Except Integrated Sustainability
Except Integrated sustainability.
Flourish in a changing world.
Multi-disciplinary consulting, innovation and development organization working on advanced sustainability projects around the globe.

Innovation Communities for Sustainability (ICS)

Service > Innovative business models for a dynamic world

Effective collaborative environments Individual working areas Building strong communities

Innovation communities (ICs) combine the best of the corporate world with the best of the entrepreneurial spirit. These flexible business models revive urban areas, react quickly to market changes and create new and engaging innovations in all disciplines.

These next generation collaborative workplaces succeed where open offices, flex work or business hubs often fail, and form a strong platform for innovators and entrepreneurs alike.

Except has developed a variety of ICs since 2003 as part of its portfolio of sustainable development services. These ICs range from business incubators for recent graduates to professional research organizations.

Due to their success, Except has turned itself into a special type of IC: the Hive Organization, in 2008, increasing our capacity and innovation speed.

Now, we provide governments and companies around the world with full-service IC development, ranging from business advice to turn-key project development.

What Innovation Community is right for you?

There are many different ways to set up ICs. Some are based on time sharing, others on space sharing, some are incubators, others knowledge and network hubs. ICs work best when custom developed for their specific context, either independent or as part of a larger company or initiative.

Smart ICs

  • Except's Innovation Communities are designed for and tuned to their local conditions, and can change over time
  • ICs are financially independent after their start up period (usually 2 years)
  • ICs find new ways to adapt to their environment automatically 
  • Where some flex work, open offices or local community systems fail, ICs can succeed
  • ICs can be set up within existing companies
  • ICs can be used to convert empty or abandoned buildings into working business models

Rather than implementing a pre-determined and rigid business model from a book, Except makes flexible business models that respond and adapt to their local conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are ICs for?

ICs have a lot to offer in many circumstances. For instance, for a company trying to find news ways of accelerating your innovation and development, a city wanting to support local economies and entrepreneurial development, or an entrepreneur looking to start a collaboration with other independents in your surroundings.

What do ICs do?

Our world is changing. Around the world we see communities of entrepreneurs and creative industries merge and invent the solutions for tomorrow, bypassing large monolithic companies in innovation ability and economic capacity. ICs are an optimized form of this new type of business model, custom developed to suit specific needs and situations, and benefiting from Except’s experience in ICs.

What makes an IC successful?

The fastest moving companies now are those that have highly flexible and resilient corporate structures, often made up of groups of independent contractors. They seamlessly move between online and offline tools and networks, connect knowledge with abilities, short communication lines and a high level of personal dedication and energy from each individual involved.

How do ICs work?

ICs allow people to maximize their performance when working, because they work the way that best works for them, be inspired by one another and increase productivity. ICs work because they connect innovative individuals to each other as well as to the tools and services they need to operate. ICs can function as fundamental platforms for knowledge creation and sharing as well as enabling new network economies to flourish.

What is the urban benefit?

When placed strategically in the urban context, ICs can revive local conditions, bring new economies to the surface and stimulate social and cultural development. ICs can succesfully convert empty real estate into thriving economies.

Steps to set up an IC

Except provides the following IC services:

1 – Innovation Community Scan

The IC Scan tells you what type of IC is a good idea for your business, city or neighborhood, and most likely to succeed, as well as what size should it be and where it should be located.

2 – Integrated IC Development

Scan, design and development of ICs from start to finish, anywhere in the world, ensuring quality, sustainable operations, and custom built for client and community.

3 – Interior Design & Production

All ICs have custom built furniture to maximize their atmosphere, functionality and style. We design and produce sustainable interiors for ICs.

4 – Innovation Community Design

This service finds the building and develops the business case, layout, design of the IC. It determines the right ingredients of the IC that create the largest benefits for you.

5 – Adaptive Building Redesign

Making use of existing empty real estate is a smart move for ICs: they bring character and reduce costs. Except redevelops and adapts buildings for ICs.

6 – IC Management & Evolution

Day to day operation management and consulting for ICs, helping them evolve and stay ahead of the curve in a changing world.

Interested in what an Innovation Community can do for your organization or city? We're happy to talk to you about it. Contact us here.


Sustainable Office Interior

Except's sustainable work space

To demonstrate that a sustainable office interior can be exciting, affordable, and very practical we decided to make our own work space an example of just that.

The Except office in Rotterdam is located in a restored office building, which had previously stood empty for over a decade. Our renovation process brought together new ideas about collaboration, innovative material use, and exciting design.

... read more >

Growth-Planning Area Planning & Development

Next Generation Open Source City Planning - June 2009

Growth Planning introduces an entirely new approach to area planning and urban design. Rather than defining specific programmatic requirements, Growth Planning instead applies socio-economic impulses to the area within certain performance edge conditions. It revolutionzes the task of city design by requiring the urban fabric to organically respond to social and economic stimuli, and allows for increased value, quality, and development over time.

Born out of the necessity to start thinking differently about our built environment due to economic, social and environmental constraints, Except has worked on refining this new form of planning since 2005.

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Crystal Forest Office

Zero-Energy Warehouse Retrofit

This exciting office-jungle in a glass cocoon is an energy-neutral plug-in retrofit for empty industrial real-estate. It integrates all facilities and luxuries an exciting co-operative office environment can wish for today.

The Crystal Forest is a modular system that can be built and removed quickly on virtually any location, is entirely self-contained, and offers a feasible business case for a wide variety of real estate challenges, including adaptive re-use of industrial hertiage.

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Utrecht Community (UCo)

National center for sustainable entrepreneurship

The Utrecht Community (UCo) is a national center for sustainable entrepreneurship in the city of Utrecht. UCo  brings together 180 pioneering sustainable entrepreneurs and SMBs, and facilitates them  in an exemplary sustainable and inspiring building. UCo is a place to develop, discover, and accelerate together, 5 minutes biking from central station. Except developed UCo independently, and opened its doors in 2017. 

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Except Integrated Sustainability

Jeroen van der Vlist
Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Email  [javascript protected email address] [javascript protected email address]
Phone   +31 10 7370215
“With the Natural Capital Quick Scan, Except has provided us with more sophisticated tools to quickly exhibit potentially significant impacts and dependencies in an organisation's operation and supply chains.”
-- Erik van Zadelhoff
Secretary Platform Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Economy (PBEE)
“We didn't get the result we wanted, but the one we needed. In the end, the project finished within budget, within scope, and the result is exactly what we need right now.”
-- Marjolein Mann
Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment, Policy Officer