Choose the one thing and then stick to it

by Jurij Giacomelli

In the first part of the article, related to the Slovenian development challenges, published on Siol.NET, I propose a radical transition towards the circular economy with the focus on selected economic sectors. The selection of the prioritised sectors derives from the natural, geographical, historic, social and geopolitical factors: transportation and logistics, energy, biological cycle, related both to food and sustainable tourism, and the transformation of a supplier-orientated industry sector, typically SMEs. Remember: circular business model transformation at the level of each enterprise means innovation and the transition to the circular economy at the systemic level means nothing else but the creation of a well-functioning innovation eco-system. This is the real development challenge for the Country in the heart of Europe and committed to the EU, and not the balancing between different spheres of socio-economic progress, which merely focuses on (re)distribution of wealth, rather than on new value creation. Hence, if the radical circular transition should be The One Thing, go for it and stick to it. – Just like Curly (Jack Pallance) revealed to Mitch (Billy Crystal) in The City Slickers as “The Secret fo Life“.

Curly (Jack Pallance) revealing the secret of life in The City Slickers (1991)

Read here the full article in Slovenian.

The importance of a significant improvement of the education system as well as increased, however, targeted investments in science should have a priority over the investments into “hardware”. As explained in more depth in the second part of the article, the radical circular transition must become a political process supported by a wide development coalition. Cultural openness, leadership and cooperation represent the indispensable triad of virtues of such a political project, which should be accompanied by the truth (freedom of speech, the independence of informative media and the quality of journalism), justice (well-functioning judicial system) and knowledge.

Beyond the growing uncertainty, still aching consequences of the largest financial and economic crisis of the modern times and soaring social and environmental imbalances we can observe the making of a new social order, based on a sort of a global caste system. The positioning of individuals as well as entire societies in it will depend upon the success of the transition towards an innovation society in the context of a more balanced economic system, which will not be only more sustainable, but also more circular.

However, if we look into the future with hope, we see the dawn of an era of new humanism. After all, at the end of the circular transition it is man, not a computer or a robot. In the European history, humanism was shaped by strong leaders and thinkers. In this sense we can rely on the history to repeat itself.

Jurij Giacomelli,

Founder and Managing Director, Giacomelli media Ltd

Introducing the Circular Triangle

Authors: Ladeja Godina Košir and Jurij Giacomelli

Copyright: Circular Change, Giacomelli Media Ltd, 2017. All rights reserved.

Circular transitioning: a multi-layer systemic transformation

Introducing the Circular Triangle


Nothing stays the same. Technological, economic, social, and environmental changes are more intense and more interrelated than ever before.

How do individuals adapt their lifestyles as consumers in the new reality? What challenges do companies face in the course of the transformation of their business models in order to gain competitive advantages in re-shaping business conditions? What kinds of solutions are being developed within cities, regions, and countries? What are the characteristics of the disruption financial institutions are facing, and how can they redefine their transformative roles as indispensable supporting pillars of economic and social dynamics? And finally, who are the leaders that can drive systemic changes towards the circular era?

The Circular Economy, a systemic concept that loops production and consumption cycles in order to regenerate, not waste, natural resources, promises significant economic, societal and environmental benefits. The economic benefit alone, according to the WEF, is estimated to represent a $4.5 trillion GDP opportunity by 20301. The intention of the international community to move to a circular economy by 2030 is reflected in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The European Commission issued the Circular Economy Package2 of regulatory measures and incentives in December 2015, having recognised the circular economy as one of the main means of improving Europe’s competitiveness, as well as its social and environmental cohesion. These approaches are centered on a systemic shift in a vast range of interrelated domains, including sustainable production and consumption, economic growth, climate action, and sustainable cities and communities, to name but a few. These can all progress through the adoption of circular economy principles.

Transitioning towards a circular economy, however, requires a system-level transformation at local, national and international levels. No single government, organisation or business can accomplish this change alone. Public and private sector stakeholders must work together towards a common “circular” vision in order to transform production, manufacturing and consumption systems and patterns through a process of joint and continuous experimentation, learning, adaptation and scaling of efforts.

This complex transitioning process sets transformational challenges to very different organisations: governments, municipalities and other public authorities and regulators; large corporations and small- and medium-sized companies; financial institutions such as banks or insurance companies; social enterprises and non-governmental bodies; institutions of public or private education and scientific research centres and institutes; health organisations; and religious institutions.

