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Stage 1 Design

intro

This is the first stage of the journey toward building a circular business model. The main aim of this
stage is to establish whether the circular economy (CE) has any significant footholds in your
organization. For your circular business model to be successful, you need to involve the right people
from across the entire organization. Therefore, establishing the right team, evaluating their influence
and competencies, and defining the roles they will play throughout different parts of your innovation
journey needs to be your priority. Only then, you can start scoping out the projects. There are
several tools that you can use to guide you through this process.

1.1 Mandate / Sponsor

Before commencing an innovation journey, it is imperative to evaluate the organisation’s circular ambition, the level of buy-in and support (i.e., are all business functions on-board?), degree of commitment (i.e., project level or organisation-wide transition?) and access to relevant resources, decision makers and stakeholders within the ecosystem.
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Conditions for Success

To evaluate the feasibility and the overall potential of the opportunity to transition, you first need to
identify that you have the necessary conditions in place in order for a successful innovation journey.

steps

There are several questions that you need to ask yourself to understand at what level your CE ambition is mandated (i.e., who and what drives the CE in your organisation):

Step 1

Answer in as much precise detail as possible, the series of questions provided. This will act as a diagnostic for how ready you are to embark on an innovation journey.

Outcome

  • A clarity of vision and expectations
  • An understanding of the core values and motivation to change
  • An understanding of what level the ambition is mandated at and which stakeholders are on board

1.2 Establish Team

Innovation journeys can be long and complex, and therefore you need to define a core team & wider cohort that will participate in each stage of this journey. The core team will likely consist of the decision makers and senior representatives of the organisation. The wider cohort needs to include a range of managers and employees to ensure full coverage and proliferation through every relevant department. This will ensure that every aspect of the business is being considered while working toward a new (circular) business model. Once the team is established, the following tools can be used to give context to everyone and help them understand their role in this whole process.
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Get To Know Your Team

To achieve the needed impact and proliferation, it is imperative to involve people from multiple departments and across diverse functions. This might mean that the members of the implementation team might not be so familiar with their colleagues from different departments. ‘Get to know your team’ allows the CE team to better understand each other (e.g., background, competencies, struggles and expertise within the company) and lead to more effective and fruitful collaboration with less unnecessary friction.

Step 1

Each team member is required to fill out a sheet, prior to or at the beginning of the ‘understand’ phase.

Step 2

The documents can be stored in a local, shared area online and/or displayed on a wall within a shared working space.

Outcome

  • A clarity of vision and expectations
  • An understanding of the core values and motivation to change
  • An understanding of what level the ambition is mandated at and which stakeholders are on board
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Team Charter Canvas

A team charter will help you create a blueprint for the engine behind a project: a well-balanced
team. As a co-created document, the team charter will help clarify the team’s direction.

Step 1

Quick introduction from everyone in the team and where they’d like to be “on the bus” e.g in the driver’s seat, steering the project? The ‘Get to know your team’ completed in the previous stage provides a foundation for establishing these roles.

Step 2

All team members individually write on post-it notes (1 idea per post-it) what their expectations are (max 3), what they see as obstacles (max 3), their 1 most important value, and what will give them energy. Also each should write down the most important value they want to add to the group. Follow this with discussion to elaborate on and reach some preliminary common understanding of these
expectations and obstacles.

Step 3

Identify common themes! Cluster similar post-it notes to identify any overarching themes and label as such.

Step 4

Lastly, based on these overarching themes, establish a maximum of 3 shared goals that every team member subscribe to and agree with. These goals need to be relevant for every team member to increase their buy-in and commitment. In other words, everyone needs to see how they can contribute to achieving these goals – these roles needs to be clearly defined.

Outcome

  • Clarity and coherency of shared goals and everyone’s role within the project

1.3 Define Scope

After understanding the mandate and core supporters of CE within your organisation, and establishing the implementation team – before progressing to the next stage – you need to define the scope for your circular business model innovation journey.
There needs to be a shared understanding of what your organisation’s current situation is, what your
reasons are for wanting to change and what are the overall goals that can help you in creating a
bigger picture.

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The Bigger Picture

This Bigger Picture is a tool that allows for synthesis of the CE project-related research.

Intro

Based on the primary and secondary research, fill in each section of the canvas in the following order

Step 1

Headaches The issues and situations, positive and/or negative, that you face as an organisation.

Step 2

Business Model (challenges) A brief overview of the business model with particular focus on present or potential challenges (i.e, latent, not yet manifested).

Step 3

Low Hanging Fruit These are things that can be improved relatively quickly without requiring too many resources or effort. These are usually identified before,
during and after the design phase (1.2) – the question to answer is; what is easy for us to improve right away?

Step 4

Goals These are the overall goals for the proposed CE project (identified during design phase 1.2).

Step 5

Vision The overall vision of the organisation – what is its purpose? It may not be clear at this stage but it’s good to create a clear starting point for later stages. A few options can be recorded.

Step 6

Context The key 3-5 trends and/or developments that are likely to impact the existing business model. These form the basis for the stage 2.2.

Step 7

Business Model Options Establish 4 – 6 ‘top-level’ business model options that are aligned with the overall goals and the overarching circular ambition. These
will be explored further during stage 3.2.

Outcome

  • A plain sight view and broad understanding of the overall challenges, goals and routes that can be explored throughout the following stages.

Stage 2 UNDERSTAND