We had a chat with Doctor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Luleå University of Technology (Sweden), Wiebke Reim.
Hi Wiebke! You where on of our highly appreciated keynote speakers during our latest Camp ”MORE FROM LESS – making rural arctic sidestreams more profitable” – what are your key take aways from the event?
It was a great event and it is so nice to see that there is such a big interest in these questions that are about circular economy and especially rural arctic side streams that also is of major interest in our research. It was also great to hear about all the fantastic examples and great initiatives that are already ongoing here in the arctic region.
You seem to be involved in many projects related to Circular Economy and Circular Business Models, how come you find that field so interesting and urgent?
Business and also research has previous mainly been focusing on corporate social responsibility (CSR) where companies should do good thinks for the society and the environment in addition to their normal business. But with the logic of circular economy and circular business models it is possible to achieve economic, social and environmental benefits simultaneously and I think that that is necessary in order to convince that majority of companies to engage in the transition to a more sustainable business.
At the Greennovation Camp you presented the SYMBIOMA-project, could you tell us a little more about it and what you have learned so far?
Symbioma is funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) Program and together with researchers and companies from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Ireland we want to improve the valorization of industrial food waste. We have seen large differences between the countries of how the utilization of food waste is organized. The partner countries have much to learn from each other and there is a huge potential to collaborate. We are also developing a technology innovation platform (TIP) at www.symbioma.eu where you can identify possibilities for valorization of the food waste that your company is producing. The project is very exiting and has created a lot of attention which shows that side streams need to be better utilized.
In the event you presented a few business cases that you have worked with in the project, is there something that you would like to highlight?
It is fantastic to see all the innovative companies that turn challenges into solutions, and it is important to communicate these good examples to other companies and to facilitate collaboration.
Is it possible for other companies to be involved in the project if they find it interesting?
Yes, of course. They can contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information and we are looking for companies that have good processes and technologies to make use of their side streams in food production and those that would like to improve the handling of their side/waste streams.
In 2019 your doctoral thesis won a price as “the best thesis of the year” by Vattenfall. Could you give a short summary of what it says and why you think it’s so accurate right now?
My thesis was about the implementation of new business models with a particular focus on risk management and collaboration. The knowledge from the thesis is now used to work with circular business models where the collaboration with other actors is a major factor for the success. In addition, only with a well-developed business model it will be possible to achieve the goal of the circular economy by creating economic, social, and environmental benefits simultaneously.
If you where to predict the soon future in business modeling – what do you see?
I see that business models need to become better in accounting for collaborations and partnerships where the business model also goes beyond the own company boundaries. I also see that we need to become better in highlighting the environmental and social value that a business model is creating and capturing. In addition, it is important to communicate that the business model components of value creation, value delivery and value capture need to be aligned and that changes in one component also will have an impact on the other components.
Anything else you would like to add?
It was a great experience to be part of the Greenovation Camp and I look forward to future events and activities from the Grude community.
Thank you for taking time Wiebke and good luck in all your future projects!