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Circular Loop Canvas – download our tool for building circular strategies

07.04.22|6 min
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At Ergodesign, we have repeatedly faced the challenge of guiding a client through the process of change towards circularity. Strategic work where you build guidelines for products and services is a multi-level process. To make it more concrete and have a single common scheme for everyone to use, we have developed our original tool called Circular Loop Canvas. It can be used to create a circular vision in one place, right from the research phase up to the final strategic and design decisions. See if Circular Loop Canvas can support your business.

Circular economy – an opportunity and a challenge 

Circular economy presents a number of new challenges to entrepreneurs who need to adapt their offers to circularity guidelines, implement new products and services and change their business models. We discuss the business benefits of circular economy in our podcasts.  

Whether our job is to analyze how things are now or explore visions for development, we ask and delve into a number questions right from the start of cooperation with a client. 

  • How do you keep products, components, materials and raw materials in a closed loop?   
  • How to eliminate or reduce their negative impact on the environment?  
  • How to ensure a product can be repaired, renovated, refurbished and recycled?  
  • What actions can you take to extend product life and maximize its value?  

Answers to these and many other questions allow us to pose innovation hypotheses, based on which we design solutions in line with the philosophy of circular economy. Sometimes the answers come from people in various teams, including marketing, sales, service, production and researchers, as well as from users. Experts from various fields may have diverging opinions on the situation. 

 So how do you get all people involved in the process to have the same understanding of its results, and use them to come up with a single, shared vision of development? It is a challenge we have faced multiple times at Ergodesign, and one that has led us to create Circular Loop Canvas.

Key principles of the method 

We are in design, so we prefer to communicate with images. It’s definitely one of our superpowers! When working with insights, audits and strategies, it is absolutely essential not to miss anything and have a good sense of understanding within the team made up of ourselves, our clients and partners. What we wanted was to capture the bigger picture – take a broader look at the issues raised and make it easier to put them together. 

Circular Loop Canvas is a method we have developed to simplify work on innovation strategies where circular economy guidelines play an important role. It’s a tool that helps us construct guidelines for products and services that need to operate in a closed circuit. It speeds up communication and makes it possible to develop a holistic view of the entire product life cycle together, by working out a list of contents for joint work.

says Krzysztof Bogomaz, Head of the Strategy Development Department at Ergodesin, the author of Circular Loop Canvas. 

In its essence, Circular Loop Canvas is about giving a structure to work on circularity. It provides a common space for inventorying activities, collecting information about the as-is process, recording to-be models and building development plans – ambitions. The scheme can support us in the process of creating an innovation strategy and building project guidelines, right from the research phase up to the final strategic and design decisions.  

Download our original Circular Loop Canvas tool and start working on circular change.  

 

What does Circular Loop Canvas involve?  

Most of the closed-circuit methods and tools we have looked at describe product life cycle or product lifespan as well as product environment. However, they marginalize the role and agency of the users themselves. The Circular Loop Canvas scheme shows two aspects in one go:   

  • product lifecycle – from the start of production to disposal. It includes all product lifespans occurring within that product lifecycle (X).  
  • product lifespan – from the moment a product is purchased/accessed until its use is discontinued. It covers an internal orbit in the immediate environment of the product and, as it preserves the sequence of actions, it constitutes the classic path of a product user (Y).   

Beyond theory  

The first large project where we used this scheme, after which we kept gradually finetuning it, was our own internal transition to circular economy. 

This is a very broad topic that touches on many dimensions of economy, business, and design itself. From the beginning, we looked at pioneering implementations in this area, as well as legislation, good practices and all kinds of guidelines that allow responsible product design and implementation, with respect for the limitations of our planet. We collected the data in a common workspace so as to compile knowledge from various fields, and then share it within the team, as well as through workshops and educational activities. here.

We have also had the opportunity to test and improve our method as we worked with the clients for whom we delivered circularity projects: JKB Group and Green Cell. 

It would be hard, however, to identify a textbook way of working with this method. A perfect recipe of some kind. The method is more of a canvas that structures your work and, above all, provides you with a list of contents to rely on. A navigational instrument. But it’s not a space where you would put in everything you can find. It’s where we throw in key hypotheses, concepts, ideas, plans and ambitions. It’s not a place to visualize everything, so as not to lose the clarity of the image. In this way, we can make our work simple and bring down the number of things we look at in the process. We use Circular Loop Canvas in our daily design work.  

A step towards circularity   

Our experience has led us to develop a simple scheme that allows us to maintain a shared idea of our work on circular change. Whatever the size of the company, transition to circularity is always a huge undertaking. 

If you’re wondering where to start, you can look for inspiration in other sectors. Because we work with the consumer electronics industry – not usually associated with circularity by consumers – we have accumulated a lot of experience. We have collected our inspirations, conclusions and examples of the most interesting solutions in the latest issue of our Impulses of Circularity” 

 

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