The tool is designed to help the user identify Business Opportunities of the Circular Economy and provide ideas and inspiration along the process of defining a new Business Model.
The tool targets product developers and designers - professionals, as well as students. The examples provided in the tool specifically relate to companies within the construction and furniture sector but the principles of the tool can also be applied to other industry sectors.
The user should have a specific product in a specific context (company, market, region, customers, production method) in mind.
A description of the business model, based on a modified version of the Business Model Canvas template which emphasises Circular Economy principles and sustainability aspects.
Start by describing the current Business Model within a template of the Business Model Canvas, which can be used to compare the current model with the result of the tool. This step is optional. You can also start with Step 2.
In Step 2 you are asked to evaluate different value capture opportunities for your product system. The opportunities relate to the whole product life cycle, from the choice of materials until the end of life phase.
Dependent on your evaluation, the tool will propose the best fitting circular business strategies to your product system and provide examples. It also shows which design strategies are important to maximise the value of the business strategy. Use the CE Designer Tool to evaluate your product design.
After you choose fitting circular business strategies (you are encouraged to follow up more than one opportunity!) you are redirected to the Business Model Canvas template. This new template will highlight typical influences related to the chosen strategies, which need to be considered in the design of the new business model.
If you have filled out the original template, these fields will be imported. You are now invited to further define the (re)design of your business model by adding new fields and descriptions.
Prioritization, Assessment, Idea Finding.
The CE Designer constitutes a qualitative tool, which allows an easy integration of circularity strategies in the product and service development process.
The 8 design strategies address the more relevant issues a design team needs to consider in the development process of new products or services to support the transition to a more circular society.
In the filling in process, the user reflects on the importance of each strategy related to the project under development, and by the analysis of a group of criteria within each strategy, new ideas and improvement opportunities can be identified.
The analysis of a reference product or service is the basis for a creative session, where the design and development team should define and explore new opportunities that will be further developed and by comparing the reference situation with the new concept or new solution, the team can demonstrate where and how the new it performs better.
In the first step, the user must create a new project adding the title of the project, some information about the team and a short description of the project under development.
After the creation of the project, the team must reflect on the importance of each proposed strategy according to the project under development, the product or service, the company structure, the company's strategy and indicate if the strategy is important or not in the process. In this step is very important to consider the strategies that are fundamental for the project as a whole, for example, a strategy could be not relevant for the reference product, however, for the company and for the project under development that strategy will be important for the new solution to be achieved. In this case, the users should select this strategy as important, allowing their application within the assessment.
Two strategies are pre-selected:
These were considered fundamental for all design for circular economy projects.
If the tool is used to assess services, product-service systems or projects in which the objective is the transition from product-based solutions to service-based solutions, the strategies related to design for services must be selected as important in the beginning:
After the selection of the relevant strategies, the next step is the creation of the reference product.
Please note that the strategies that are chosen in this step will condition the strategies which will be available for comparison, so, do not limit yourself in this stage.
Assessment of the reference product or service
The assessment of the reference product or service will be performed according to the selected strategies. In this step, the tool only displays the strategies that were selected previously.
When opening each strategy, the team will have access to a set of criteria.
The team should now reflect if each criterion is relevant or not. Within each strategy, some criteria can have higher importance, or it can be not applicable. By default, all criteria are rated as “High importance”. Please note that the rating of the criteria cannot be changed for the new product or service.
Then, the team has to evaluate the fulfilment of each criterion with the ABC score, meaning A – good performance and C - low performance or the criterion has not been considered. The weighted sum of the performance of all criteria will result in the final score/performance of the strategy for the reference product or service.
In the case where the objective is the transition from product to services, all criteria of the service-related strategies for the reference product should be scored as “C” (not considered)
An area for writing a justification of the assessment is available, and since it’s a subjective evaluation the users should explain why the criterion was rated.
The assessment will result in the level of performance of a reference product or service. A chart with the performance in each strategy is displayed, and by open the details, the team can identify the criteria scored with “C” which means that the reference product is performing bad according to the criteria, or that the criteria were not considered in the product, the “B” where the performance is average, but there are opportunities for improvements and “A” where the product is performing well. This information will then be used to support a creativity session, such as brainstorming or other, to identify improvement measures for the project.
New product/service or concept
After the development of a new product or service, the team can use the tool to perform an analysis of a new solution according to the strategies defined in the initial phases of the project and compare it with the reference product. This comparison will demonstrate where the new solution is performing better or even worse than the reference. So, this kind of information is a good element to communicate to users, companies and other stakeholders the improvements attained with the project.
The final results reflect the variation in the performance of each strategy and should not be read as “0 to 100% circular”. They are displayed in a chart and a report can be generated with all the information regarding the assessment.
The CE Analyst quantifies the potential improvements of the environmental profile of a given "linear" product, when different circular scenarios (such as share, repair, reuse) are applied. Exemplatory questions the tool addresses are: Which strategies are most relevant for my product, given its environmental profile? If a circular product design leads to higher impacts, does the measure still pay off over time?
A basic environmental profile of a “linear” products' over the five life cycles (raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, use, disposal) is needed. Linear in that regard means that it is modelled with virgin material use and no recycling is taking place at the end of its life. To calculate the product carbon footprint of a product, the tool Katching Carbon can be used. Additionally, the products' life time is essential for providing a basis for comparing the impacts of different scenarios and defining a functional unit.
The results show the effects of applying certain circular strategies to a given linear product, in terms of its changing LCA profile.
• Step 1: Defining the linear product system
Based on the impacts of a product over the different life cycle stages and its use time the functional unit of the product system is defined (=product impacts/year). It forms the basis for the following evaluations and comparisons with circular scenarios. The life cycle data is also used to quantify the Maxiumum Circular Value Capture (MCVC). The MCVC (a ratio between 0 and 1) describes the maximum share of the environmental burden which can be influenced by a certain circular strategy. A ratio of 1 means that impacts from all life cycle stages can theoretically be mitigated with a given strategy (e.g. through product pooling).
• Step 2: Defining a circular scenario and comparing the results
With the linear product system defined, the user can then define and calculate the effects of eight different circular scenarios. The tool allows the user to calculate the effects on the footprint and compares the resulting circular scenario with the reference product. Furthermore the tool calcutes, how much of the MCVC is realised under the defined conditions. The results page provides an overview of all scenarios.