Making It Happen
For all of the reasons outlined above, it is of utmost importance for the life cycle community to become a stakeholder of its own, in order to be seen and have a global voice that is heard. This will only happen, if the community starts to structure itself in the form of a new organization. This organization should provide the actions in the following sections.
Space to Coordinate Efforts Around the World
Currently a number of small circles and a few international organizations exist in the life cycle space. A life cycle community organization would thus need to build close relationships with each of these existing organizations to become a central information and network hub that connects these circles and organizations again and facilitates coordination.
This does not only apply to stakeholders as such, but also and importantly to conferences. Over the past years, a number of conference series have been organized in addition to the LCM conferences in Europe and those in key emerging economies as mentioned before ranging from EcoBalance in Japan, the Australian LCA Conference to CILCA in Latin America, InLCA in the USA and [avnir] in France. Coordination among those conferences would help not only with regards to dates, but also on content focus and international visibility, for instance by ensuring that key messages and white paper with topics relevant for LCM are spread quickly around the world.
Space to Identify New Contacts, Apart from Conferences
While conferences are a great place to learn about new projects, latest research and to network, they do not facilitate regular exchange. In addition, while conferences technically offer a great way to get to know new people and identify possible collaboration opportunities, the reality is different. Most participants have a pretty full schedule and have little to no time to identify and meet potentially interesting colleagues and stakeholders, outside of their already existing networks and small circles. As a consequence, a life cycle community organization would need to establish a mechanism that facilitates the process of finding interesting connections outside of conferences.
Space to Collaborate with Colleagues
Another important element to foster the identification of stakeholders with the community would be to establish a way that fosters and enhances collaboration. To this end a platform where new ideas could be pitched to the community or research shared would need to be put in place. Enabling interaction among community members needs to be a crucial element, as it has been established before that better ways to collaborate and co-create are needed.
Space to Develop a Coherent Messaging
Finally, the platform identified before should also be used to work jointly on a clear and coherent messaging, for instance on recommendations on how to put life cycle management in business practice. In this context, in order to establish a shared sense of community and belonging, a specific set of principles should be established that community members cannot only subscribe to, but have co-developed.
Above all, the community organization should seek to be as inclusive as possible to provide members with a sense of empowerment. The idea should be to enable members to speak for and on behalf of the community and thus instead of being represented, represent themselves.