Oct 5, 2016 / by Chad Park / In PPP Rapid Lab

Introducing Ontario’s Printed Paper and Packaging Rapid Lab


The Printed Paper and Packaging Rapid Lab is the first initiative from Ontario’s Circular Economy Innovation Lab (CEIL). Based on The Natural Step’s (TNS) successful Sustainability Transition Lab model, CEIL will build capacity across a range of Ontario stakeholders to tackle the challenge of building a circular economy and create breakthrough solutions by learning to think, work and innovate together.

For the first time ever, TNS will be adopting what we are calling a “Rapid Lab” format. Rather than diving directly into a multi-year fellowship program (like we did with the Energy Futures Lab in Alberta) we’ll be coming out of the gate with a short but impactful series of workshops focused on a specific material flow: printed paper and packaging. The outputs and lessons of the Rapid Lab will help kick-start the broader CEIL fellowship program in 2017.

Over the next three months, Chris Lindberg and the CEIL team will bring together innovators and thought leaders from different sectors to develop a shared vision for the future of paper and packaging materials in a circular economy.

Participants will have a chance to work with government and industry leaders such as Unilever, IKEA Canada, Canada’s National Brewers, and Canadian Tire over the course of three intensive workshops. In addition, they will complete independent readings and self-directed work to round out the group’s discussions. The three workshops will include:

Workshop #1: Laying the Foundation

  • In this first workshop participants develop a shared understanding of the circular economy and some of the challenges and opportunities the circular economy presents for printed paper and packaging.

Workshop #2: Backcasting

  • Adopting TNS’ successful backcasting approach, participants will spend three days developing a shared vision and agenda for a circular economy future for printed paper and packaging materials in Ontario. They will identify the innovation pathways that can get us from today to that desired future as well as developing some initial prototype ideas for joint action.

Workshop #3: Convergence

  • Participants will finalize the vision and innovation pathways, prioritize prototypes that are ripe for implementation and determine next steps for collaboration.

Throughout the course of the Rapid Lab, participants will work together to align existing efforts and establish new opportunities for improvement amongst the group. The objective of the workshops is to encourage participants to debate, discuss and innovate new concepts and strategies in a respectful and creative environment – one that gives room for participants to think through those crazy ideas they’d never suggest back at the office.

To stay up to date on the progress of our very first Rapid Lab, stay tuned to @CircularEconLab on Twitter and subscribe to CEIL’s newsletter.

author_chad_park ‘Introducing Ontario’s Printed Paper and Packaging Rapid Lab’ was written by Chad Park. Chad is The Natural Step’s Chief Innovation Officer and has been at the helm of successful Sustainability Transition Labs like the Energy Futures Lab and the Natural Capital Lab.