Tag Archives: waste

Scaling disruption

There are multiple ways we can intervene in the current business system in order to support change toward better environmental and social outcomes. One of these ways is to scale small initiatives that have the potential to create significant change in the current ways business operates. This is particularly effective where these ‘disruptors’ also act as commercial demonstrators to traditional organisations and inspiration for other emergent entities by proving the case for alternative forms of business.

I have a portfolio of these ‘disruptors’ that I currently coach from seed stage until first significant funding. This means taking them through a structured programme of business development, drawing on IDEO, LEAN and my own start-up experience across multiple sectors and stages of new business building.  The programme is underpinned my three key principles: fail fast, engage early and rapidly build credibility. This means we work closely together to:

  • Identify and engage potential customers to establish and build the business toward meeting real needs,
  • Set-up of a series of experiments where the team can quickly configure and test different operating methodologies, and
  • Understand how the market operates, where the gaps are and which organisations could inform and, even better, certify the set-up.

This is underpinned by regular ‘pivoting’ as we reconfigure the business model to meet emerging needs and cost structures. It is supported by work around vision, team dynamics, business basics and fundraising.

Two oranisations in my portfolio are currently seeking an extension of their seed funding. They are:

Clotho London: The destination for sustainable fashion. http://www.clotholondon.co.uk/

Set-up by two recent graduates from Imperial College (who worked together as Chemistry lab partners) this business aims to create a secondary market for good, used clothing. It is a simple technology platform built on the principle of clothes swapping. It provides young women with a more sustainable option for quality fashion choices. Clotho thereby works towards preventing new purchases of high-street brands and reducing the 350,000 tonnes of used clothing that goes to landfill in the UK every year. They currently operate collections at 3 UK Universities and are rapidly growing a loyal customer base. They are looking to raise investment to fund operational costs as they scale their service.

Vesco: Developing sustainable feed systems. https://vescofeed.wordpress.com (under-development)

Vesco has been set-up by four classmates from the Imperial College Environmental Technology MSc programme.  They are developing a sustainable ‘insect-based’ animal feed designed to mitigate the environmental and biodiversity impacts of contemporary soy and fishmeal-based feeds. They aim to harness the efficiency of insects in converting organic waste into high-quality nutrients and are running a number of experiments to rear  fly larvae on a variety of organic wastes. They are working closely alongside high-profile potential customers to co-develop product specifications and a unique, ‘circular’ offering and are in the process of organising trials for pilot products. Vesco is looking or funding to allow further development of the concept by paying a base wage to the team. 

Both these worthwhile organisations will effect change in the existing systems they operate within – clothing and food – through demonstrating initiative, possibility and trialing new business models.  Any funding or other suggestions to scale and support these worthwhile organisations would be appreciated.

Alternatively, if you are a young enterprise with a good idea towards a positive shared future or an investor/accelerator/incubator with disruptors in your funding portfolio  that need help in clarifying their business models towards delivering scalable impact –  please do get in touch.

For further information or to arrange a meeting, please fill in the form below:


28 Days of Inspiration – Day 24: Don’t waste the opportunity

Don’t waste the opportunity


Kate Hammer, a friend of 6heads from KILN, likes Compostory.org – she writes below:

Recycling organic material – what we commonly call “waste” – represents a huge opportunity. Today, the processes of making compost and biogas out of organics are well known and the benefits for the environment and the economy are proven. Yet still, many cities and businesses are still sending organics to landfills or incineration. Enter Compostory.org [www.compostory.org], a unique website driven by not-for-profit enterprise Green White Space [www.greenwhitespace.org].

Compostory.org is committed to building awareness and sharing best practices on how communities can create value from their waste stream and positively impact their environment. So the team has built an unprecedented online learning platform for local governments, agriculture and businesses in effort to bring their influencers up to speed on the subject matter.

The website offers open access to:

  • a free course for municipalities, farms and businesses on collecting – digesting – composting organic waste, now followed by more than 2500 influencers of waste management systems in 20+ countries
  • an industry directory to help you navigate the resource recovery industry and find support in your region
  • The Organic Stream: A podcast series featuring expert interviews and case studies from around the world, for inspiration and valuable how-to advice

Enter the learning space by subscribing here [learning space] using the guest code “6HEADS”
The weekly podcast is available on iTunes here [podcast]

Kate is part of  [www.kilnco.com], Throughline [www.throughline.co.uk] and StoryFORMs [www.storyform.co.uk]  She is likes Compostory so much she works on their advisory board.

28 Days of Inspiration – Day 20: Grow your own… building

Grow your own building

James wonders if the buildings of the future be built from bricks biologically engineered to grow themselves from plant waste and fungal cells? 


Co.exist thinks so with their recent interview of David Benjamin, the creator of Hy-Fi, a giant circular tower that creates a cool micro-climate for pedestrians in searing city heat.

Hy-fi will be built this June at MoMA PS1 in New York using bricks, produced by the startup Ecovative, are grown from mycelium, or mushroom cells that grow upwards and outwards like a branch. Combined with agricultural waste like corn stalks, the materials fuse and shape into a solid brick–or into whatever shape the architect wants. And like other biological materials, when no longer needed as bricks, they can be composted and used as fertiliser.

The building is not just about using cradle-to-cradle thinking in material selection. The design itself turns the usual way that brick buildings work upside down. Lighter, porous materials are used at the base drawing cool air in, while hot air is vented from the top.

Given the high carbon-intensity many building materials (such as cement), this use of biological processes in construction results in a cheap building material that emits no carbon and creates no waste…

Only 8 days left of inspiration!  Subscribe here: http://6-heads.com/