CE Discovery Workshop – Building the Interdisciplinary Community online


This highly focused 2-day online conference drew together a large number of experts in unprecedented circumstances, even breaking a world record for online participation in the adventures of Lego® Serious Play®.

Eighty-two individuals took part, representing areas of specialism which include the arts and humanities, design, management, biological, engineering, environmental, physical and social sciences (including policy and behaviour change) and emerging fields such as big data, artificial intelligence, the creative economy and synthetic biology.

Lego® Serious Play® is a hands-on, non-hierarchical and collaborative facilitation method enabling playful interaction and creative thinking.

Through describing and modelling the Lego® pieces (posted in quarantined packs across the UK and Europe), participants were able to define individual identity and find a group voice. Meaning and insights were shared from a place where circular economy becomes a reality. This was explored in practical terms from many different perspectives and disciplines.

In day 1, community building techniques normally employed in face-to-face settings were translated for this new online world by a team of enterprising facilitators coached by Holly Henderson, in association with the Exeter Centre for Circular Economy in the University of Exeter Business School.

Day 2 looked at cross-cutting themes, challenges and opportunities for the transition towards a circular economy. Inspirational keynote speakers were:

Markus Zils (RETURNITY)

Tom Murray and Maya De Souza (DEFRA)

Hugo Spowers (Riversimple)

Chris Grantham (IDEO)

Hege Saebjornsen (IKEA)

Frank Boons (University of Manchester)

Despite the emerging restrictions of the global pandemic, since the Discovery Workshop, the CE-HUB’s community is evolving rapidly into a sizeable online presence through curated events and personable engagement which have nurtured connectivity and meaning during this extraordinary time. The CE Discovery Workshop surprised and inspired participants and facilitators alike, setting the scene for deeper collaboration across the circular economy landscape.

Read about these in the CE-HUB Discovery Workshop Summary & Analysis document (PDF).