as a testing and training facility for citizens, cities and Emergency Services both within and outside of Denmark. At the same time, companies can use the center to develop, test and demonstrate new solutions. The goal of the project is an efficient Emergency Service, whose knowledge gain puts society at large in a better position to prevent and handle flooding. The project was initiated by the Emergency Services. The partner collaborations driving the project consists of several businesses, the municipality and several academic institutions, which hence makes it a public private innovation partnership. Building the simulation center is estimated to start during the 1st quarter of 2020. The whole concept together with the simulation center will be possible to upscale and duplicate to other cities and countries.
Creating better learning environments in the Municipality’s schools
In 2018 Roskilde Municipality and the local company IST Ltd. presented a shared challenge on how to create better learning environments for the schools in the municipality. The winning solution was a ‘climate-box’, which, along with sensors, an app and educational material, has the indoor climate in the classrooms as its focal point. The cross-sectorial partnership between the parties ensured that the project went from idea to realization at a rapid rate. The solution has been tested at several primary schools in Roskilde during 2019. Both pupils and teachers are involved in testing and verifying the “climate- box” via a co-creation process. After the testing phase, it is expected that the solution will be implemented in all schools in Roskilde city and subsequently to more schools in DK.
Another example of a project that has emerged from COCONF is “Climate Button” In 2018, the housing association Boligselskabet Sjælland presented a challenge on optimization the energy consumption in their non-profit housings. The housing association teamed up with several other small companies as well as academic institutions, to develop a solution, that could be tested and developed at the residence of the housing association. The new solution is a climate button used by the residents themselves to regulate the indoor climate and indirectly minimizing the energy consumption in the long term. The development of the Climate Button is based on preexisting and tested solutions where the interplay between these preexisting solutions are connected through a new application. The innovation collaboration works with energy optimization in a new way that has not been used before in housing projects. The solution is expected to reduce energy consumption by 15%. As an example, a building with 172 apartments and an annual consumption of 1,810,000 kWh will have an annual saving of DKK 190,000 (25.427,89 EUR). In addition to annual energy consumption savings, the solution will also be able to alleviate the problems and costs of mold remediation - not just the financial costs but also the material costs and health issues, caused by mold. The resulting product can contribute to reduce the climate footprint from housing in the future.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
The innovation platform is one of its kind. The focus is on creating new sustainable solutions to address and solve complex social challenges. The platform is pooling an enormous local innovation capacity which includes cross-sectorial cooperation, involving civil society, private companies across industries, academia and public sector. The focus is on starting locally in order to make a change and from that be able to make an impact globally. All projects that originate from the innovation platform will be either triple or quadruple helix collaborations. The uniqueness of the platform is the innovation capacity sprung from real-life test platforms. These platforms allow all solutions to be executed and tested in a real environment and in a faster way, bringing them closer to an actual commercialisation and upscaling potential.
What is the current status of your innovation?
CORO lab was created in 2015 and has for the past three years created COCONF, where more than 2.500 representatives from both private and public sector and over 2.500 students have been involved so far. The amount of members have increased as well as the different types of challenges. During the years some of the new sustainable solutions have turned into business and have developed new workplaces in the region. Students have turned their ideas into business, companies have developed new partnerships with academia and the municipality have found new solutions of societal challenges. CORO-lab moves on creating new sustainable solutions and aim to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, by turning them into practical and sustainable societal improvements.
Collaborations & Partnerships
The innovation platform aims to create solutions for a better tomorrow. CORO, Co-lab consists of + 40 members. The actors bring the relevant knowledge and expertise needed to each project and gives access to real-life test platforms as well as financing. Furthermore, members contribute with human resources in the projects. The outcome are cross-sectorial projects, shared with CORO, Co-lab, the municipality and the surroundings. All solutions are up scalable and replicable.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
All solutions developed are generated from collaborations founded through the innovation platform, benefitting the society. The government benefits from the innovations by the economic impact. The companies enhance their innovation capacity and creates more workplaces. Researchers develop a closer relation to above actors. By building relations in crosscutting activities this can create new relevant and concrete projects through knowledge building and awareness.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
The innovation platform has created a local symbiosis connecting stakeholders in order to solve the social challenges we are facing. The platform includes real-life testbeds/ platforms within all fields, accessing and making use of the whole area as a platform, such as engaging the housing cooperative, the town hall, schools, the festival etc. The platform is the only one in Denmark of its kind, as it covers the whole process from recognizing a challenge, bringing relevant knowledge to the table, establishing the partnerships, developing the solutions and through user-driven innovation testing on real-life test beds before bringing it to the market. Additionally, financial support is available through the whole process.
The impact of creating the Center for flood and cloudburst protection will reduce the economic cost from damages. The climate-box will develop healthy learning environments and the climate bottom is expected to reduce consumption by 15 %.
Challenges and Failures
The concept of the innovation platform was initiated and formulated by the municipality. The momentum in continuing the engagement and keep building the innovative capacity can be a challenge, if the ownership is not shared among all stakeholders involved. The essence is that the innovation platform shall live on its own and that all actors are engaged and feel ownership of the platform and projects. Hence above we have managed to engage the capacity of the other actors and the ownerships has swapped.
Conditions for Success
In order to have an independent secretariat, the innovation platform is financed through membership fees. The platform is not for profit is governed by a democratic board selected by the members which shall represent a diverse type of members. The actors participating in the innovation platform are connected through an innovation secretariat which facilitates the processes within the projects. The team is independent and neutral with the only objective to connect the right decision-makers and manage and facilitate development projects. The team supports the projects by ensuring a focused project management where the vision outstands the individual agendas of the different actors. The key for success, which we have experience with, is when the challenge is anchored in a real challenge that only can be solved if all actors contribute to the process.
The innovation platform is based locally allowing the innovation capacity, and test-platforms to work in a symbiosis closely aligned. Thanks to the restricted size of the area, all actors have easy access one another´s knowledge as well as the test platforms. The innovation hub has gotten interest from other cities in DK and even abroad. The concept is scalable with adjustments based on what capacities that exist in the given city.
All Projects mentioned are scalable or replicable which is one of the preconditions.
The municipality was the key driver in creating CORO, Co-lab and is still part of the board as an equal member/actor. It involved all stakeholders to build the capacity needed and everybody helped in an open space innovation to set-up the different themes and address the needed solutions. This built the crosscutting activities, which has become part of the DNA in CORO, Co-lab. It is important to invest time and resources in order to build capacity and the set-up requires that all members can take part at a level playing field. Even though the municipality was part of founding CORO, Co-lab, they are not the key driver today.