Cities & Regions as Catalysts for Smart & Sustainable Innovation

Part of the ‘Towards Sustainable Product Design’ series of conferences

19th International Conference
3rd-4th November 2014


The Green Economy is now a core part of the global environmental policy agenda with the role of innovation becoming increasingly important. Cities play a key role in the Green Economy but are often ‘hot beds’ of environmental & social problems as a result of dense populations. However, cities are well placed to act as catalysts for the development of new sustainable solutions to transport, water, food, energy, waste & lifestyle problems due to their public purchasing power & the existence & proximity of key role players in the innovation system. Model implementation of innovative solutions are starting to surface in a number of leading smart, sustainable cities e.g. Stockholm, New York, San Francisco & Copenhagen with significant investment from industry leaders e.g. IBM, Cisco, ABB & Siemens. In addition, a number of city & regional labs, incubators & clusters aimed at stimulating eco-entrepreneurship & innovation have been set up. To accelerate these activities it will be necessary to design systems, structures & networks to enable good ideas to move more swiftly from the lab to realisation & adoption in the market. In a number of cities there is a growing trend towards grassroots innovation that includes increasing experimentation with open innovation & crowdsourcing (ideas & funding). Key to this is the sharing of ideas, knowledge & intellectual property often through social networking & ICT platforms. Grassroots innovation is also emerging in cities from the Maker & Fixer movements. Makers are engaged in the technological extension of DIY & include individuals from engineering, arts & crafts who are coming together in Makerspaces or more informal Hackspaces. 3D printing is becoming a central technology amongst Makers with the environmental implications starting to be better understood. The Fixer Economy has existed for centuries but recently new business models are being set up e.g. from the US are providing repair kits & manuals, spare parts & educational online videos for consumer electronic products. In addition, business opportunities for ‘product life extension’ are being highlighted ranging from strategic remanufacturing models based on service contracts to material innovations that enable re-use. However, the Fixer Community that repairs & hacks discarded products & clothing, often operates more socially through, for example, Repair Cafés.


Sustainable Innovation 2014 will provide a platform to discuss the opportunities & challenges related to the role of cities & regions in catalysing, facilitating & stimulating
sustainable innovation, products, services, technologies & new business models. Sustainable Innovation 2014 will include invited & refereed papers from academics, consultants,
entrepreneurs, technology providers, designers & innovation & sustainability directors as well as other business functions. The event will create a unique space for learning, networking &
thinking. Delegates will come globally from large companies, SMEs, as well as academia, government and non-governmental organisations. The conference is supported by an international Advisory Board.

Conference Topics

Sustainable Innovation 2014 welcomes conceptual and research-based papers focused on sustainable innovation, cities & regions. Accepted papers will be published in conference proceedings with an ISBN number.

A focus on cities, the urban context or regions is desirable but not essential. Papers focused on how cities and/or regions are driving sustainable innovation and/or examples of grassroots sustainable innovation in cities and/or regions are of particular interest. Papers should cover sustainability, innovation, product, service or technology design, development and commercialisation issues related to the following topics:


Sustainable Innovation 2014  will provide a range of benefits to speakers and delegates:

Forum for new thinking, ideas and concepts
Presentations from key international researchers, practitioners and policy-makers
New research, results and thinking
Opportunities to meet business, government and academia
Over 2200 delegates from over 50 countries have attended previous events

Submission details

Email, fax or post 500 word abstracts describing your proposed paper by 19th May 2014. The paper will then be sent to the Advisory Board for evaluation and authors will be given
feedback by the end of June 2014. The highest rated papers will be invited to present at the conference. Please only submit abstracts if you have budgets to attend the conference.

Email abstracts to Ros on


View Larger Map


For more information on Sustainable Innovation 2014   please contact:

Professor Martin Charter
The Centre for Sustainable Design ®
University for the Creative Arts
Farnham Campus
Tel: + 44 (0) 1252 892772
Fax: + 44 (0) 1252 892747

Organised by:

Venue Partner:

kadk Logo

Strategic Partners:

Climate KIC EEA Logo Errin Logo
KTN Logo
R20 Logo
Sharing Copenhagen 2014 logo