FAQ – Open Labs: The Circular City – Running November 2016


This is the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) of the Open Labs on The Circular City happening from November 7–25 2016. Feel free add new questions in the comments.

UPDATE: The Open Labs have ended. Please study the DOCUMENTATION.

#What is OSCEdays? What is DIF? And what are the Open Labs?

The OSCEdays = Open Source Circular Economy Days – is a global project, community and resource base to develop a Circular Economy by exploring and using Open Source Methodologies for it. Check the website and history of the project for more.

The DIF = Disruptive Innovation Festival is an open online festival on the Circular Economy happening from November 7-25 2016 for the 3rd time.

The Open Labs: The Circular City is a collaboration between the two organizations for the DIF Festival 2016 synergizing the OSCEdays structure and DIF audience to explore the topic of ‘the circular city’ through online collaboration and hands on actions on the ground.

#What will happen during the Lab? Tell me about the 3 Phases.

The Lab is an open participatory process with online and offline aspects. It follows the structure of the OSCEdays. The core idea is the creation of open ACTION protocols – simple and fully documented step by step guides for practical actions to be used and build upon by everyone in the world. The practical implementation of these ACTIONS happens during local OSCEdays events.

During the labs we have a shared global subject – ‘the circular city’. And the process is divided into 3 overlapping phases. Each phase will be opened through an open video streaming. Here are the three phases:

####PHASE 1 – PLAN – Brainstorming & Learning
Phase 1 (Nov 1-12) is an open online process where we collect ideas and working practices for the circular city by interacting with the DIF program. We are not looking for meta-blabla and far fetched science fiction but little practical things people can start to work on, play with and implement right now in their city. We invite people to start and build teams around ideas to explore them further in the next phases:

Opening VIDEO Stream: Nov. 7, 20:00 GMT

####PHASE 2 – CREATE – Creating ACTIONS
Phase 2 (Nov 11-19) is about taking ideas form phase one and turn them into written down and openly shared OSCEdays ACTIONS – that can be used and build upon by people across the globe in phase 3 and also when the Lab has ended.

Opening VIDEO Stream: Nov. 11, 10:00 GMT

####PHASE 3 – ACT – Implement ACTIONS in local events
Phase 3 (Nov 18-25 +) is the ‘implementation phase’. Everyone in the world is invited to take one or more of the developed ACTIONS and implement/test them in a small local event or happening. The events and offline activities are connected online for global exchange and collaboration. This is supposed to happen mostly from November 18-25 but also earlier or later dates can be added.

OPENING VIDEO Stream: Nov. 18, 11:00 GMT

#How Can I Take Part?

Just do it :-). The whole process how to plug in is described and linked to in the answer above already. Join the discussions, create an ACTION and set up a local event.

We invite you to engage with the rest of the DIF Festival program: Watch talks, join discussions, ask questions and cross pollinate between the Lab and the DIF talks, bring the DIF audience to the lab and the lab researchers to the DIF talks.

You are also invited to join the meta-discussions about the lab - how it is built and facilitated.

#Can I Become A Partner With My Institution?

Yes, you can. If you want to run a local event – just do it and follow the usual signing up process.

Or do you have something else in mind? Like offering resources, sharing things, propose projects and so on – get in touch with the OSCEdays partnership team.

#More Questions?

Do you have another question? Sign up to the forum and post a comment below (preferred) – or contact us via email.

I want to take the most of what you are offering and I’ve been trying to grab all the info on the site, but I still have questions… For instance:

  1. The site only works during these open days?
  2. The idea is: everybody involved at the same time with the same issues?

I’ve been looking at your challenges, like these (for example):
Replace A Plastic Case: Take a product in a plastic case – or any plastic
product – and replace the plastic with a circular material – like wood, metal. Try to use something, that is reused and reusable.
Create A List Of Already Circular Products on the Supermarket Shelf: The
ACTION provides a list of criteria to spot products that are already circular. Go to your local supermarket and spot, what is already there. Create a positive list.

