When launching the CEPI Two Team Project in November last year, some sceptics were wondering whether the process would really deliver at the end. To them, we dare say today: "Be prepared to be surprised!"
The CEPI Two Team Project uses crowdsourcing and open innovation while putting two teams in competition with each other in order to identify within a year breakthrough technology concepts. Those technologies need to enable the European pulp and paper industry to significantly reduce its carbon emissions, while creating more value. Through the implementation of these technologies the industry would be in a position to implement the CEPI Roadmap 2050 that suggested that the sector would decarbonise by 80% and create 50% more value by 2050. Frits Beurskens (former CEO of SKG), the sponsor and mentor of the blue team, sees the project as “a great stimulus for the European pulp and paper sector to develop breakthrough technologies leading to a strong reduction of CO2 emissions and more added value.”
Inspiring milestones on the way
Since the launch of the project, the teams already had four opportunities to meet and to elaborate generic concepts of breakthrough innovations. In December, the kick-off meeting held in the famous Atomium of Brussels allowed the participants to break the ice, get to know each other and be informed on the "rules of the game", the available tools and materials, as well as the time schedule. The first substantive meeting took place in Lenzing (Austria). The teams had the opportunity to learn about hi-tech textile fibre produced in the mill before having a full day of brainstorming in split rooms.
Heiner Grussenmeyer (Stora Enso), the captain of the blue team, thinks that “the interaction with other industry sectors and visits to their sites are very inspiring for all team members and moves discussions on breakthrough concepts to new dimensions.” In February, Tata Steel opened its IJmuiden plant (Netherlands) to the teams, telling them about the ULCOS project (Ultra Low Carbon Steel) before the teams could separately refine the concept areas they had identified in Austria. A first selection of promising concept areas was made at that occasion. After a visit of the Repsol Innovation Technology Centre in Madrid, the teams came to a more realistic selection of generic concepts that are likely to be in the teams’ final report to be delivered in September.
Comparison, inspiration and metaphors
While not disclosing any content of what the teams have in mind, readers might be interested to know that both teams are exploring and assessing whether technologies and innovations used in other industries might be helpful. In that context, the teams have looked at the textile industry and its methods to create surfaces out of fibre. They are also considering the food industry and its techniques of drying food. Nature can also be a source of inspiration and bio-mimetics might contribute to the final results submitted by the teams. Useful metaphors are often making very abstract and technical ideas easier to understand. Candles, conditioning shampoos, tumble dryers, and others are some of the pictures the teams are using to make processes that might be relevant for their end results more accessible. ”Our team members are bursting with ideas and are highly motivated. This project will be a real achievement!” summarizes Veit Sorger (former CEO of Mondi and Sponsor and mentor of the Red Team).
Two more meetings are planned in May and June this year. Then the team will start preparing their final reports. A pre-jury will meet early October to score the teams' submissions before the jury selects the winning concept in time for the winner to be announced on 27 November 2013 at the European Paper Week. The generic concepts proposed by the teams will help CEPI convince the European Commission to grant some money from the framework programme for research Horizon 2020 to the pulp and paper industry. The research money will help to further develop the ideas, hence contributing to the decarbonisation of the industry.
Call for engagement
While good progress has been made within the teams, there is still room for feeding the process with any disruptive idea or concept. Nearly 20 submissions have been registered on the www.unfoldthefuture.eu website. More than 100 LinkedIn members have joined the CEPI Two Team Group. The Two Team project is also on Twitter and on Facebook. Jerome Grassin (CTP), captain of the Red Team thinks that “it should be seen as essential to contribute or support the Two Team Project by anyone working in the pulp and paper industry.” The next opportunity to meet the teams and get in touch will be the “Unfolding the future” conference in Ludwigshafen (Germany) on 9 June. The program can be found at www.vdp-online.de/pdf/invitation.pdf. Please submit your ideas at www.unfoldthefuture.eu and follow the process.