Becoming more circular, a new role for products

innovation made

Becoming circular is the future. A service-based business model creates stable and sustainable income in a world where raw and virgin materials get expensive.

Moving towards new businessmodels

Switching to abundant natural energy resources like wind and sun, using only non-toxic materials in products, designing products for long term use and creating closed circles of products, components and materials is a huge task.

The greatest challenge most likely is changing to another business model. Sometimes a large change is needed, sometimes less big. The basic question is how to close the circle of products, components and materials.

In many cases a business model based on pay-for-use, pay-for-result or a hybrid business model could be attractive. A model based on services, a model that breaks with the sell cheaper, sell more paradigm. A model that required a big change in thinking, yet has the potential to create a sustainable and stable cash flow, loyal customers and many more business potential. Find out more business potential with running a circular business.

A new role for products

The result of a service based business model is that products will play a new role. You will stay the owner of the products. They only help you to sell your services. Therefore they will need to be durable, easy to maintain, need to create a certain attachment to people, compatible, upgradeble and easy to disassembly. A whole new set of important factors comes into play.

We gained knowledge and experience in recent years. We seek for beauty, health, justice and profitability, inspired by circular thinking like from cradle to cradle, natural capitalism, biomimicry and blue economy. The following three strategies form the core of our thinking about sustainability.

Do more good

Is it actually a good idea to develop a product? Is it useful and beneficial for people? Practically this question means that you sometimes might need to turn down a project, although it seems profitable. On the other side it helps to focus and put your resources on potentially good products: products that are meaningful to people, that create diversity and do not harm nature, but can co-exist sustainably next to nature.

Long term use

Products that last long are potentially more sustainable. Who will through away an old violin? People tend to repair it, maybe sell it or use it. This point might be in conflict with your marketing and sales targets. It might require a re-design of your business model, maybe switching to a service based business, maybe switching towards high value products with good margins, but it is a great step forward.


Take more time to think about what will happen to the product when it is not used anymore. Can it be send back to the manufacturer? Can waste be eliminated and can all or most of the parts and materials be re-used? How can we rely on natural energy? Can we eliminate toxic materials and substances that might enter the products in base materials, coatings, glues? Can we design the product such that it comes back, so that we can reuse valuable components?

product design, sustainability, circular design, eco engineering

Practical tools to help you to become more circular

Our powerful practical tools help to transfer your company into a circular business. They help you to create new business models, opportunities for maintenance, refurbishment or remanufacturing of products, re-use of components, new partnerships that can transform returned parts and materials into usable input for production, rethink energy use, material selection and much more.

Call us on +31 20 820 22 11 to discuss your circular opportunities or get started with our Designguide.

Product design, sustainability, circular design, eco engineering

Case: inline skate wheels, in a circular design

The patented wheel is build in two parts: a high quality aerospace alloy aluminum rim that will last for decades, with a durable nylon and TPU tire construction that allows the user to change tires, he does not need to dump the total wheel.

The tires can be collected and recycled, turning them into new tires. The nylon can be separated from the TPU, both of the materials are non-toxic.

Jaka Benedik
"The interchangeable rim/rubber concept is a perfect example for ecological engineering. "

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