  1. Is there anyone already doing any of these?
  2. How do they have launched these challenges?
  3. How do you disseminate these and other ideas?
  4. How do you disseminate your platform?

All the best,

Hi @Ana, thanks a lot for your questions! Here are some answers.

#The Site Only Works During These Open Days?
No. The OSCEdays is a platform that is permanently open. You can always register, read topics, add topics, ask questions, interact and so on. People can collaborate here on Open Source Circular Economy solutions - always.

#The Idea Is: Everybody Involved At The Same Time With The Same Issues?
No. The platform is permanently open as said above. Part of the OSCEdays platform is the invitation to set up local events. Everyone can set up a local event under the OSCEdays brand and use the OSCEdays platform and resources.

You can set up an event whenever you want. But from time to time OSCEdays tries to create clusters like we are doing with the Open Labs on the Circular City right now. We set a subject and fixed dates for it and try to get several events on the map happening in parallel to allow synergies between them. But no-one is bound to this dates or the subject. You can do also something entirely else during those days.

#Challenges and ACTIONS?
OSCEdays started in 2015 with the concept of Challenges. People were invited to come up with local challenges to work on during local events and share their challenges upfront and document the results afterwards – to make it possible for other cities to mirror the challenge and build on it. You can find a lot of those challenges here (192 topics with this tag).

But we found this not to be working very well. It is not necessarily hard for people to come up with good challenges but there is no incentive and structure for them to document them in a way, that enables others really to reproduce them and build upon.

So we changed the concept in October 2016 to ACTION protocols. An ACTION protocol is a simple step by step guide instructing practical activities everyone can follow. And it always involves a little bit of documentation. An ACTION is an ‘Open Source Description’ of a working solution. Everyone can take it, follow the steps and feedback to the initial ACTION to improve it collaboratively.

So far there are not a lot ACTION protocols available because we just started with the concept. The goal of the Open Labs is to create more and it seems to be working so far.

There is one topic on the forum called ‘OPEN COLLECTION – Ideas For Future ACTION Protocols’. There you can find ideas like ’Replace A Plastic Case Of A Product’ or ’Create A List Of Circular Products On The Supermarket Shelf’. This are just ideas for ACTION Protocols no developed ACTIONS yet. But people are invited to start the development of an ACTION protocol for this ideas.

A possible way to approach this is to start it like a challenge. Search for a way to ‘Replace A Plastic Case’ and condense what worked into an ACTION Protocol. This is what @transitionmica is doing right now: Her goal is to create an ACTION Protocol to allow people across the globe to write a Food Policy Paper for Circular & Editable Cities. Right now she is going through a process of creating such a policy paper for Berlin. If this is done, she will condense what worked into a general ACTION protocol everyone in the world can use.

A Template for an ACTION Protocol plus helpful information how to create one can be found HERE.

Do you have more questions? Feel free to ask.


Thank you for all the answers.
I took a pick at what @transitionmica is doing: an ACTION Protocol to allow people across the globe to write a Food Policy Paper for Circular & Editable Cities. And it is great to be thinking of a pilot project in Berlin to be disseminated in other cities.
And also remember I saw this (never used it): a tool from a grocery chain in the UK https://wastelesssavemore.sainsburys.co.uk/food-rescue
It is a bit “grain by grain …” awareness raising for food waste problem enriched by ideas for leftover food … but, perhaps, then"… the hen fills her belly" and “slow and steady wins the race”, because “haste makes waste”.

Hi Ana,
I was hoping that by documenting what we do here we can inspire others to follow, so I’m happy to read that you checked it out. I do find it a positive development that even big dealers like Sainsbury’s feel the need to run such services. Thank you for the link, I will add it to the “edible city” thread (though I like editable city as well, I’d love to be able to do that, just edit the city and change things…)
Best Maike

Hi Maike,
Glad that you enjoyed the link.
I agree an edible city would be great, but an “editable” one would also be amazing, specially because it would certainly facilitate a city’s ecological performance standards.
Best Ana