Live studio session Circular Design Case: Kick-off

  • Speakers:
  • Simon Widmer, Alexandre Micheloud
  • Details About the session
  • Speakers Info about who's talking

The Disruptive Innovation Festival is an online festival of ideas that asks the question: what if we could redesign everything? During the DIF, we’ll be asking our speakers to tell us what they think is in store for the future of the economy. While watching you can chip in with your thoughts and questions: sign up for a free My DIF account and ask your question through the discussion forum below the live stream!

The Circular Design Case has kicked off!

You have until Sunday the 19th of November 23:59 GMT to submit your entry on Twitter #circulardesigncase #thinkdif. The best 3 entries will be able to build professional credentials by receiving the first Circular Design Case award while the best entry will receive an additional 1000 GBP.

Please find below the brief, submissions requirements and judging criteria of the 2017 Circular Design Case. We put together a learning journey on which you will find all the information you need to take part in this competition as well as resources on circular design. The second submission requirement involves filling a template you can find here.


THE BRIEF:Your mission

Understand an everyday product by exploring the system it is part of. Imagine how both could be redesigned to be in accordance with the circular economy and its three principles:

  1. Design out waste and pollution

  2. Keep products and materials in use

  3. Regenerate natural systems

Think of an everyday product that is made out of plastics or plastics-based fibres such as polyester. Some examples include a cup, a bottle, a shirt, your trainers, a toothbrush, or a carpet in your flat. Think of the precise context it falls into.

Think of how it is made. It might be made of plastics and molded or extruded. It might be made of fibres and knitted/woven or nonwoven. Think of its packaging.

Ask yourself: Can you zoom out from end users and consider the wider network of stakeholders? Can you identify how they influence each other? Look at the material flows and examine where they come from and where they go after use? Can you find opportunities to redesign this system?



Submit both files together in JPEG or PNG (max 5MB) through Twitter #circulardesigncase #thinkdif

- 1 x system map with up to 3 highlighted circular opportunities:

A system map around the product you chose. We are interested to see the important stakeholders and the connections between them. On top of that, we ask you to highlight up to 3 opportunities to make your everyday product more circular. Think about what would need to change in the system and what this change involves for the stakeholders.

FORMAT: Map either by hand (then take a picture and upload it) or with a software of your choice (then convert it to JPEG or PNG).

TIPS: You might find much more information on the system by choosing a product you own. Remember this is an exploration process, you might have to do a few iterations.

- 1 x “One question for systems change” template:

A synthesis of your reflection on the circular opportunities you explored. Formulate your most critical question on the “One question for systems change” template. If you could ask one question to make your everyday product more circular, what would it be?

FORMAT: Fill in the “One question for systems change” template either by hand (then take a picture and upload it) or with a software of your choice (then convert it to JPEG or PNG).

TIP: Think of this question as your own design challenge. What would you like other people to focus their attention on?



There are six criteria your entry will be judged against - make sure you consider them all when posting your final solution on Twitter #circulardesigncase #thinkdif:

1 System mapping

The important stakeholders of the system are mapped out & the relationships between them are clear

2 Circular opportunities (max 3)

They fulfill the principles of the circular economy & give insights on the relevant stakeholders that need to be involved

3 One question for systems change

It is specific and action-oriented

4 Visual clarity

Information is easy to grasp and visually appealing

5 Public voting

Your entry has traction on Twitter (likes, retweets). Please note that the judging process will stop on Tuesday 21th November, thus public votes coming later will not be considered

6 Magic

Your entry shows a high degree of creative confidence

The judging panel’s decision is final.


The Circular Design Case runs for two weeks from the 10th until the 24th of November. We will kick-off on the 10th Nov at 5pm GMT by introducing you to the brief and “challenge”, providing you with resources and giving you some more flavour what circular design is all about. Following up to this session will be the Check-in on the 17th Nov as well as the Finale with Chris Grantham from IDEO on 24th Nov.


Simon Widmer

Simon Widmer

Project Manager, Circular Design

Simon is project manager of the design-related activities at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. His passion is to inspire and support designers in creating for the circular economy. He has led the development of The Circular Design Guide in collaboration with IDEO and co-creators in the design industry, businesses and universities. Within the first months since its launch at the World Economic Forum, the guide has been used by 180,000 designers from over 150 countries.

Alexandre Micheloud

Alexandre Micheloud

Circular Design Intern

Alexandre joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in June to help on design-related activities. He is passionate about influencing designers and entrepreneurs develop solutions contributing to a purposeful disruption.

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