The circular transition, however, confronts us all: as humans, as individuals and family members, and as contributors, decision-makers and consumers in different contexts. We are all challenged to re-assess our values and preferences in terms of our choices related to our own personal development: as consumers; as members of families or households; as professionals contributing to the success of the organisations in which we work; as citizens, voters and taxpayers; and finally, as creative and critical members of civil society, contributing to any form of its constant and unpredictable dynamics. These challenges create a context of cultural change. Indeed, the circular transition, as a shift in the economic and social system, embraces all these aspects, and opens a whole new field of exploration of transformational leadership in each and every one of us.

The circular change process: a coordinated effort between three heterogeneous social fields

The Circular Change Platform is a stakeholder engagement initiative, which enables all the players taking part in the transition process to interact with each other, share knowledge and experience, and engage in shared circular endeavours. We understand the challenge of circular transitioning not only as a multi-level process, but also as a coordinated effort happening in three heterogeneous but interrelated social fields.

Systemic change is happening in a form of a multi-layer systemic transition, in which absolute scarcity of resources, defining their availability, their suitability for reuse compared to primary extraction, and their relative economic value, is taken as a focal issue at both the aggregate and global levels. In such a context technological change and demographics act as key drivers of change. While demographics, relative to the absolute availability of resources, redefines the limits of human civilisation on Earth, technological progress increases the possibilities of a successful balance in the sustainability of the global ecosystem. The challenge is in the re-design and implementation of ever more efficient societal models of production, consumption and interaction. In this transition, governing technological discontinuities, education, regulatory issues and taxation, as well as supply-side economic policies and incentives, become crucial instruments for managing systemic change at a global level. From the perspective of this systemic change, the circular economy represents a seismic shift into a new economic and social system.

At the level of single organisations, circular change assumes the nature of a corporate transformation towards innovative and more sustainable circular business models. This transition takes place at the micro-level: in organisations and productive units, that is, in enterprises. A business model transformation towards circular principles en masse sets large and small companies, even entire industries, on the path of challenging journeys of exploration, experimentation and continuous learning. In order to succeed, companies need to dig deeply into their purpose and must equip themselves with specific competencies before their departure. On the way they must undertake a multi-stakeholder approach of collaboration and experimentation. Mastering these prerequisites for circular innovation will distinguish future leaders from followers.

Corporate circular transformation inevitably interacts with the needs and preferences of consumers, individuals and households. And, equally, it is tied to the values and capabilities of the employees in the organisations and in the organisations up- and downstream in the newly composed value chains.

Circular change stands for the world of collaboration and opportunities

European GDP could increase by as many as 7 percentage points by 2030 (relative to “business as usual” development). The EU has granted €650 million, and opened up its Horizon 2020 fund of €24 billion, to circular economy projects. More than 170,000 jobs could be created in the EU by 2035 by implementing the circular economy. This is promising ground in which to invest our attention and resources. At the 2nd Circular Change Conference we are aiming to bring together concrete opportunities to drive circular endeavours further in all three dimensions of the circular transition.

The individual human being is in the centre of the third fundamental aspect of the circular transition, in which every one of us participates as a bearer of labour, intellectual property and numerous other capabilities, as well as being a consumer.
We cannot imagine the circular transition being achievable without recognising and actively dealing with cultural change. The reinforcement of knowledge, of sustainability-related values, and of the corresponding narrative enables the development of a culture of participation and sharing, in which people strive, not to win a zero-, or even a negative-sum game, but to develop abilities to collaborate and contribute to new value creation.

As the circular triangle in Picture 1 suggests, the circular transition entails three fundamental aspects of change: systemic, organisational and cultural3.

Circular Triangle

Picture 1: The three fundamental aspects of the circular transition


The qualities of collaboration, experimentation and learning: phenomena of circular culture

In our efforts to sustain circular transition at all levels, we aim to present these three aspects of the circular transition. We explore the systemic approach by tapping into the circular economy framework at the local, urban, regional and international levels. We examine the phenomenon of collaboration in the context of circular business models, and we engage with the new narrative through the lessons of case studies, together with the most accomplished circular pioneers. Last but not least, we discuss the effects and opportunities deriving from the ongoing disruption of conventional business schemes, envisioning new roles for all the participants in this compelling transition process.

