Catalysing systemic change

What are Deep Demonstrations?

Climate emergency is here and demand is growing for climate action that matches the scale and urgency of the challenge.

Innovation-as-usual, which is typically siloed and focused on ‘supplying’ the market with technology-led solutions – is not delivering a 1.5 degree world. Innovation is essential, but not as we have been doing it. We need innovation to catalyse systemic change.

In 2019, EIT Climate-KIC launched eight ‘Deep Demonstrations’ as a test bed environment for the 1.5-consistent systems transitions called for by the IPCC, European policymakers and our own strategy and Theory of Change. 

These demonstrations build on our ten year track record of climate innovation in cities, industry, land-use and finance. You can explore our larger portfolio of work in these areas here.

About Deep Demonstrations >
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Deep Demonstrations tackle multiple societal challenges in an integrated, holistic way.

For example, Healthy, Clean Cities looks at waste, mobility, heat, power, buildings, infrastructure, fuel poverty, skills, jobs, well-being, etc., as a set of interrelated city challenges.

Our food-focused demonstration works at the level of a global value chain. It looks at hunger, obesity, health, habits, perceptions, production, distribution and ecological degradation as connected challenges.


“Deep demonstrations are intended as inspirational examples of what is possible at the level of whole systems – including cities, sectors, countries and value chains – when innovation is orchestrated, collaborative and mission-led. They represent the ‘growth edge’ of our strategy for tackling climate change through innovation.”

Kirsten Dunlop, CEO of EIT Climate-KIC


 

Our methodology 

In line with our systems innovation methodology, deep demonstrations have four iterative and non-linear components:

    1. INTENT

      We work with Europe’s most ambitious ‘challenge owners’ – including city mayors, regional leaders, government ministers, citizen leaders and CEOs of major companies – to secure intent for an ambitious systemic approach to their place-based or value-chain challenges (e.g. in Slovenia, the intent is to become the world’s first fully circular national economy, using systems innovation as a key tool).

    2. FRAME

      We invite ‘designers’ into the process to help us: map the systems that need to change to deliver exponential increases in decarbonisation and resilience in that place or sector, along with other social goals; understand leverage points for systemic change; and to create a hypothetical portfolio of connected intervention ‘positions’. Our portfolio positions may include social innovation as well as innovation in finance, technology, policy, governance, citizen engagement, education, and other relevant levers of change.

    3. PORTFOLIO

      We match this mapped-out demand for innovation with supply. To activate a live and deliberate portfolio of simultaneous, interacting projects we search for innovation solutions, and we launch Calls for new and unexpected ideas, shaped by what we learn on the ground.

    4. LEARNING

      Sense-making and learning are a critical component of our deep demonstrations. We build in deliberate learning about the combined effects of interventions on whole systems, to tease out multi-dimensional solutions. ln this way we aim to create an evidence base for decision-making, both within the demonstrations themselves and for wider policymaking, with the aim of driving rapid and large-scale change.

Deep demonstrations are our way of accelerating learning about how to change the world in the context of urgency, diversity and radical uncertainty.

We invite partners and funders to work with us to expand and progress this initiative.

Systems Innovation Stories

Systems innovation content hub

Read stories and thought leadership related to the ‘big picture’ of systems innovation – the theory, methodologies, thought leadership and policy context.

Systems innovation content hub

Deep Demonstrations Stories

Deep Demonstrations content hub

Find out more about each one of our eight Deep Demonstration projects below. Visit these hubs for stories, fact sheets, video and more.

DEEP DEMONSTRATIONS CONTENT HUB

Deep Demonstrations Content Hub

Healthy, Clean Cities

Fifteen cities across Europe are working with us to accelerate their transitions towards carbon neutrality and climate resilience – using joined-up, systems innovation as a key tool.

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Healthy, Clean Cities
Long-termism

We’re designing a demonstration to address short-term thinking (in finance and other areas of society) that prevents the 1.5 °C transition we need.

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Long-termism
Resilient Regions

We work with regions particularly exposed to climate impacts due to the make-up of their landscapes, economies and societies.

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Resilient Regions
Landscapes as Carbon Sinks

We apply systems thinking to help turn a number of specific landscapes across Europe from carbon sources to carbon sinks.

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Landscapes as Carbon Sinks
Resilient Food Systems and Diets

Work with us to catalyse a shift towards a healthy food system that can feed future generations within planetary boundaries.

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Resilient Food Systems and Diets
Just Transformations

We’re working for democratic and inclusive transitions in regions still economically dependent on fossil fuels and polluting industries.

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Just Transformations
Circular, Regenerative Economies

The government of Slovenia has articulated the ambitious and inspiring aim to become the world’s first fully circular national economy.

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Circular, Regenerative Economies
Net-Zero-Emissions, Resilient Maritime Hubs

We are working with ambitious ports and shipping industry leaders to create a circular, inclusive, net-zero-emissions maritime sector.

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Net-Zero-Emissions, Resilient Maritime Hubs