Design for Circularity

Workshop Dates: August 10–14, 2020 (2 pm–10 pm CEST)

Enrol here!

Faculty: Arunima Singh & Angela Bartorillo

Most institutions and systems are designed around the linear economy, which is built on the principle of take, make and dispose, which leads to huge environmental impacts. Humanity is therefore at a crossroads, where economic growth and ecological sustainability can no longer be at cross purpose. This course will equip designers / other professionals to move away from the linear systems to circular systems by carefully analysing the connected ecosystems and addressing the interdependency of these systems. 

What is this workshop?

A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative and regenerative by intention and design – World Economic Forum

Production and consumption are the backbone of the global economy but the world is slowly but surely reaching a tipping point on the ecological front. The economic models that have been followed over the last many centuries, have become sub-optimal and are causing more damage than good. With the rise in awareness and knowledge in the circular economy, more and more industrial systems are becoming conscious and willing to transform their business that works in tandem with the biological boundaries. In addition, people are becoming more conscious of their actions and behaviours and the consequential planetary impact.  This presents a great opportunity for designers / other professionals to play a crucial role in weaving a society that is in sync and in harmony with nature by keeping the principles of circular economy in its center.

What will you learn?

  • Introduction to fundamentals of economic systems, including the linear economic model and the circular economic model
  • Develop an understanding of systems thinking and creation cycles
  • Understand the roles and implication of the transition to circular economy on governance, business and people
  • Understand the business case for the circular economy and the cost of the status quo
  • Dive into business models that enable transition from linear to circular
  • Utilise design methodologies to enable transition to a circular economy 
  • Learn the skills, tools, methods and outputs to apply designing for circularity in your relevant field
  • Learn through various case studies of people’s initiatives, business models from various companies and government policies around circular initiatives  

What you will not learn? 

  • Advanced or historical economic theories or framework
  • No deep-dives into topics such as industrial ecology, cradle to cradle and biomimicry. 
  • No knowledge catering to a specific industry. 

How will you learn it? 

We will introduce a series of core methods, knowledge, and skills over the course of the week, divided into daily parts. Each part will include a teaching session that includes theory, discussions to answer questions and learn from one another, and hands-on activities to test the method. Most activities will be team-based, but there will be plenty of opportunities to reflect on how to apply this to your organization and area of expertise.

As learning lives in the discussion and collaboration with teammates, there will be ample space to reflect, share, and challenge.  

Additionally, this workshop pushes you out of your comfort zone, to enable you to ask the right questions, identify areas for opportunity, and grapple with the complexity by identifying quick wins.

As this is a digital course, we will utilise a number of tools to facilitate learning and enable collaboration.  

Is this for you?

This course is for anyone who is interested in understanding the circular economy, how it impacts the world around us, and how to design for circularity.  For those who want a fundamental understanding of the circular economy as well as tangible skills, methods and tools to design for it, independent of your background or sector.  

Expertise Level of the workshop


What you need to bring to this workshop:

  • Curious, open mindset and a love of problems that need solving
  • Appetite to embrace complexity 
  • Enthusiasm to collaborate in pairs and small groups
  • Your computer, a notebook, and pen