The ability to master the qualities of collaboration, experimentation and learning will define the leaders of this historic trajectory. Are you with us?


1 Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, concept document developed in collaboration with Accenture, World Economic Forum, January 2017.

2 See here for more: 

3 Concept and scheme is the intellectual property of Gm, Circular Change

Slovenski razvojni izziv: prehod v inovacijsko družbo (II)

Ključna področja krožnega prehoda

Slovenski razvojni izziv je prehod v inovacijsko družbo, ki bo omogočila tak radikalen prehod prek preobrazbe poslovnih modelov na vodilnih gospodarskih področjih.

Katere so prednostne dejavnosti krožnega prehoda?

Glede na prej izpostavljene zunanje dejavnike in notranje danosti to zadeva najprej področje mobilnosti, torej transport in logistiko v najširšem pomenu besede. Kako bo Slovenija postala trajnostno logistično središče in vozlišče v regionalnem in vseevropskem smislu?

– Izprašujmo naprej: kaj to pomeni za razvoj cestnega omrežja, železnice, letališč, pristanišča?
– Je lahko drugi tir zanimiv za sosednjo Italijo kot sovlagateljico, ali bomo še naprej vztrajali na podmeni tekmovanja med severnojadranskimi lukami?
– Kako lahko obvladamo onesnaževanje in spodbudimo najprimernejšo prevozno infrastrukturo ter energetsko rabo?

Z energetskega in širšega družbenega vidika je TEŠ 6 zagotovo spomenik neuspehu prehoda v inovacijsko družbo v prvih dvajsetih letih neodvisnosti države.

Treba se bo radikalno preusmeriti k obnovljivim virom, temu prilagoditi upravljanje energetske infrastrukture, predvsem električnega omrežja, in razrešiti dilemo o prihodnosti jedrske elektrarne.

Vse to zahteva odločitve na državni ravni in na ravni ključnih urbanih središč. Uresničitev razvojne poti v slovenski “one thing” gre prek področja upravljanja virov in prostorskega načrtovanja ter preusmeritve gospodarskih politik: fiskalne (od obdavčenja dela k obdavčevanju nesmotrne in nezdrave (po)rabe materialov in energije) in industrijske (pametni razvoj infrastrukture, “pametna specializacija” ter razvoj potrebnih znanj in sposobnosti) k spodbudam za prehod v krožne proizvodno-porabne poslovne modele.

Področje biološkega ciklusa se dotika upravljanja gozdov in spodbud za proizvodnjo hrane doma, ki sledi načelu ničelnega kilometra in je neposredno povezana z ohranjanjem krajine in razvojem trajnostnega turizma. Prav razvoj zadnjega je v veliki meri povezan z opredelitvijo transportno-logističnega kompleksa in energetske prihodnosti.

Osrednji strateški gradnik je krožna preobrazba industrijskega sektorja, kar lahko poveča produktivnost in dodano vrednost. Železarne, ki so že danes najbolj “krožne”, farmacevtska in predelovalna industrija, segment dobaviteljev – majhnih in srednjih proizvodnih podjetij – predstavljajo ključen del gospodarstva.

Avtomobilski in gradbeni grozd, kemijska, papirna, predelovalna in druge industrije potrebujejo jasen okvir v obliki signalov in prej izpostavljenih politik. Potrebujejo predvsem povečan pritok človeškega in finančnega kapitala.

Zasnova središča znanja za krožno tranzicijo

V tem kontekstu je še bolj kot vprašanje svežega kapitala izziv postati središče znanja ter skrbno ravnati z ljudmi, ključnim virom za razvojni preobrat. Lega na kulturno-političnem prehodu je velika priložnost in tveganje obenem. Celoten izobraževalni sistem in razvoj znanosti sta ključnega pomena za izpolnitev prehoda v inovacijsko družbo.

V povečevanju kakovosti izobraževalnega sistema, ciljnega povečevanja naložb v znanost je ključ za preobrazbo države, iz katere danes pamet odhaja ali pa se zadrži kot na nekakšni periferni prestopni postaji, na poti k destinaciji znanja in inovacijskih sposobnosti. Ne nazadnje, izobraževalni sistem je polje neizogibne prenove družbenih vrednot. Na koncu bo vendarle odločal “software”, ne “hardware”, torej znanje za izkoriščanje materialnih potencialov, ne potenciali sami. In ključni prvini krožne tranzicije sta sodelovanje in razvoj sposobnosti zanj. V tem kontekstu sta digitalizacija in četrta industrijska revolucija nujni kompetenci, ne več točki razlikovanja.

