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Circular Economy Innovation Communities (CEIC) is a fully funded project led by practitioners with many years of collective experience that provides public sector organisations in the Cardiff Capital and Swansea Bay regions with the knowledge, skills, experience and ideal environment to collaboratively identify and solve common challenges.  Our approach encourages participants to view the challenges through a circular economy lens – how can we implement solutions that are resource-efficient, resilient and low-carbon by design?  The project comprises 14 programmes, each run over 10 months that include a blend of virtual and in-person workshops, site visits, action learning and expert support activities. There will be seven held in Swansea University and seven in Cardiff Metropolitan University, which will run through until 2023.

Our Innovation Communities are groups of like-minded people (Communities of Practice) from within the Welsh public sector who share common challenges and are motivated to work collaboratively to solve them.

Adopting a circular economy approach can help the public sector to achieve financial, environmental, social benefits and their statutory obligations to reduce its carbon footprint. Adopting a CE approach increases the ability of the organisation to implement best practices, resulting in reduced environmental impact and costs reduction. It encourages public service organisations to look at the way they reuse, remanufacture and repurpose items that would normally end in landfill sites. It can also contribute towards the decarbonisation of the public sector and provide evidence of how an organisation is meeting the goals of the “Wellbeing of Future Generation Act.”

The programme will create collaborative innovation communities of practice (networks) across multiple public service organisations in the South Wales region that facilitate and promote regional working and enable organisations to solve their existing problems. It will enhance innovation knowledge and skills that can drive productivity and enhance individual and organizational innovation capability.

As our project progresses we will be adding more case studies that demonstrate this in practice.

The programme is primarily for public sector organisations.  Although, we are able to accommodate a small number of third sector organisations within each cohort, based on their value to the problems already being addressed by the cohort.

There is no cost to the participant or their organisation.  The programme is fully funded by the Welsh Government and the European Social fund. The programme requires participants to provide in-kind (time) match funding with the support of their organisation in the form of evidence of time spent on the programme. [RG11]  Each hour participants spend working on the programme, either through attendance on workshops or development activities within their organisation, is used as evidence.  If a participant commits 2 days for each of the 10 months (10% of their contracted hours), the value of these hours is calculated based on salary and used as evidence of Match Funding. To evidence match funding, WEFO requires that you provide a copy of your payslip each month to the CEIC Finance Team, along with a copy of your employment contract and job description.

CEIC is aimed primarily at leaders and managers in public sector entities within the Cardiff Capital and Swansea Bay regions. Involving leaders and managers gives the cohort the best chance of getting their innovations implemented within the organisations. However, we know that leaders and managers have many constraints on their time – and that innovation communities work best when they include enthusiastic, motivated and passionate people.  For this reason, if you think you have something to bring to CEIC, do get in touch with us!  All we ask is that your manager formally supports your involvement in the programme.

No – although you should be aware that CEIC is a ten-month programme including a series of scheduled activities that in some cases run over multiple days. It will also involve scheduled site visits. As part of the programme, you will need time when you are back in your organisation to trial and implement changes.  We estimate the time commitment to be 2 days a month as a minimum and we ask that your organisation evidence this with a secondment letter allowing you to spend 10% of your time on the programme for 10 months.

Talk to us to get more information on the programme of activities and then talk it through with your manager.

Take part in an innovation community of practice that is a series of workshops, site visits, action learning, peer learning and expert support activities. During this period of restricted in-person contact, the programme may be delivered through a blend of virtual and in-person activities in line with government guidelines.  CEIC employs a design thinking process; initially it will comprise of a two-day ‘experiential learning event’ that introduces design-thinking concepts and explores the circular economy in more detail.  Here you will start to form your innovation community.

Every month, a workshop will focus on a different aspect of the design thinking process:

  • Empathy – in which you explore the different stakeholders in a problem and engage with them to gather and reconcile multiple perspectives on the problem.
  • Definition – in which you test your initial assumptions against the stakeholder viewpoints and reframe the problem from the user perspective.
  • Ideation – in which you co-create multiple ways of addressing the problem, all incorporating circular economy thinking, then collectively choose the most promising
  • Prototyping – in which you build quick physical and mental models of your proposed innovations.
  • Testing – when you engage with your stakeholders to test and co-develop ideas ‘on-site’ and learn to embrace success or failure.
  • Assessment – this involves exploring how well your proposed solution is achieving your end objectives/goals.
  • Iteration – in which you get brave about throwing away concepts, going back to the drawing board and introducing new ideas at different points in the process.

The workshops are supported by ‘good practice’ visits to innovative organisations where you will learn how they came to find what works and exchange programmes between CEIC partners to give you an insight into how things operate in their organisation.

At the end of each workshop, you will be set preparation tasks for the next one, which you will undertake with other people within your cohort as an ‘action learning set’.

CEIC runs over ten months.  Each month, you will need to set aside one day for the workshop and one day for implementation activities, related to developing the new service solution and the associated research activities, within your organisation.

Participants can submit additional assessment coursework to obtain a single Masters Level (level 7) module.  This module would enable participants to enter a Masters programme at Swansea or Cardiff Metropolitan Universities. This will be carried out in addition to the CEIC programme.  Please ask us for more details.

The first cohort will start in the first quarter of 2021 and we aim to run two cohorts per annum until mid 2023.

We will ask you to attend a preview event to get an idea of what participation in the programme will look like. During this event, we will start you thinking about your organisation and where you may want to incorporate circular economy principles.

Yes, we would like all members to commit to attend all workshops days to ensure that each cohort can develop robust new service solutions.

No, the success of communities of practice is founded on peer support and peer challenge.  Therefore, the same people should attend throughout.

The first stage of registration is to complete the simple Expression of Interest (EoI) form, which can be found on our website or accessed here

Once participants’ interest has been gathered, we will develop cohorts with common themes and begin allocating dates (you will be notified of potential dates well in advance of any anticipated attendance).  Once established and agreed, we will ask participants to complete a more detailed registration form prior to attendance, to include a signed letter of participation and agreement to commit 2 days a month to the programme, and agree to provide copies of monthly payslips for the period you are involved in the project (10 months), along with a copy of your employment contract and a copy of your job description.  Please note, you will not be required to provide the same information twice. All data will be used and stored in compliance with GDPR requirement.