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Circular economy and tech – the solution to global challenges.

She is one of Sweden’s most influential women, primarily in technology. She was recruited by Chalmers to build bridges between technology and the development of society. And that is exactly what she is doing – in her research – and in real life.

As Professor of Strategy and Management of Digitalization in the Entrepreneurship and Strategy Division at Chalmers in Gothenburg, Sweden, Robin Teigland is literally changing the world for the better:

-My research is at the crossroads of emerging technologies and new materials, social networks, and the future of value creation with a purpose of inspiring people to explore and look for opportunities to develop new solutions to our increasing global challenges.   

She is currently leading a number of projects investigating AI and its influence on value creation in society and how the convergence of disruptive technologies including AI is transforming long-standing institutional structures leading to new organizational and labor forms. Teigland aims, through her research, to inspire and lead companies and organizations into a sustainable direction:

-What most organizations need to do is to take a more holistic perspective and develop a more circular economy model mindset, focused on economic, environmental, and social sustainability. They need to rethink their value creation activities and explore new solutions developed through interorganizational partnerships using emerging technologies. 

Innovative business models play a central part in this development:

-They are of utmost importance. Today’s solutions and business models are not sufficient to solve our global challenges. In many cases, if we were to start over in solving a problem, we could combine new digital technologies to create a more sustainable solution. 

Circular economy can be a possible solution to most of the challenges we are facing. There is a need to understand how to use disruptive technologies to empower communities in a sustainable direction:

-A return to co-located production and consumption, facilitated by a circular economy mindset and emerging technologies such as 3D printing, blockchain, IoT, artificial intelligence, drones and materials such as hybrid nanocomposites and new applications of algae, will help to reduce emissions while improving quality of life. 

According to Teigland digitalization is at the core of a sustainable world as it facilitates AI and many emerging technologies. A backside is related to the power of algorithms to control and nudge individuals as well as the more connected things are, the more vulnerable things become due to hacking and other security issues:

-That is the reason for education, we need to make sure that people are aware and able to take responsibility for their digital life as well as for making sustainable choices in everyday life. An awareness of the value technology can create in order to solve problems and at the same time be able to recognize where it can create vulnerability and what to do about it.

Recently Robin published three books with Routledge on fintech, the future of labor, and digitalization’s impact on public services. She is now working on the next one that will be published with Volante in 2022:

-My next book will be about how to lead in an increasingly uncertain world and will discuss aspects such as scenario thinking, networking for purpose and serendipity, building collective competence, and co-creating and experimenting. I will illustrate these aspects through my initiative in a coastal community in Portugal – Peniche Ocean Watch, that is based on a blue circular economy model. 

Robin is a passionate ocean lover and firmly believes that anyone – no matter their age, education, or location, can participate in making our oceans happier and healthier. She is an impact entrepreneur and has co-founded Peniche Ocean Watch and Ocean Tech Hub in Portugal, through which she is running several blue circular economy projects, such as the Plastic Chain, Peladrone, the Ocean Community Challenge, and Ecowaterdrone.

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