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Creative solutions for the biobased transition: Final report “From Award to Impact” is now available

Climate change has a major impact on our daily lives. Socially, it is important that innovative, sustainable materials are put into use on a large(er) scale to help realize the transition to a sustainable world. The creative industries can and want to play an important role in this bio-based materials transition. For many designers, this is the main reason why they focus on the (further) development of biobased materials. There is no lack of good ideas. Innovative biobased product designs regularly win awards. However, the necessary step toward broad societal impact does not take place. This is frustrating for the designers and detrimental to society.

That is why the research project “From Award to Impact” sought more effective ways for the creative industry to use their biobased innovations to achieve the impact they strive for: accelerating the biobased transition and improving our living environment.  All findings are now compiled in the final report.

Biobased designers, policy makers and stakeholders have explored how unconventional economic models can enhance the (environmental) impact of biobased solutions. This is because the conventional market model, in which societal impact is realized by developing a biobased innovation into a commercially marketable product, proves problematic in practice. It often fails, leaving potentially world-improving innovations on the shelf.


Social mission

The report, written by Sebastian Olma, Douwe-Frits Broens, Kaj Morel and Estelle Nieuwenkamp, is now available and is of specific interest to anyone directly or indirectly involved in the development of biobased materials. The study makes clear which bottlenecks are experienced in the commercial impact route and, at the same time, shows that it is still difficult for all involved to get away from it. A possible promising impact route is a mission-driven innovation in which those involved subordinate their individual interests to the social mission of the biobased materials transition and form a collective in which rules, roles and responsibilities are reconsidered. In the follow-up study titled ‘Collectieve Innovatie voor de Biobased Transitie’ (Collective Innovation for the Biobased Transition), we will further elaborate this impact route together with representatives from the creative industry and other stakeholders, so that the creative industry can actually take the role it wants to take.



The research project ‘From Award to Impact’ was financially supported by CLICK.NL and brought together a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Avans University of Applied Sciences’ Caradt, BWNO and MNEXT as well as industry partners from Biobased Creations and the Dutch Design Foundation.

The final report can be read herearrow For more details on ‘From Award to Impact’, click below and stay tuned for updates on our follow-up research on Collective Innovation.

From Award to Impact

The aim of this project is to design effective new impact pathways for creative interventions based on new insights, drawing on unorthodox models from the economic sciences. The project, which brings together creative designers, policy makers, and stakeholders, focuses on interventions that are aimed at accelerating the sustainable materials transition. We want to determine whether and how heterodox economic models can be used to develop new pathways, or to broaden existing pathways, that will increase the (environmental) impact of biobased solutions.

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‘Consumers are creatures of habit. If we want them to break routine and live sustainably, we have to do more than just offer sustainable alternatives. ’

Estelle Nieuwenkamp is a researcher in the New Marketing research group at the Centre of Expertise for Sustainable Business, and tutor with the Academy for Marketing and Business Management at Avans, Breda.

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‘Our research group investigates the role artists, designers and cultural producers in general can play in developing the aesthetics and poetics of a desirable future.’

Sebastian Olma is professor Cultural and Creative Industries. He works for the Expertise Centre Art, Design and Technology.

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Research Group: Cultural and Creative Industries

The research group Cultural and Creative Industries investigates the role of artists and designers as creative innovators and drivers of social and economic change. Affiliated researchers analyse the cultural and creative industries from a critical point of view and examine the conditions under which timely forms of aesthetic expression and social connectedness can actually take place within the precarious reality of this field. What economic models are required by artists and designers to create a meaningful practice within the aesthetic, social, and economic intentions of the cultural and creative industries? What skills sets are required for those artists and designers who don’t just want to follow movements, but actually shape novel social and economic models of the future?

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