Skip to content

Tool 04:
Circular Storyboard

(Co)-create new solutions

Time 45-60 min
Participants Individual or group (max 5 people)

Develop and visualize your circular solution and be able to communicate it to others

Why you should use this tool

A circular storyboard is a simple visualization of a future scenario that lets you communicate the basic components of a complex circular solution without having all the details in place. 

The circular storyboard will help you refine what your solution is. But more importantly, it should also reveal how the solution should be produced, who will use it for what, and how materials and products feedback into the system after use.


  • Circular Storyboard (A3 poster)
  • Pens

How to use the tool

Step 0 – Preparation – 5 min
Print out the Circular Storyboard canvas (A3) and hang it on the wall or place it on a table. Make sure the team can work on the poster at the same time.

Step 1 · Choose an idea · 5 min
Before creating the storyboard it is crucial that you determine exactly what you want to unfold and investigate. You can benefit from using a previously formulated idea from the CE tool #3 Brainstorm Sudoku.

Step 2  · Unfold the use phase  · 10-15 min
Start to concretize your circular storyboard by filling out the use phase of your circular solution. 

Describe what happens to the product or service when it is out of your hands. What happens when the consumers or companies are using the solution. Make sure to identify a specific customer or user that interacts with your offering.

The next step is to visually outline the use phase of your solution in as much detail as possible. You can do this using simple hand-drawn sketches.

Step 3 · Unfold the prior to use phase  ·  10-15 min
Go on to fill out what happens prior to the use phase. This is where a product’s design is determined, what it looks like, and what it is supposed to do. It is in this phase many of the decisions are made on how circular a product or offering is.

When filling out the prior to use phase, consider the following;

  • Design: In designing your offerings, do you consider the full life span of the product?
  • Sourcing: What is your material input, and where does it come from?
  • Production: How are materials treated during production, and what does the process require?
  • Distribution: Who does your product rely on to create value?

Step 4 · Unfold the after use phase  · 10-15 min
The last phase of the circular storyboard is the after-use phase. In this phase, you will describe and sketch what happens to your product or service after the user or customer is done using the solution.

When filling out the after use phase, consider the following;

  • Collection: Can your product easily be collected for recycling?
  • Deconstruct: Can your product be disassembled?
  • Recycle: Can all the materials be recycled?

Step 5 · Analyse the entire product life cycle  · 10-15 min
After you fill out your circular storyboard, consider and discuss the entire flow of your new circular concept. 

Discuss possible blindspots or missing links between the different parts of your solution. Revise the storyboard if necessary.

We encourage you to show the storyboard to colleagues, partners, and customers to communicate your idea and get immediate feedback


What now?

Having visualized your circular solution, you should now go to Tool 05: Ecosystem Mapping to map out the existing network of your company and the relevant actors that could help you realize your new circular solution.

Go to Tool 05: Ecosystem Mapping

Can’t get enough of design and innovation? We hear you. And we have you covered.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest from our world delivered straight to your inbox.

Sign up for the ddc newsletter


Bryghuspladsen 8
BLOX, 2. floor
1473 Copenhagen
CVR 3699 4126


Dyrehavevej 116
Design School Kolding
6000 Kolding
CVR 3699 4126

Unless otherwise stated, all content on this website is presented under the Creative Commons Attribution License.