EcoDesign Circle reached the finals of RegioStars Awards in 2020 in the category of Circular Economy. How do you recall the application process? What were the steps included?
Conrad Dorer, on behalf of the coordination and management team: In EcoDesign Circle, we equipped design centres and entrepreneurs with practical tools and knowledge in ecodesign to bring the Baltic Sea region closer to a circular economy. In spring 2020, the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat encouraged us, the project coordination and management team, to take part in the RegioStars Awards competition.
The application is definitely a bit of work, but at the same time it's an excellent opportunity to reflect. It's a bit like creating a press kit: a clear structure, very focused answers, finding the most convincing arguments or examples, and inspiring pictures for externals. What really helped was the detailed feedback from the Secretariat. We thoroughly revised and sharpened the texts. We discussed the pictures. This was a truly collaborative process! And quite independently of the submission, we now sometimes use the texts as quick reference material, because everything is so condensed here.
What happens after the application? Pretty soon all applicant projects are published according to the categories and everyone can publicly vote for their favourites. It’s a good chance to draw attention to your own project. A few weeks later, a jury selects five finalists in each category. Finalists receive communication support, e.g. “project postcards” or consultancy on a video. At the same time, everyone can publicly vote again for the finalist. Finally, in October, the ceremonial announcement of the winning projects takes place.
And we went thought all the steps and made it to the finals! Our project was selected out of 206 project applications submitted in 2020.
What was the highlight of this competition?
From the buildup of excitement, it is certainly the final event, which was unfortunately online in 2020. We would have liked to have had direct small and long talks with others in the heart of the EU, in Brussels. Instead, we were participated from our living rooms... But even online, the excitement remained.
However, there are other small highlights that are worth mentioning:
Four partners from our project took part in a storytelling training and were enthusiastic about it. Project managers from the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation, the business & marketing consultancy Medina Art from St. Petersburg, the International Design Center Berlin and the German Environment Agency learned about inspiring examples, methods, and tips from the Belgian communication agency Vademecom.
We were also very excited about the internal premiere of our short, animated project film. What would the other partners say about it, who were not involved in the short-term creation process?
And we were delighted that the former Swedish project manager created the animated illustrations for our film script. So the "circle" closes again ... Totally in our sense!