Prehod v inovacijsko družbo kot politični projekt

Razvojni problem torej ni čim bolj uravnotežena alokacija prioritet in s tem resursov, ki naj pripeljejo blaginjo. Pravi izziv je prehod v inovacijsko družbo, ki naj temelji na radikalni opredelitvi za prehod v krožno gospodarstvo, prednostno naravnan na preobrazbo na štirih prej izpostavljenih področjih: logistika in transport, energetski sistem, biološki ciklus in krožna preobrazba industrijskega sektorja. Tej kaže podrediti razvoj institucij in družbenih podsistemov za zagotavljanje potrebnih virov, politik in ukrepov, ki bodo ta razvojni prehod omogočali.

Zato ugotovimo, da je prehod v inovacijsko družbo velik politični projekt: priložnost za umne in pogumne hkrati. Izpeljati ga je mogoče le s širokim zavezništvom in podporo vseh naprednih družbenih silnic. Pri tem sta ključni dve triadi vrednot. Prvo, ki vključuje resnico, pravico in znanje, dopolnjuje druga: odprtost, sodelovanje in voditeljstvo. Prva se nanaša na javni dialog, medije in novinarstvo, na sodni sistem ter izobraževanje in znanost. Druga se začne z družbenim odpiranjem in umeščanjem v osrčje Evropske unije in opredelitvijo vloge Slovenije v njej. Na naš “one thing” čakajo tudi vsi drugi partnerji.

Slovenski razvojni izziv prehoda v inovacijsko družbo lahko črpa iz zgodovinskega zgleda Irske iz 80. let, ki je izobraževanju dala prednost pred gradnjo infrastrukture in gradila na svoji zemljepisni legi ter kulturno-zgodovinskih danostih. V smislu osredotočenja so zelo uporabni zgledi Nizozemske, Danske ali Finske, ki vse spadajo med najnaprednejše evropske države na področju krožne tranzicije. Kazalec je torej obrnjen proti nam samim, tako kot se zgodi Mitchu (Billy Crystal) ob koncu pogovora o skrivnosti življenja s Curleyjem (Jack Palance) v filmu City Slickers (Mestni frajerji).

Onkraj globalne negotovosti, še ne povsem zaceljenih ran odhajajoče gospodarske krize in naraščajočih okoljsko-družbenih neravnovesij se izrisuje nova svetovna ureditev, nekakšen globalni kastni sistem. Mesto celotnih družb v njem bo v bistveni meri določeno z uspešnostjo prehoda v inovacijsko družbo v kontekstu novega, bolj vzdržnega ekonomskega sistema. Ta ne bo le trajnosten, bo tudi krožni.

Če gledamo na prihodnost z upanjem, lahko zapišemo, da smo na pragu novega humanizma. Onkraj krožnega prehoda je vendarle človek, ne računalnik ali robot. Zgodovinsko obdobje humanizma v evropski zgodovini so oblikovali močni vodje in misleci. V tem smislu se lahko zanesemo, da se zgodovina mora ponoviti.



Objavljeno na, avtor besedila: Jurij Giacomelli, Četrtek, 4. 5. 2017; 0.01

Slovenski razvojni izziv: prehod v inovacijsko družbo (I)

Izberimo eno stvar in se je potem držimo

Razumeti, kateri razvojni problem rešujemo, predstavlja vsaj polovico rešitve.

Se spominjate filma City Slickers iz leta 1991 z Jackom Palanceom in Billyjem Crystalom v glavnih vlogah? Naslov filma, ki je nastal istega leta kot država Slovenija, bi lahko prosto prevedli v Mestni frajerji. V njem kavboj Curly (Palance) mestnemu frajerju Mitchu (Crystal) med dvotedensko gonjo goveda čez planjave ameriškega jugozahoda pojasni skrivnost življenja.

“One thing.” – “Ena stvar,” reče Curly. “Držiš se je, vse drugo ne pomeni ničesar.”

In katera je ta stvar, vpraša Mitch.

“To pa moraš ugotoviti sam.”

