In 2006, a Transition Network on Sustainable Materials Management (Plan C) was brought to life under the tutelage of the Flemish Minister of Environment with OVAM, the Flemish Public Waste Agency, acting as key initiator. Plan C aims to put the conditions in place for breakthrough innovations in the area of materials management to emerge. The effort is inspired by a nascent systemic innovation framework – paradoxically referred to as ‘transition management’. This moves away from push-button, top-down intervention strategies to initiate change in extended, complex socio-technical systems. Transition management is a nuanced, systemic (multi-level, multi-actor) philosophy that is focused on stimulating social learning and building intellectual capital, with environmental and economic value creation as an inevitable by-products.
After an initial phase of vision development, Plan C has now moved into a second phase. A pool of ‘experiments’ is forming as nodes in a systemic innovation network. ShiftN has been asked by i-Propeller to join them in consolidating the methodological framework to ‘manage’ this pool of experiments, ensuring coherence with the vision yet allowing sufficient latitude for genuinely novel things to emerge.