A ‘thinkathon’ is defined as a facilitated gathering of people from a variety of perspectives and expertise to think and talk and share ideas; to find radical new approaches to tough problems. We see the distinction between a thinkathon and a ‘hackathon’ being that the former does not necessarily require computer programmers or software developers to solve a challenge, and there is not necessarily a specific product or software/hardware developed as a result of the event.
At last year’s Forum, we held an invitation-only, thinkathon-style workshop which brought together the event’s speakers and select guests for a high-level discussion over two sessions. The purpose of that 2018 workshop was to ‘co-create the sustainable business of the future’. Sessions were led by a professional facilitator, and a graphic-recording partner (professional cartoonist) was also on hand to provide visual coverage of the key points made across both workshop sessions, as they were happening. An edie journalist was also in the room for both workshop sessions, recording the best ideas and producing a full report based on the discussion.
Following positive audience feedback, we are keen for the 2019 year’s Forum to be even more inspiring and engaging than before. The conference programme therefore includes several opportunities for audience engagement and collaborative discussions – including the brand-new PLASTICS THINKATHON. Read on for more details.
With Collins Dictionary revealing ‘single-use’ the word of the year, single-use plastics was one of the most talked about topics of 2018. That's why at this year's Sustainability Leaders Forum, we'll be holding a PLASTICS THINKATHON; giving you, the sustainability community an opportunity to spark new ideas and actions that will help businesses collectively solve the problem of plastics pollution.
Businesses from virtually all sectors have come under immense scrutiny and pressure to find alternatives to plastics, leading to many big-name brands publicly announcing commitments to phase-out single-use plastics and switch to alternative materials for their products and packaging.
But there is a long way to go before those commitments can become reality. First, there is a huge behavioural change challenge which must be addressed, then there is the issue of plastics recycling systems in the UK. And when it comes to the materials themselves, biodegradable alternatives carry their own environmental complexities and are not always a sustainable option. In many cases, PET remains the best material available for products.
The solution to all of these challenges is innovation and new ideas. This thinkathon will bring together a select group of sustainable business leaders and external thought-leaders and experts to co-create ideas that will solve plastic pollution.
Over the two sessions, the group will explore how businesses can play a leading role in eliminating unnecessary single-use plastics from our society through behavioural change, product redesign, alternative materials and new technological innovations.
The format and structure of the THINKATHON will be similar to that of the aforementioned workshop we ran last year. A private room will be booked out for the entire duration of the event.
You'll be provided with sticky notes, flipchart paper and whiteboards alongside a professional facilitator, who will steer the discussion.
A buffet lunch will be available throughout the duration of the THINKATHON at the back of the room, for participants to have as they please – keeping the session relaxed and informal, and keeping everyone energised.
Total time = 5 hours:
- Day One: 5 February 2019
Session title: “Packaging innovations: Unlocking new sustainability opportunities”
Session purpose: To collectively identify at least one new plastic packaging solution (e.g. through re-use or redesign).
11:00 – 1:30
Day Two: 6 February 2019
Session title: “Consumer engagement: Bringing people on the journey towards a circular economy for plastic
Session purpose: To collectively create a list of ‘quick-wins’ that will encourage consumers to re-use, recycle and ultimately avoid single-use plastics.
11:10 – 13:40
There will be 12-15 participants in each workshop session, with some attending both sessions over the 2 days.
Each will be led by a professional THINKATHON facilitator, and one of our edie journalists will join to ensure the full THINKATHON is covered on edie.net.