Björn Rust (he/him) is a post-industrial designer, researcher and educator, developing context-sensitive solutions in service of people and the planet.

Recent writings

  1. Place-based innovation for sustainable and resilient human systems
  2. Beyond orthodoxy toward design-led economic policy
  3. Opportunity hoarding

Place-based innovation for sustainable and resilient human systems

The following is the abstract for work I co-authored with my brother for the 'Learning Sustainability: Partnerships for the Goals' collection of the Sustainable Earth Reviews. The paper is available with open access here:

This paper critically examines fail-fast culture and its compatibility with fragile contexts. It argues that to address complex global challenges, a nuanced ‘fail well’ approach is required. Drawing on the Gothenburg innovation ecosystem—among others—the paper highlights the importance of fostering partnerships between industry, government, non-government organisations, and higher education institutions to prepare emerging innovators for uncertain futures. Cross-sector cases emphasise the need for place-based, collaborative innovation, highlighting that successful innovation is non-linear and emerges through dynamic social processes and contextual influence. It calls for a shift in education towards inclusive, bidirectional pedagogies that integrate sustainability principles and systems thinking across disciplines. The paper concludes by advocating for a shift towards regionally focused, inclusive innovation cultures that prioritise context and community well-being over pursuing only economic goals. This approach is crucial for ensuring safe and just futures in the face of mounting global challenges.