Where do you see the essential factors for a Lab of Tomorrow process to actually lead to marketable solutions?
Tin can: The basis is to understand the challenge and the underlying causes as well as the business potential in depth at the beginning. The composition of the teams is also very important. It takes a driver, someone for the concept, someone to bring in the business side and a technician. Above all, however, the participants must have resources available, in particular the necessary time. And the costs for the test and pilot phases also have to be borne largely by the companies themselves.
Do the participants show the necessary commitment?
Tin can: Basically yes, there is still some skepticism about the design thinking method: Should I release an employee for tinkering with colored pieces of paper without a clearly expected end result? We have to make it clear: It's about investing in the innovation of sustainable business models. And for that you need the willingness to invest a little bit into the unknown. And getting involved with new partners - that is not easy for everyone either. Afterwards, everyone was actually all the more enthusiastic about the new approaches, networks and partnerships. In addition, I am very happy to see how the format has developed and hope that impact investors and foundations will soon support us and that this concept will become something of a sure-fire success.
So now the first Lab of Tomorrow is in Austria gestartet. What are you hoping for?
Tin can: The basic requirements are very good: The topic of waste management in the Western Balkans is highly relevant and offers great potential for companies. And the ADA is on board. It is not “just” the 15th lab, but a cooperation that can have a particularly high impact. Since Austria and Switzerland have now taken up our concept, there is great potential and synergies to scale the Lab of Tomorrow together and to make cooperation with development cooperation even more attractive for companies in the sense of the SDG.