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Transcript: Circular Conversations and a New Economy with Emanuele Di Francesco

Transcript: Circular Conversations and a New Economy with Emanuele Di Francesco

SEE THE SHOW NOTES AND LISTEN AT:  Circular Conversations and a New Economy with Emanuele Di Francesco

Katie Whalen [00:00:00] Before we get started with today's episode, I wanted to tell you about something awesome. If you're giving presentations related to Circular economy or if you just wanna learn a little bit more about Circular economy basics, head over to slidedeck.Gettinginthelooppodcast.com to grab a free presentation that I've created based off of presentations that I've given over the course of the last couple of years. And what it is as you can use it as a starting point for your own presentation. So it's PowerPoint presentation you can add or adapt your own slides into it, or you can just go through the presentation and learn a little bit more about the basics behind Circular economy. So it's 20 slides. It starts off with why we need a circular economy, what is the concept and how can we implement this in practice? And then at the end it finishes with some links to different reports and other resources so you can learn a little bit more on your own. Okay, so now onto today's podcast.

[00:01:03] Hi, I'm Katie Whalen and join me each week as I talk with experts around the globe about Circular economy. You'll find out what's being done to make it a reality and if it can really solve the problems it promises. It's time for Getting in the Loop.

[00:01:25] Welcome back to the Getting in the Loop Podcast. I'm Katie. And today, we're getting in the loop with Emanuele Di Francesco, founder of the online platform Circular Conversations.

[00:01:36] Emanuele is a passionate researcher and entrepreneur in the space of Circular economy. And he has an interest in opening up societal dialogue and working on impactful initiatives. He is currently responsible for setting up collaborative initiatives between startups and corporates to accelerate the transition to the Circular economy at the Unknown Group. In this episode, you will learn about his platform Circular Conversations, where he aims to engage thought leaders in thinking related to Circular economy. I also talked to Emanuele about his work related to setting up circular economy related projects at the Unknown Group. This is the first podcast of 2020, so I hope you all had a great holiday season and that your new year is off to a wonderful start.

[00:02:27] With the new year, I have decided to make a couple of changes to the Getting in the Loop Podcast. Over the last year, I've enjoyed putting out a new episode every week, and I have decided to scale back the podcast release schedule to every other week.

[00:02:41] This will allow me to ensure I'm consistently bringing you the best quality with each new episode. So because of this and if you haven't subscribe to the podcast on your favorite platforms such as iTunes or Spotify, make sure you do so now so that you'll be notified when each new episode comes out and then you don't have to keep track of is it this week or next week or was it which week? Has it already been a week since she released an episode? So just subscribe to the podcast and then you'll be notified when new podcast episodes are released. And I'm looking forward to continuing to get to know you guys over the next rest of this year and bring you some great quality content. Got some really great interviews coming out for you soon. So stay tuned.

[00:03:30] Emanuele, I can't wait to jump into our interview, and first I'd like to welcome you to the Getting in the Loop podcast.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:03:39] Thanks, Katie. It's a great pleasure to be here with you.

Katie Whalen [00:03:42] Yeah, I'm so glad we finally had the chance to connect and to start us off, can you just tell the listeners where you're calling from?

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:03:51] Sure. And calling from Rotterdam, more specifically, the 11th floor of the Rotterdam Science Tower, which is a building where science meets entrepreneurship. So it's the host building of the Erasmus Center for entrepreneurship. It's a very fertile environment for anything that comes related to science and entrepreneurship indeed.

Katie Whalen [00:04:13] Wow. Well, 11 storeys up is quite high for being in the Netherlands.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:04:18] Indeed, it certainly is. You have a great view over the harbor.

Katie Whalen [00:04:21] Oh, wow. That sounds really, really nice. And I just wanted to maybe share with the listeners. You're originally not from the Netherlands, though, right?

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:04:31] Yes, that's correct. As you might guess from my accent as well, I'm from Italy, originally from Rome.

[00:04:37] Proud of my origins, but also proud traveling of the world. So I've been studying and living in the Netherlands for seven years now. So, yes, I'm not yet at ease with the language, but I'm quite up to date with the Dutch developments.

