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  • Writer's pictureThe NTWK

The Circular Advantage on Innovative Business Models

As we stand at the crossroads of environmental protection and economic progression, the circular economy framework steps into the forefront. Harnessing this model, we’ve chosen two trailblazing startups that have risen to the challenge, breaking conventional business norms and showcasing a purpose-driven approach with Menddie and TraceChain. Bridging the consultancy expertise to this paradigm, we further looked into the promising potential of an open-source toolkit for circular product designs (Clarasys) and the integration of circular models into enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems (SAP).

The journey unveils a narrative on how businesses can navigate issues related to resource scarcity, deglobalization of supply chains, and efficiency in spare parts management. This captivating voyage towards a more sustainable business ecosystem occurs amidst an irresistible shift toward service-based models. Pioneering this transformation, companies like Menddie underscore the value of customer relationships and behavioral insights that outlast one-time transactions, heralding a new era in business-customer dynamics.

Riikka Olli, CEO & CO-Founder of Menddie: “Brands are the ambassadors of their brand and loyalty. And if we can add that service layer to that journey, that's really where I see the impact.”

Complementing this change, digital platforms like TraceChain are emerging with a mission to promote sustainable practices in traditionally linear industries. Co-founder Timmy Melotte champions the power of blockchain to create an ecosystem linking supply and demand in the construction sector, offering a solution for the colossal waste it generates. This innovative business model strives to put the goals of responsible consumption, climate action, and transparency at the heart of the building industry.

Timmy Melotte, Co-Founder of TraceChain: “Circularity and blockchain help businesses to be a force for good in the building industry”

Sam Maguire, Sustainability Lead and Principal Consultant at Clarasys, further enriches the narrative and presents his work with Exeter University’s Circular Economy hub: They developed an open-source toolkit that helps businesses transition to a customer-centric circular model, simultaneously addressing desirability, feasibility, and viability.

“We added to the innovation sweet spot, meaning to the desirability, feasibility, and viability of the circular aspect into that mix to start measuring across those four different areas", shared Sam Maguire.

Yet, transitions of such magnitude are not without their share of trials. Stephan Fester, Co-Lead at SAP Circular Manufacturing Practice, emphasizes the impact of this shift on financial perspectives while turning linear SAP processes into circular closed loops. The challenge lies not just in implementing the circular models but in acclimating the cash flow dynamics and balance sheet parameters to these new models. Moreover, digital transformation is an integral aspect of transitioning to the circular model, making continuous customer engagement and reliable revenue streams attainable.

Stephan Fester: “You need to find a critical mass of CEOs at the end who want a network of trust to make the right decisions. This is most likely the critical factor why Catena-X really works because eight to 10 top CEOs decided for it to work.”

Navigating the Circular Economy: Leadership, Trust, and the Path to Sustainable Prosperity

Transitioning to the circular economy framework demands robust leadership at all levels, from government interventions to visionary business leaders willing to pioneer the change within their industries. Companies realize the potential of sustainability, not just as a means of reducing their carbon footprint but as a unique business strategy to connect with an increasingly eco-conscious consumer base.

This journey towards a circular future is fraught with challenges, from disrupting established supply chains to overcoming resistance. However, with the promise of fair value distribution and the revival of traditional professions, the circular model is gradually gaining traction. A central tenet to the success of the circular model is trust, particularly when it comes to the quality and state of materials destined for reuse and refurbishment. The future of the circular economy hinges upon the perfect blend of waste, information, and resources. A network like Catena-X, which leverages the automotive industry’s trust, significantly simplifies the process.

Catherine Schoendorff, Founder & CEO of DIVVA: It is crucial to ensure that the shift to circularity is a real solution to actual problems.”

Four different approaches were presented in this session. Four innovative business model approaches, which remind the reader that the move towards a circular economy is more than a fashionable concept or a buzzword. Besides a genuine commitment to sustainability, circularity is a strong enabler of being concrete, inclusive, and transparent.

Written by Catherine Schoendorff ©TheNTWK


Circular Platforms: Your Pathway to Sustainable Success in Today's Business Landscape

Amidst today's dynamic business landscape marked by digital disruptions, supply chain challenges, evolving customer preferences, and regulatory shifts, our structured course, "How to Build and Scale Circular Platforms," offers a comprehensive solution. Tailored for Company Leaders, Heads of Digital Transformation/Sustainability, and Innovation Project Leaders, this instructor-led and gamified program equips you with essential tools and knowledge to lead the transition to a circular economy.

The course covers key areas:

  1. The Circular Economy Opportunity. Introduction to the Circular Economy and the different types of circular business model opportunities (e.g. resource recovery, product life extension, product as a service).

  2. Circular Business Model Innovation. Kickstart your circular ambitions to establish a comprehensive view of the benefits of creating circular business models across different innovation horizons.

  3. Value Proposition Design for Circularity. Take a customer-centric perspective to shape your circular business model and articulate how it can enhance your CX, adding value to your customers.

  4. Circular Experience Design. Apply user-centered design and behavioral science techniques to create enticing circular customer experiences.

  5. What are platform-based businesses and what do they have to do with circularity? Introduction to platform-based business models and how they can help you drive exponential growth through enhanced market reach, improved resource allocation, increased efficiency through shared infrastructure, and accelerated innovation and co-creation.

  6. Leveraging platforms to unlock the synergies of the circular business models. Learn how to leverage platforms to facilitate access over ownership, promote circular supply chains, encourage collaborative consumption, foster the sharing economy, and facilitate closed-loop systems.

  7. Data & technology as a way to embrace the shift in customer behavior towards circularity. Discover how you can use the technology and data to exploit opportunities to build market-tailored circular platforms and gain the necessary agility in terms of time to market.

  8. Setting up circular pilots and empowering your ecosystem - strategic vision alignment to onboard partners and customers into your circular innovation. Shape your circular ecosystem and mature your piloting and go-to-market capabilities to successfully launch and scale your new circular experiences. Upon completion, you'll lead the charge toward a circular economy, positioning your organization for sustainability and future success. Join us in shaping a brighter, more sustainable future.


Explore the Latest Digital Business Trends in #TheNTWKSummit23Report

Gain insights from 350+ digital business innovators from 21 countries who gathered in Barcelona to explore the latest trends in #platforms, #ecosystems, #marketplaces, #metaverse, #NFTs, #sustainability, #AI.


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