7 resources to kickstart your circular design and innovation ambitions

Participants have a variety of tools, resources and experts at their disposal to tackle challenges during the Circular Fashion Games. These include prototyping, networking or creative and visual thinking. But despite the holistic and “choose-your-own-destiny” approach to learning and solving challenges, some sources just can’t be missed. If you’re looking to participate in this upcoming Circular Fashion Games or are curious about circular economy, design thinking and innovation, then check out these 7 sources.

Create a financable circular business in 10 steps

Our friends at Circle Economy have been front-runners within circular economy since their start. This whitepaper shows off their ability to take complex processes and boil them down to actionable steps. The 10 steps proposed in this whitepaper allow any business manager to establish a great business model and overcome any financing barriers.

Design thinking to enhance the sustainable business modelling process

Sustainable business models are on the rise. But we have ample tools available to assist companies in developing them. This paper proposes a workshop framework which makes use of design thinking to “refine the creative process of developing sustainable value propositions.” This “Value Ideation” process integrates design thinking into the innovation process to create additional forms of value and include underserved stakeholders.

We use a lot of value ideation and the processes laid out in this paper during the Circular Fashion Games to structure our workshops and masterclasses. So, it’s a great read if you want to know what you can expect or to design your own innovation game. The paper is behind a paywall, though, unless you’re part of a university.

The role of alliances in creating legitimacy of sustainable technologies

Creating sustainable businesses, technologies and business models is just one step toward a more sustainable world. If we want consumers to actually adopt new technologies they’ll need to view them as desirable and appropriate for their needs. This paper analyzes how the bio-plastics industry has been creating legitimacy through inter-organizational collaboration over the period 1990-2013.

This is a great study of the importance of alliances in sustainable development and will definitely teach you alot on how to go about it yourself.

Circular advantage report by Accenture

Accenture’s research shows small entrepreneurs are using circular economy as a framework and global companies following their lead. These global companies are finding it increasingly challenging to create value amidst depleting natural resources and environmental concerns. But Accenture’s research shows circular economy is an alternative to current economic development and allows them to stay within natural resource limits. This report is one of many examples on how small, agile teams are paving the way to an innovative circular economy.

Circular Design Guide

This collaboration between the Ellen McArthur Foundation and IDEO is by far one of the most comprehensive guides on circular design you can find online. It’s a testament to the collaborative and value driven mindset of those paving the road toward circular economy. This guide is packed with stories, methods, mindsets and resources to kickstart your circular innovator career. It’s filled with ways to create solutions that are “invaluable for people, give businesses a competitive advantage and are regenerative for our world.” The methods section for example will teach you the complete process of circular design and how to move forward at each step. This guide will ”give you the confidence to redesign the world around you.”

Redesigning Fashion’s Future

Another Ellen Mcarthur masterpiece in collaboration with Circular Fibres Initiative. “This report outlines a vision for a new textiles economy based on the principles of a circular economy. It offers a direction of travel on which the industry can agree and focus its efforts. In a new textiles economy, clothes, textiles, and fibres are kept at their highest value during use and re-enter the economy afterwards, never ending up as waste. This vision is distinct from, and complements, ongoing efforts to make the textiles system more sustainable by minimising its negative impacts. With specific emphasis on innovation towards a different system, a new textiles economy presents an opportunity to deliver substantially better economic, societal, and environmental outcomes.”

Service-based business models & circular strategies for textiles

When innovation guidelines and exemplary overviews for circular strategies for the textile industry are lacking, it’s always useful to look at innovative examples. Succesful service-based models employing circular strategies, like Mud Jeans, are moving the industry forward toward more environmental sustainability. This report researches 10 such cases and proposes “a business model framework to categorize the different types of business models.” It’s an inspiring report to read and encourages companies to identify opportunities and “develop new business models by offering them the necessary guiding information.

Why these resources?

These reports, guidelines and whitepapers comprise a part of our knowledge hub, sourced from different organisations. There’s a mix of scientific journals, corporate reports, independent NGO reports and guidelines for entrepreneurs. We believe innovation happens at the intersection of disciplines, that’s why we’ve chosen resources from different kinds of organisations.

Some take a top-down approach, like the whitepapers from Circle Economy, and others take bottom-up approach, researching different kinds of succesful players and extracting lessons from this research. Both approaches are necessary to further innovation towards a sustainable and circular economy.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your own organisation, enhance your knowledge of circular design for your career or education, or just want a headstart for the Circular Fashion Games, these resources will provide you with valuable insight, knowledge and case studies.

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