Katie Whalen [00:04:54] Yeah, well, I'm excited to talk a little bit about that. And of course, we're going to talk about your platform, Circular Conversations. But before we do, I just wanted to start off with a bit of a general introduction. So could you tell a little bit about your background and what you're doing now?

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:05:13] Yeah, to be very short, I have a background in philosophy and economics. So one way to see that is basically I will always been very interested in socio-economic structures and how these structures go influencing the behaviors of the actors inside them. And the philosophy in there is basically the willingness to look for unconventional answers to what might be the prevailing norms around. So one way in which I like to see myself is as a researcher and researcher of alternative solutions to what the system is currently or what the norm is right now and hopefully getting better through these alternatives.

Katie Whalen [00:05:55] And right now you're doing a little bit something different than research, if I understand correctly, because you're also you're working full time at a group that's called the Unknown Group. Could you tell a little bit about what your work there looks like?

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:06:14] Unknown Group is fundamentally an innovation partner of governments and corporates around the world. And our mission is indeed to partner up with both public and private actors in order to create what we like to call an ecosystem of enablers of change. So an ecosystem where all the sectors that have the capacity and the capabilities to enable change are together and can work together. Unknown Group is an organization which comprises different brands underneath among which is one is Getting the Ring, which is a startup competition active in more than one in 10 countries around the world where we basically give the possibility 2 and 3 partners from every corner of the world to showcase their solution to their most pressing challenges of our times and to connect with relevant stakeholders. Let it be in their stories or cooperates to collaborate together to be able to say this same. Very simply, the Unknown Group we ever focused on technology scouting. So the way we typically work is connecting startups and scale ups with very promising technologies and business models with corporates. We might be a bit less agile, but with higher resources in order to lead development projects together. So in a way, innovating together, leveraging each other strengths and resources.

Katie Whalen [00:07:43] Wow.So if I understand correctly, you're working with startups and trying to also match them and have them collaborate with larger corporations. And are you specifically looking at initiatives related to Circular economy in this realm?

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:08:01] The Unknown Group, generally speaking, it's very much spread into its interests story works as we see across different verticals and different topics and domains. Myself being very passionate about circular economy, I'm now in the lead by an initiative indeed that deals specifically with Circular economy innovations.

[00:08:24] And the idea is it's very simple. It's very similar to what I told you before, which is to connect cooperates with very air quality startups and scale ups who have scalable circular propositions, let it be technologies and business models. For pilot projects, coal innovation together in order to accelerate the transition, so we very much believe that this type of collaboration with enactors that are so different among themselves by the same time complementary especially the relationship is set with the right conditions in place. This type of relationship can be a great vehicle for the generation of new ideas and most importantly, the scaling of these new ideas on a global level.

Katie Whalen [00:09:10] Exactly.  I can definitely see that being sort of helping to stimulate and encourage the transition. I'm thinking. Do you have- I don't know how early it is in this phase, but do you have examples of initiatives or pilots or actual projects that you've done where you've connected these startups with the greater, larger organizations and things like that.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:09:41] Yes, certainly without getting to the names and what's true for, yeah, confidentiality issues and projects there still ongoing. But they can say what are some of the ends that we see around. An important part of them is certainly in the fashion industry, where corporates, especially committed ones, are trying to dramatically decrease the amount of waste that the industry and the amount of pollution in the industry currently creates through its operations. So this is anything that goes from track and trace solutions to recycling technologies, able to separate different materials to buy your feedstock. They can go replacing animal leather, for instance, or other materials which are not sustainably sourced. So the industry, the fashion industry, certainly one of the major ones. We see quite some movement as well. In the automotive industry. So go for car components, but also more holistically of what mobility will be in the future. And then certainly a great path into packaging and plastics. So there are many corporates who are trying to find that the band's materials and novel solutions that can allow low carbon sustainable alternative to plastics. So either being a superior type of plastic or completely replacing the concept of plastic altogether.

