As profiled on Worldchanging in November 2009, future-focused conference organization PopTech has partnered with Nike to convene a year-long “innovation journey” on new green materials and industrial processes. Their first event, the Ecomaterials Lab, occurred last week.
PopTech is bringing together a network of innovators and decision-makers, brilliant and unconventional, to explore new ideas and identify areas for collaboration and ways to accelerate change in a domain of vital importance to business, society and the planet.
This exclusive and moderated learning session among a one-of-a-kind network of thought-leaders will rigorously map the issues, challenges and opportunities around a specific area of future change, and identify new incentives to unlock further innovation.
Ecomaterials Lab questions to be answered:
What are the new ultra green materials and where do they come from?
How would the global industrial supply chain need to change at scale to adapt to these new materials?
What are the incentives needed to accelerate innovation in the creation of new materials and supply chain adaptation?
Collectively, we unearthed a number of deep insights into this emerging domain. We learned that while we’re spending all of our time thinking about sustainability and climate change in terms of energy sector, in many ways materials may represent a bigger and more impactful part of the problem.
We learned about an entirely new, emerging paradigm within the field of lifecycle assessment, that is revealing how materials that look ‘green’ frequently aren’t; that the reverse is also frequently true. We saw firsthand that the biosciences are about to have as big an impact on the energy and materials sectors as they do in healthcare. We learned that industry is way ahead of government in thinking about these issues and that both are way ahead of the average citizen.
And we saw firsthand demonstrations of technologies that turn everything from chicken feathers, spider silk, and even raw sewage (!) into useable biopolymers. Most importantly, we created a new and, for the field, unconventional network of thought leaders who are already beginning to collaborate.