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Concept Selection & Embed Feedback Mechanisms in Biosphere

Prioritize which circular concepts to take forward, based on how they relate to your business strategy and ultimate impact and consider how to mitigate risk. Embedding mechanisms to gather feedback before you release your product or service will allow you to gain insight long after it has left your immediate control, enabling continuous and agile learning. This will be valuable both to your end-users, other users in the chain, and the strategy of your business.

STEPS

  1. Using worksheet, list out all of your hypotheses for your prototype (the expectations you have for your product, but ultimately still need to test and learn about).
  2. Then add in the evidence you need to validate these learnings. What type of feedback will help you uncover what you set out to learn?
  3. Next, how do you plan to gather this data? How will you ‘instrument’ your design to capture the information you need?

Below are some examples of ways to collect data you might consider

  • Interviews (you interview your users about their experience)
  • Surveys (you poll your users based on their experiences)
  • Forums (you observe what users say about your product on social media or other forums)
  • Analytics (if your product has a digital component, you track user behaviour on the backend)
  • Data Exhaust (you leverage technology such as cookies and other data generated as a by-product of people’s online actions)
  • Sensors (you embed sensors in your product to track usage).
    • Take your Business Model Canvas and your circular innovation concepts.

For each concept, ask whether it fits within at least one of your innovation priorities? 

  • Viability – Addresses the strategic long-term business goals
  • Desirability – Provides value for end users or creates a new market of other users of your materials or product
  • Feasibility – Is there a technology that will make your product better

Next, assess the concept against the principles of the circular economy. Is it meeting all or most of the principles? Which ones need to be addressed?

Finally, plot your concepts on Matrix which measures their difficulty to implement against how much impact they could have. Consider these types of questions as you go

  • Does this require you to do things differently than your current processes allow for? If yes, does this discomfort provide a compelling new opportunity to learn?
  • Does the potential opportunity gain justify the disruption?
  • Could you set up a new venture incubator to design and test a new innovation approach and business model?
  • Could you acquire the capabilities through new partnerships?

Lastly, consider how what you capture might evolve over time. As you scale, you may consider increasing the amount of automation in your approach. Use this process alongside the prototype activity to make sure your prototypes are set up for success and that you are able to capture the data you require to maximize your learnings.

Product Journey Mapping

Think about the cycles of use for your product or service and its parts. Ask yourself what will happen over time. How might your product break down? What happens then?

Circularity means rethinking a linear use cycle of your product or service with a beginning, middle, and end. If a product or service is truly circular, it will never actually have an end to its life, but continuously take a new form. Mapping this journey will ensure that your product stays in a useful state for as long as possible and adds value at every stage.

STEPS

Start by asking yourself: how long is the intended use phase initially for the product or service? And could this be extended?

Then, ask yourself “what’s next?” What happens after its first use cycle?

  • Does it return to the biosphere? (e.g. packaging that biodegrades)
  • Does it get reused or repurposed by a new user? 
  • Does it get repaired or refurbished(e.g. a pair of boots that gets repaired)
  • Does it get remanufactured(e.g. a phone case that gets remade instead of throwing away the whole smartphone)
  • Does it get recycled(e.g. metal that gets melted down and reused)

Do this for multiple cycles. What are the journeys for the different parts of your product or service after use? It is likely that your product will break down into its core elements/components the further you go into cycles of use.

Before finalizing, consider the practical challenges during the disposal, collection, and recovery stages. (For example, a particular product or product component might be made of recyclable material, but not be recycled in reality.)

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