Katie Whalen [00:11:10] So it seems like there's a lot of different. Focuses for for this sort of match between the corporates and startups. Do. How can you just share a little bit about how it works? Is it usually like the corporates that contact you? Or is it the startups who who are contacting you to try to be put in contact with the corporates? Maybe you can just share a little bit about which side it's coming from.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:11:41] Yes, definitely. Our work is always we are. We see a world such as innovation, partner rates of corporates and governments and in order to partner up. Especially when you go to someone with a very, very long history, they may not come to you in the first place. And what we also see typically is that they do not necessarily know what they're looking for. So the way we work is we set up certain projects starting from our mission and starting from our beliefs of how innovation can happen nowadays and how innovation in a certain domain like the circular economy can happen. And starting from the innovation, we go contacting those corporates who we see have a stake in the discussion. Everybody nowadays, almost every company in the world that said some sustainability gods or commitment 2030, 2050, next year, it doesn't really matter. What we see though, is that for most of them, if not for almost all of them, it's not yet clear what is the actionable plan to get there. So even don't get these commitments. You have these goals which are kind of reassuring and promising from a corporate perspective. I would say from a societal perspective, there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding how to do that. And we believe that connecting different types of actors. So the resourceful and knowledge for corporates, together with the more agile and innovative startups and scale ups, you can unlock all the potential that we actually need to unlock to make the transition happen. So that's, I would say, our way of working, so we go connecting with startups, proposing our view, our way of doing innovation and wherever it is, a shared vision and a shared mission. We then embark on a journey of scouting. So that's the technology scouting part scouting the most promising solutions on the market globally. And typically, these solutions are indeed very agile, very normative players like startup syndicate ups.

Katie Whalen [00:13:53] Thanks for sharing a little bit about that. I find it really interesting to discover how companies are actually working with the concept of Circular economy, and I also think what you're doing with trying to match these initiatives together and solve the same sort of problem. I think it's it's quite beneficial. So I really enjoyed hearing about your work at the Unknown Group. I now would like to turn the conversation a little bit to something that you've been that you've also created, which is a platform called Circular Conversations, where you've had the chance to interview some inspiring leaders around the topic of Circular economy. And for my listeners, can you just explain the concept and the ambition behind circular conversations?

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:14:44] With great pleasure. Fundamentally, circular conversation is, first of all, our one year old creator by now. So it's a project that started in September 2000, then 18 exactly to be more than one year ago. And the it started to be a way of trying to provide a space for societal dialog, which was not the space that we currently see in social media or in anger. Anger and aggressive discussions on television, for instance, showed the concept of circular conversations, which I see as a decentralized and independent platform, is to provide a space for a societal dialog which is open. It's critical. It's empty of prejudices and preconceptions about what is right and what is wrong with the intention of trying to be together in a collective form. A different view, a different vision for the future and not only a threat, different good ideas, which I am fond of ideas and also keeping your mind in the abstract. But then ultimately very much matters which actions, which initiatives you come up to make a certain addition realized. And that's it. The idea behind so it's a series of conversations, as you said, with thought leaders in different sectors from academia, policymakers, community, either its consultants about things that are related in any possible way to a different socio economic system. One of the focuses is indeed on the circular economy by the results. So I see an understanding of what the circular economy is as a concept. And if you want to make an Austrian, operate on that. And just to conclude this kind of introduction, the conversation or circular are not because they follow a circular reasoning, which is indeed the logical fallacy that they well know from my research studies before, but very much is there because the ambition is to have these conversations going around and circulating again, being captured by other people around at least some ideas in the conversations being captured and becoming a sort of fertile soil for the birth of father ideas, critical perspectives and solutions. So that's in a way what the ambition is around this platform.

Katie Whalen [00:17:21] That's a quite a large ambition, but I think it's good to have large ambitions. Is there a specific leadership that you're trying to target with the circular conversations?

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:17:36] What do you mean by a leader?

Katie Whalen [00:17:38] Leadership or sort of an audience?

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:17:42] Sorry. I understood leadership. Yes, certainly. The primary target of these conversations are the young generation. So people like me and I put you as well in there. I guess we detect much difference in time in age. So the younger generations, because what we've seen sometimes is what I'm scared about is a bit this past week feeling that we can get this kind of resignation, even though it's very much an opposite to what we are seeing. We know the youth movements, but when he started there was not so prominent the youth movements, but the idea was basically to involve the young generations into this kind of dialog, make them familiar with certain kind of concepts. What are the thematics that we should be talking about in order to be as in the first place? Designing the next economy and not waiting it to be done by some external people who might not be here in 20, 30 or 40 years?

