1 Floating Solar
2 Litter4benefit


By „co-creation“ we understand the process of developing innovative solutions through initiated, interdisciplinary and intercultural cooperation.

We support pioneers with collaborative methods in identifying challenges and appropriate solutions for a transregional transfer or localized project implementation.

We accompany the actors in the course of the innovation process with a toolbox of methods that draws on established approaches such as Human Centered Design or Design Thinking. This methodological approach is firmly anchored in the Principles for Digital Development and requires a consistent comparison of the individual project approaches to digital innovation with the as yet unknown real circumstances of the respective contexts.

Initiating interdisciplinary
and intercultural cooperation

Integrating existing innovation approaches
and stakeholder networks

Focusing on transfer processes and
collaborative needs assessments

Human-centered developments
and design solutions

Current co-creation processes


Hashenge Floating Solar

Prototyping an innovative technology approach


Around 60% of the population in Ethiopia still lacks access to clean and affordable electricity. The most affected are remotely located rural communities like the community around Hashenge Lake. The extension of the electricity grid to these villages is not yet practical due to the difficult terrain and high grid extension cost. Hence, renewable energy based mini-grids and standalone systems are considered suitable to provide electricity access to these communities.

Mizan Massa (ETH) developed the idea of using Ethiopian bodies of freshwater for photovoltaic electricity generation. The innovation factory is supporting this idea via adaptation and piloting in Northern Ethiopia.

Adaptive co-creation process

Idea Scouting
and Identification

June 2019

Mizan Massa, a participant of
“My Region Is The Lab” study tour by innovation factory, contributed her idea.

Solution Transfer
and Ideation Workshop

November 2019

Linking Ethiopian experts with relevant local stakeholders from Lake Hashenge.

Initial exploration of context of use and stakeholder analysis.

Preparing a phase of user research and first collaborative prototyping.

User Research
and Co-Design Phase


Realizing feasibility assessment on Floating solar PV mini-grid in Tigray.

Conducting usage scenario and participative prototyping with rural focus groups.

Finalizing result analysis and implementation concept.

solution provider supported by innovation factory

Hashenge Floating Solar

"Hashenge Floating Solar PV" is striving to implement solar energy mini-grid to fisheries and small holder farmers at Hashenge Lake area, in Ethiopia. The aim is to investigate the feasibility assessment of solar PV mini-grid, either floating or land-based options to come up with the best user centred configuration for supplying electricity to the rural communities.



Transferring digital innovations to a new context


Plastic waste management and recycling facilities in and around the city of Cancun (Mexico) are poorly developed. It has been observed that digital innovations have in many cases provided efficient and effective solutions to these types of challenges.

An initial study trip provided a closer understanding of the challenges and the professional ecosystem and the identification of local experts and activists for future cooperation. Based on these findings innovation factory invited three solution providers to a workshop to dive into a one-week experience of a different context and business environment for their products and services.

Adaptive Co-Creation process

Topic Exploration
and study trip

November 2018

Collecting information and first-hand experiences via field visits, stakeholder meetings and expert interviews.

Establishing the local relevance via a group workshop with key partners, local experts and activists.

Identifying solution providers and preparing their involvement.


Solution Transfer
and Capacity Building Workshop

July 2019

Exploring the context of use by the solution provider and stakeholders via workshop formats and excursions.

Mapping of essential target/user groups for the potential services.

Outlining specific information gaps and potential means/methods for closing thoseDiscussing pilot locations and support structure.

and Piloting


Developing an individual use and business case for the piloting phase and intended solution.

Conducting solution specific user research and designing according to the identified requirements.

Implementing localized pilots/functional prototypes.

solution providers supported by innovation factory


Based in Chile, social enterprise Algramo offers a dispenser system for small volumes of grains, liquid, & powder products from recognized common brands at low cost. Users buy re-usable containers with rfid-chip that are filled up by the dispenser machine (based in supermarket or on tricycle). Users can coordinate the visit of an e-tricycle through the Algramo app. For each purchase made in these new dispensers, the customer will be informed how much plastic was avoided and what the environmental impact is and also receive money back, which can be used to buy new products.


Ecolana started working on their idea in Mexico City since 2016. They offer a community platform to connect recycling centers with recycling citizens. It also provides access to information, builds connections and facilitates transactions between different stakeholders of the recycling chain. The digital map enables the user to locate the nearest available opportunity to recycle different types of materials and furthermore, Ecolana organise and offer environmental education campaigns, community building and consulting services around recycling in Mexico.

Photos: © icebauhaus/Tiemo Ehmke