circular transition

How do you create a sustainable new market? The lessons of Mazzucato

At the Board, we are working towards a green future for the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. To realize a sustainable region, we therefore focus on stimulating a number of transitions, such as the transition to a circular economy. An enormous amount is needed to initiate this transition: more circular innovation, better cooperation between the business community, knowledge institutes and governments, and simply more investment in this new way of working.

Read time: 3-5 minutes

Innovation economist Mariana Mazzucato argues that achieving complex goals, such as the transition to a circular economy, requires a new vocabulary for the role of government. For example, the government should no longer just try to adjust the economy when market failures occur, but rather play a more active role in creating new markets, or co-create markets with other parties. Uncertainty about financial goals should be welcomed, not avoided, as long as the goal is to make social impact. In addition, with the help of financial incentives, the government can steer innovation in a certain direction, instead of stimulating every form of innovation in an even manner.

Want to see Mazzucato explain it herself? In this video, Mariana Mazzucato uses the example of healthcare innovation to explain the new vocabulary of government.


Initiatives have been launched at the Board that contribute to a circular and low carbon city and a sustainable market. An example of this is the initiative LEAP for data centers (Lower Energy Acceleration Program). LEAP is a platform to support the future generation of data centers. As more and more data is generated, sent and stored, the total amount of energy consumed by data centers is increasing. LEAP forms a coalition of “the willing”, namely the data centers themselves, but also the business end users, telecom providers, hardware suppliers, network organizations, knowledge institutions, startups and governments in the MRA. This platform wants to contribute in a positive way to a society in which energy efficiency and the conservation of critical materials are central. To achieve this goal, LEAP is working on a sustainable infrastructure for data centers across two tracks. This involves looking at what can be done better with existing technology and how transitions to sustainable digital infrastructure can be accelerated.