Katie Whalen [00:18:41] Before we talk a little bit more about circular conversations. I'm just a little bit curious to hear from you because you have a background in economics and philosophy. What is your possession and thoughts on secular economy as a concept? Maybe it's a big question, but yeah.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:19:05] But it's I think it's important to us to be questioned in this case because if you go to us more and then you end up really missing the big picture and also most importantly, run the risk of missing the opportunity that comes with the circular economy, et cetera. And the biggest danger. Maybe it's good to start from that is to see the circular economy as a recycling economy, to see the circular economy simply as a way of keeping growth well, ticking away magically like he was a wizard to the environmental impact of economic activities. Of seeing these as a slight change into business as usual, and they think that to avoid these risk, especially at this point in time, it's important to make the circular economy a vehicle for something bigger than that. Certainty is not everything about the Circular economy and the Circular economy through its different schools of thought. It needs three and three different influences that you've got over the concept. Had seating key principle inside, which basically lead to our profound managed mindset shift, and I think that that mindset shift that we should leverage to actually design and economic system, our social economic system, which is fundamentally different from what we have today. So if you just use the words restorative, regenerative and distributed. And saving this economy while keeping abundance. I think that there are limitless ways. To use this concept as a vehicle for change, which is more than business operations, which is more than recycling, which is more than simply optimizing the supply chain, which don't get me wrong, they're fundamentally aspects, but I see the circular economy as the opportunity to fundamentally change. The way our society is structured right now, and that's true, I am very much sympathetic towards contributions like the one by Alex Fleming, where he talks about Circular economy as the tool of eliminating poverty as much as eliminates waste. Poverty might not exist in nature and might not even the problem. But. To make the Circular economy something ambitious is, for me, the primary objective in being this conversation. I use the word contamination for that contamination, a positive sense. So the contaminants from ancient Greece and ancient Rome, where basically was a fusion of elements of different stories to create a new story. And for me, that's the Circular economy. Circular economy has certain principles. And then if you create a fusion in the story with elements coming from the well being it on him, elements came from the social economy, elements going for the sharing economy, then all these stories together. Can possibly give rise to the macro narrative, the micro story that we so desperately need in order to make the change that we actually require.

Katie Whalen [00:22:19] Wow. That was extremely eloquent and very well put in thinking about what you said, I also see these sort of two to let me call them camps for lack of a better word, but kind of developing in the Circular economy scene right now, which is, you know, the one group that's talking about circular economy with a lowercase E for economy where it's thinking about business as usual and have to do a little bit, how to do business a little bit better. But within this current. Confines of the existing economy. And then there's the other camp, which is circular economy with the big E, which is actually talking about the economy and changing how we're doing things as a society and not just business as usual, but going be on business as usual.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:23:18] Exactly. Yes. I think that said, let's that's a very, let's say, kind of useful distinction and show we should never forget that we too easily, I think. And I also put myself in there when it comes to Circular economy. We are. We have almost an inbuilt conviction. Then the economy is the businesses. Why what they've been trying to do as well in the uncertain conversations and especially in one project that even in Kenya was to shed light on the community side of the Circular economy. Right. So how much community initiatives, how much bottom up initiatives that come from the people that come from communities can shape our economy. Then just always waiting for the big players to change it for us. On one side, it's clear without corporates making this shift, given the impact they have nowadays and given the impact that they are asking for the future. So everybody wants to grow their reach out now is very common to. We want to reach 2 billion people by 2030. We want to serve 3 billion customers by 2050. So it's important to have them on board. Then to a circular mindset. Broadly speaking, into these actors. But these actors are not known for being the fastest ones. So one way to change the speed is to connect them with startups and scale ups. So we go back to the topic before. But another way we want to start today, start us as citizens. Because when you are a citizen and you have a spontaneous gathering of people who want to do something together, then you really start today. And that's right for me. So it's important to keep this community element of the circular economy. Very much alive, because then you see that there are many opportunities that we can actually start working on as of today.