Posnetek tega dialoga si lahko ogledate tukaj:

Slovenska država ima po izhodu iz gospodarske krize novo priložnost, da s smelim razvojnim ciklusom ujame najrazvitejše države v Evropi. Prehod v inovacijsko družbo kljub nekaterim dobrim izhodiščem v prvih dvajsetih letih samostojnosti ni bil uspešen. Skušnjave tranzicije, otopelost družbenih institucij, pomanjkanje kolektivnih izkušenj, ideološke delitve, nemara pa tudi pomanjkljiva kulturna podstat, pomešana z zgodovinsko pogojenim refleksom po zapiranju, ter pomanjkanje prave politične volje so zagotovo med ključnimi vzroki za to. Zdaj, ko je gospodarska rast spet tu, ko se na novo izrisuje ustroj Evropske unije in se svet globalno preureja z veliko naglico, opredelitev za razvojni priključek k najrazvitejšim ni le priložnost, ampak tudi neizogibna nuja. Skupaj z Evropo in svetom se spreminja tudi naša država. In nekaj se bo zagotovo zgodilo. V Evropi in na planetu več hitrosti, koncentričnih krogov, v katerih se porazdeljujeta samobitnost in družbena blaginja, še nikoli ni bilo pomembneje biti razvojno uspešen zato, da lahko krojiš svojo usodo.


Objavljeno na, avtor besedila: Jurij Giacomelli, Sreda, 3. 5. 2017; 0.01

Circular Change su “La Voce del Popolo”

Presentata la seconda edizione della conferenza Circular Change in programma a Lubiana e Maribor a maggio.

La transizione circolare è iniziata.

È una sfida che coinvolge tutti.

La seconda edizione della Circular Change Conference trova la sua giusta eco anche sulla stampa in lingua italiana.

Nell’inserto speciale “In più Economia e Finanza in edicola con “La Voce del Popolo” (Quotidiano italiano dell’Istria e del Quarnero) del 27 aprile scorso, Francesca Mary riassume lucidamente gli ottimi motivi per non mancare all’appuntamento dei prossimi 11 e 12 maggio 2017, a Lubiana e Maribor.

La presentazione del programma della Circular Change Conference, avvenuta il 13 aprile scorso all Casa dell’Unione Europea a Lubiana, ha riaffermato la forte sinergia in atto tra la piattaforma Circular Change (ideata da Giacomelli Media) ed il governo sloveno, che ha assunto il ruolo di coorganizzatore della seconda giornata della conferenza, nonché con le Municipalità di Lubiana e Maribor, che ospiteranno la conferenza, ma anche con le Ambasciate olandese e italiana in Slovenia e con l’AmCham.

In un video messaggio il premier sloveno, Miro Cerar, ha sottolineato come sia giunto il momento che la Slovenia e l’Europa si orientino verso l’economia circolare.

La Voce del Popolo evidenzia l’attivo supporto della Partnership per la Green Economy, guidata da Tadej Slapnik, segretario di Stato alla presidenza del governo sloveno; il sostegno convinto dell’Ambasciata olandese e dell’Ambasciata italiana in Slovenia, unitamente all’Italian Trade Agency – Istituto per il Commercio Estero; le spinte europee, evidenziate dall’europarlamentare del PPE Franc Bogovič la conferma di quanto la Conferenza sia orientata anche a promuovere le attività a livello locale data dai rappresentanti delle Municipalità di Lubiana e Maribor (quest’ultima anche con l’Istituto Wcycle); un evento introduttivo intitolato “Green Plus Digital Is Circular – One Year On” organizzato da AmCham Slovenia.

A tutti questi fattori va unita la elevata qualità dei relatori, annunciati da Ladeja Godina Košir, a capo dell’iniziativa Circular Change, e rappresentati in sede di presentazione da Janez Potočnik, eurodeputato e già commissario europeo per l’ambiente, che presiede il consiglio della piattaforma Circular Change.

Date queste premesse, inevitabile per Jurij Giacomelli, fondatore di Giacomelli Media, la società che ha dato vita alla piattaforma Circular Change, l’evidenziare che diventare un Hot Spot dell’economia circolare è “un’ambizione naturale”, non solo della piattaforma ma per ciascuna delle persone e degli enti coinvolti in un ampio progetto di transizione verso l’economia circolare.

Presentata la seconda edizione della conferenza Circular Change in programma a Lubiana e Maribor a maggio.

Pubblicato il 27. april 2017 | La Voce del Popolo | Fiume / Rijeka | La transizione circolare è iniziata |