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LAUNCH Expands Search for Sustainable Materials Innovations

LAUNCH members NIKE, Inc., NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State have teamed up with Nordic-based companies IKEA, Novozymes, Kvadrat, Arla and a number of government institutions to announce LAUNCH Nordic, an initial step in taking the LAUNCH process to innovators around the world. 

LAUNCH Nordic adds a new dimension to the established LAUNCH process, which draws upon the global collective intelligence to address some of the world’s greatest challenges, by focusing on a specific region to harness the unique strengths of local innovators and companies. In support of the global LAUNCH initiative, LAUNCH Nordic will also focus the challenge on innovative sustainable materials and how they are made.

“The LAUNCH approach has been successful in identifying and supporting powerful innovations,” said Hannah Jones, Nike VP of Sustainable Business and Innovation. “By bringing LAUNCH to the Nordic region, which is a hub for sustainability and design, we believe we can unlock new ideas and technologies that will revolutionize sustainable materials and manufacturing systems.”

LAUNCH Nordic kicks off March 14 at a summit in Copenhagen that brings together 120 global and Nordic industry stakeholders, materials specialists, designers, researchers, innovators and policy makers. Joining the event will be Hannah Jones from Nike; Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer at Ikea; Diane Powell, Head of Partnerships at NASA; and Martin Lidegaard, Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs.

"At IKEA, we know first-hand how important collaboration can be in bringing new innovations and technologies to scale,” said Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation at IKEA. “Together with our partners from LAUNCH and LAUNCH Nordic, we can participate in the identification and development of transformational innovations that can help solve global sustainability challenges.”

During the summit, the LAUNCH Nordic Challenge 2014 will be opened to individuals and teams, start-ups and established companies. The application deadline isJune 1, and in August, the strongest innovations will be selected and participants will take part in an immersive program that provides access to capital, creativity and capacity building. 

LAUNCH Nordic follows the LAUNCH 2020 Challenge, which last year convened global thought leaders at NIKE, Inc. headquarters in Portland, Ore., to catalyze action around one of the world’s biggest challenges – the sustainability of materials and how they are made. LAUNCH will remain focused on the materials challenge for the next six years in order to drive systemic change. 


Founded in 2010 as a strategic collaboration between NASA, NIKE, Inc., the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), LAUNCH identifies and supports visionaries whose ideas, technologies or programs have the potential to create a better world.  Through a series of meetings, events and an annual forum, LAUNCH has successfully introduced innovations that are solving urgent challenges facing our society.  

About LAUNCH Nordic

The initiative to introduce the Nordic region in the global LAUNCH collective was taken by a project group consisting of Leaderlab, Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA), Danish Fashion Institute (DAFI) and Danish Design Center (DDC).