Katie Whalen [00:25:16] Yeah, it's great to hear your thoughts on this. And I like how your your work also ties in with that, especially with the work that you've been doing at the unknown group to try to make the acceleration happen faster. I want to dove a little bit into some of the conversations that you had, but before I do, I noticed that you create a painting for each conversation on the circular conversations platform. Could you tell me a little bit more about that?

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:25:50] Yeah, sure. Here there are two different answers I can give you, one is more simple and one is more romantic. Starting from the simpler one, it's basically that they've been painting or now for a few years and my home and I'm living in Rotterdam before it was, you know, tricked. And I got to a point in which the old hours was saturated with paintings. So there was no space whatsoever for paintings and they ended up just being on the floor. So there was video right now that there is support from our line. At least I can put them to a straight thing, use full use if you want. So just taking them away of the dust of our room and put them on in a place where at least they can be they can give something to others and not only to people visiting my house. There was this scene for one day, a romantic one instead. It's about what art can do in making these societal change happen. So he very much relates to the idea, which is not a novel idea by far. Of art as a vehicle for social change. Also, the Russian poet Vladimir Mycoskie was saying that art is not a mirror and to society by the hammer with which to shape it and see in a similar fashion. My idea about putting a painting next to each conversation is, first of all, to hone or the ideas and the contribution and all the different speakers gave me and the readers. To give an impression of what each conversation is about, especially at an emotional level, because it's clearly hard to translate a conversation into two callers, at least you can keep some of the emotion, some of the feelings, some of the ideas that were created during the conversation. And then again, and making the painting idea call for for a certain message. And if there is anything that can make the message be more beautiful or be more colorful or be more eye catching in the positive way. I don't know whether that's the case. Maybe it's actually the negative feature of the website, but at least in terms of idea. If they say anything, they can make this story about a circular economy about this new economic system more beautiful than it's worth putting in there. So that's why and how this idea was born.

Katie Whalen [00:28:15] Yeah, well, I definitely encourage listeners to look at these paintings because they are there, they're quite unique. A lot of them are quite unique and they're really eye catching and very beautiful. Each one is very unique. I was just scrolling through it and now to refresh my memory about what they look like and I see some leaves in them and things like that. But yeah, it was definitely something that stuck out when I first stumbled upon the platform months ago as well.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:28:50] Yeah. Thank you, guys. That's very kind of. You actually know that you mentioned the leaves one. That's a nice story because I was just drawing the painting with the open window and it was autumn indeed. And then some leaves just go into the window and posed on the painting. So I was a bit of an easy catch for me and it was very much resonating with the conversation we can Webster where he was very much talking about the beliefs of a sweet thing. Three, become nutrition and food for the other trees in the forest and how basically to nurture and to make a. The three tribes, the forest match rivals were.

Katie Whalen [00:29:36] Wow, that's that's such a crazy coincidence. Yeah, I think that's definitely perfect for pairing with Ken. Ken Webster's conversations. He likes to give this example of the tree and to talk about that and how we can be inspired from nature. So, yeah, it's, um. Thanks for sharing that. I really I can't. I'm just like picturing this right now in my head, like the window and the cool, crisp autumn air and then the leaves coming in. Like, how often does that happen? I don't think that really happens too often.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:30:09] Yeah, I don't think so. It was a sign.

Katie Whalen [00:30:13] Yeah. So I'd love to hear a little bit more about your experience with circular conversations. Maybe you could share. It's probably hard to two to choose. Cause I'm thinking if I was in if the roles were reversed and you were asking me about my favorite conversation that I've had on the podcast, I don't think I could give you just one answer. But I'm gonna I'm gonna go for this question anyway and ask you, maybe you could share one of your favorite conversations.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:30:45] I guess you said it yourself, ending the question indeed, sir. It's a bit hard to find one, but I'm not trying to be kind as you are.

[00:30:55] Even if they want to be kind, it's you know, when you have a book that you read from beginning to end and in which each chapter is very different and then you end up falling log with each of them. That's pretty much my story with stricter conversations. If it's like every story centering first lady from mind because that's factually true, but also entering a different world in a way. What is peculiar and what is really precious for me, at least in circular conversation, sits how widespread it is is where geographically. So direct contributions from Sweden, from Finland, from friends from Netherlands, from Kenya, France, South Africa now is gonna come from Japan, from Slovenia, from all the way. So it's basically taking travel around the world without using any CO2 due to plane or anything. And that's really something for me, very special to choose. One would be really, really art. Each of them gave me give me so much. And I hope the readers as well and our different ways to look at things and access to a different vision. Even though you might imagine there are some similar principles and. Themes coming together through all the people that I interviewed, but I will be saying something against the truth. If I had to choose one right now, all of them were really, really interesting. And yeah, I'm grateful and grateful for all of them. So I can just encourage the readers to scan through them and see what is most interesting for them. I cannot really help in this.

Katie Whalen [00:32:43] Yeah, I imagine it's also it's quite similar for for what I've found as well when I ask people what their favorite Getting in the Loop Podcast episode has been and they get all sorts of answers like there's no consensus. You know, some people really liked Episode 2 and some people really liked episode 30 and it's like it's all over the place and there isn't really no consensus. So I can understand and and and share that that with you, of course. Maybe you mentioned about like some common themes or principles. I don't know if you could expand on if you see a red thread behind the conversations or one of the red threads that you've seen from the discussions that you've had.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:33:34] Yeah, there are quite a few principles that a thing come back and compliment each other and then depicting a picture what we want the future to look like. One is certainly something that was referring before already when I was talking about the Circular economy as a concept with ambitions behind with ambitions, then go over the recycling that go over in the marriage business sphere, by then go embracing a profound mindset shift and together with that, a profound change in the way we design our social economic system. So that's certainly one of the themes that have been running through. So a series of interlocutors trying to broaden out the discussion, trying to destroy worlds where there were worlds in terms of this is not the same concept or this is not circular economy. I don't think it matters what is circular economy in the end. There is a philosophy and principle behind, but what matters is to make the shots that we need to change things. And that's something that I've been going through many times. Another one is certainly not equate GDP. GROSS domestic product is as a measure of success and how urgently we acquire practical implementation of a series of indicators in place of only one indicator to actually assess whether we are doing and building societies that are wealthy and key and fair. Another topic that certainly is recruiting is. How we should approach the most burdensome task that we are facing right now, which is that of urgent change. Looks like we don't have much time in front of us and it looks like we are not particularly as human species. Would that changing our habits, especially ones our habits go quite like in the past? And in that case, I always feel this need for experimentation. So for trying to trying different things with a GDP and without being thinking too much. Whether you should start or not. So I think that this experimental approach to change, which is something that came back prominently in a conversation with my ex, Prof. Prof. Center for Life. Jeffrey Oxen. So this experimental approach to change and his experimental approach, for instance, to change capitalism. That's something that I also recognized quite often. They are not. It's not designed to be ideological. It's not the time to be arrogant. It's not the time to believe that we have all the answers. It's the time to sit down, discuss, collaborate, try things out if they don't work. Ask why they no work and try something different. So these are few of the things that get me running through it. Maybe it's the last one, the type of leadership that we require. So we own no matter where it incorporates governments, community leaders, the leadership that we require is again leadership, which is understanding of the complexity of the context in which you operate. So not to be simplistic in any role. The US where the NGO policy policymaker or innovation directors. To be bold, so be brave to try things out, which we don't know whether they work or not. Innovation is always a very uncertain process. So keep monthly. We will have to live with that uncertainty and make it an opportunity. Right. Then something cutting us off. And finally, a commitment for transformative change. So the incremental nowadays probably is not enough anymore and resettlement assistance thinking so that it seems so easy to say, but that's so hard to apply to actually have assistance thinking. So to have I sort of have free distance from yourself at a distance to you as wanting to individual and try to see you as part of a series of interconnected relations. And that's I think is key for the outcome then for the good outcome of such a transition.

Katie Whalen [00:38:02] Yeah, I especially like your your highlighting of trying things out and sort of the practical nature because you know, you can get stuck in trying to completely define something and have it. Perfectly described from an ideological standpoint, but then. Oh, yeah. If that doesn't actually get implemented, then I would argue then there's really no point to sort of have these debates and things like that. So maybe you need a healthy mix of both things going forward. But of course, trying to to be practical and try things out is at least of interest to me. And I think I also from the work that you do, I see that. You also now with the unknown group and things like that, you're also trying to to take that to heart.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:38:56] Yeah, definitely. I think the agile experimentation. So aiming a vision, maybe an idea. Testing it out with the right conditions. It's very important. I am recently becoming more and more familiar with Stoicism as well as a philosophical school of thought going back to ancient Greece and the time of Marcus Aurelius in ancient Roman. There is one principle in Stoicism, which I think is very, very useful for these science, which is engage in a course of action with great bigger and determination. Why the remaining quite relaxed and I'm patron baited regarding the outcome of this course of action. And these translated to our activities nowadays and not anymore of thousands of years ago. For me, for me, it means basically trying to put everything that you have in there, but at the same time accepting that success is never guaranteed. We don't know whether we're going to succeed. We don't know actually where you're going to succeed. The challenge of climate change as of today is yet unknown to use a word familiar to me, but not to be pessimistic by the point being here that no matter what the outcome will be. The important thing is to give everything that we can give today. Why? Looking for solutions. And that's for me really, really key, really crucial to put the commitment possible there to put good expectations and then not worrying too much about the outcome. Just getting into action with determination. And then the outcome eventually will come.

Katie Whalen [00:40:32] Wow. OK. Some good food for thought for four to maybe even helped guide me as well. So if I'm we could be here for all all evening, but I'm conscious of the time. So I'm gonna start to wind down a little bit. But before we do that. Could you just tell me what's next for Secular conversations?

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:40:57] Well, as you might imagine, being a platform in which conversations are transcribed, what's next and what really worries me on a daily basis is to actually get this dream for the end of the day, you're going back home and transcribing those conversations.

[00:41:10] So now have five amazing conversations in the pipeline. Still not going to disclose too much. It's a bit of a surprise, but they're all very diverse and from different viewpoints, indeed, from startups, academics to policy makers at the European level. So that's more they really, really short term to keep up with the work and keep up with the ambitions that the project in the first place, even though it's not necessarily easy. But it's worth it. Definitely. And then more on why they're leaving. So to say. D. Ambition of circular conversations in the medium long run is to open up to them contributors coming from outside. So not to make it the platform of a minority franchise. Cause sharing conversations with people if things are interesting, but rather a thing that really I say independent decentralized platform where actors engaged in a certain societal discussion interested in providing an alternative which is better than our current status quo. Either by a blog or an interview conversation. A quote. Anything. So providing this space for these. Individuals to come together. And share ideas and make it part of a society dialog. So the ambition is to open it up to the others. And make it truly this internalized platform and independent from many of the dynamics that we see around.

Katie Whalen [00:42:49] Yeah. Well, I look forward to that, and I also look forward to the five new conversations that will be put up on the platform in the short term. I think you got this. OK, so now is the time of the into interview where I ask the guests about the in the loop game, which is a game that I created to engage people in systems thinking and sort of the interconnectedness between business and society and in the game. You're a product producing company where you are collecting materials to produce your product, but it's not so straightforward because there's different changing market conditions in the game represented by what we call event cards. And these event cards are often linked to real world happenings so they can be positive or they can be negative. And the question that I would like to ask you, Emanuele, is if you could create an event for the in the loop game, which topic would your event address?

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:43:56] You will forgive me if I use something that's a bit closer to my experience and what I'm doing currently.

[00:44:03] I think what will be interesting to foster this collaborative. Mindset will be to have some sort of disruption in the supply chain. So whether it is a supplier or goes bankrupt for one day to the other or a supply year which is linear in their operations, and suddenly there's a policy inside the company or in your industry where leaner suppliers can be and cannot be partners anymore for production. So let's say one that is the supply chain which needs to be reorganized and needs to be. It needs to become more circular. Then how do you do that? What do you look at? Which kind of partners do you try to get on board? Do you try to get new innovations into your company? And this can be also. Maybe this is not a market event is more an internal event. But say that your companies in very big trouble and suddenly deep budget for the are indeed apartment gets cut by 90 percent. So say they were 100 people working out indeed before and now you only have 10. And the amount of innovations that you need is actually quite high. Now with these are indeed team not being there, which new partnerships, which new collaborations you go seeking in the market? To keep surviving first, but also to keep thriving in this economic system. So once the condition of having the best ideas or the political position of even the best ideas and the best talents and the best technologies being built in-house. Once this kind of belief is not there anymore, then how do you go reorganizing your strategy in a collaborative way around finding new innovations that can lead you toward secularity? So this will probably be my input and I don't know if it's necessarily. This one is already market related, but I think it can push people to actually understand. Oh, we know a different the different age.

Katie Whalen [00:46:13]  I like it because it is definitely forcing this more collaboration and more innovative thinking. So can definitely work something like that into a new upcoming version of the game. And yeah, trying to sort of stimulate this new way of thinking about how you form different partnerships and how these can help solve solve innovative solve challenges through innovative solutions. So thanks so much for that suggestion.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:46:45] That's great to hear. Always happy to help fellow Circular economy enthusiast.

Katie Whalen [00:46:50] Well, it has been a pleasure talking with you this. I got out this evening. I to say this evening. It's been a pleasure talking with you, Emanuele, this evening. And I've really looked. I really enjoyed hearing about the work that you're currently doing, both at Unknown Group as well as the work that you are doing on your platform, circular Conversations. Before we go. Can you just say where listeners can go to learn more about you and the topics we discussed? And one thing is I realized that we never really mentioned any of the names of some of the people that you actually have interviewed on circular conversations. So maybe you could just share with the listeners some of the inspiring people and thought leaders that you can find at the platform. Yes, certainly.

Emanuele Di Fracesco [00:47:44] Thanks for the opportunity of sharing this. So the platform I really, as I said before, kind of can't advise readers to go on one rather than the other, but it's a kind of starter before that. I can give some names. So we started with a very strong female component. Nancy Balkan from the Delph and Lund University is both an academic and business, a business perspective. Then in Finland with others, Kosky Alex Limited already mentioned before on these regular humans fear Rita Lira. We talked about how to empower kids to become circular stars. So that's what's so I take your view, Jeffrey Ochsner and I also mentioned before about an experimental route to change capitalism. Ken Webster, Jack McConnell about towards shareholder socialism. That's a bit of a peculiar alternative that he proposes in the conversation. Clay Johnson we talk about by mimicking South Africa. We talk about Africa and the circular spirit of Africa. We Morial vehicle and also we became it's a blown. In this case about secular Kenya. Alison may cry also about Glasgow out of Circular economy, advancing in Glasgow with David Letterman. And we look into cooperatives and what the courts, human rental and an alternative way of doing development. So that's what's so I look into so-called least developed countries or most importantly, how we relate to these countries. Kenzie Frei Knack for a taste of metal modernism. Mike I made the for the excess metal gets exchanged. Saw you again is a startup doing great things in a circular economy and then also great views like the one by Tim Jackson about Apple's growth economy. And last until now. Wayne Visser where you really codes for urgent change and basically leveraging all of us, recognizing that everybody of us is an agent for change. Yeah. And again, the point here is that it is not always strictly related to circular economy as we might be used into our barriers, but the idea is indeed to contaminate the discussion with other elements which can be relevant and even useful in advancing the circular economy concept itself. So thank you very much for the opportunity of sharing these names as well. And as you said, these can be found at circular conversations dot com. And if anybody wants to write a comment or a question or open up a discussion, I'm always very open for that. And I can be reached at circularconversations@gmail. com

[00:50:44] Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed this episode or show notes and links, go to our website at gettingintheLooppodcast.com. And while you're there, subscribe to our mailing list to have new episodes delivered to your inbox every Monday. See you next week.

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About the Show

Getting In the Loop is a weekly podcast dedicated to exploring how to transform to a more circular society. Join host Katie Whalen as she examines the challenges facing our current resource use and discovers alternatives to the ‘take, make, dispose’ way of doing things. Each week she interviews circular economy experts about what they’re doing and learning. Together we'll uncover what circular economy means in practice and find out what's being done to keep our resources in a loop rather than sent to waste.

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