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Tool 06:
Value-Creating System

Make the future concrete

Time 90 min
Participants A group of 2-5 people

Understand the system you are a part of and use it to discover your unique circular value proposition.

Why you should use this tool

The purpose of this tool is to explore and understand the interactions between you and your network, as well as the interaction directly between the identified actor clusters. Who exchanges value with whom, and what value are they exchanging?

By the end of this exercise, you will have a better understanding of the relationships in your future circular ecosystem and thereby be able to identify your unique value proposition.


  • Filled in Actor Cluster cards from CE tool #5
  • Actor Cluster cards
  • Ecosystem initiator card
  • Value Transaction arrows
  • Pens

How to use the tool

Step 0 · Preparation · 5 min
Have your previous ecosystem canvas next to you as you will need the Actor Cluster cards.

Make sure to print new Actor Cluster cards, Value Creation arrows, and a single Ecosystem Initiator card. 

Step 1 · Cluster your actors · 10 min
Revisit the ecosystem canvas from the previous tool. Are there any new actors you have overlooked and should add to the map?

Now, Select the 3-5 most important actor clusters in your ecosystem.

Step 2 · Identify values · 15 min
Identify the values being transferred from one cluster to another. Write the value on the Value Transaction arrows.

Examples of values could be materials, service, financial, information, data, knowledge, etc. 

Step 3 · Place the arrows and actors · 25 min
Organize the Value Transaction arrows and the Actor Clusters – you are now mapping out the value-creating system.

Look across the system and feel free to play around with it – if new actors or values come up, make a new card.

Step 4 · Ecosystem initiator · 15 min
Fill in your own ‘Ecosystem Initiator’ card, and place it as the last one. Often, the ‘Ecosystem Initiator’ card represents your company or organization. It is important not to automatically place yourself in the center of the value-creating system.

Begin by analyzing the actor clusters, and see which value transactions you are a part of. Afterward, consider where your Ecosystem initiator card fits within the system.

Step 5 · Create your future circular system · 25 min
The next step is to rearrange your value-creating system, to support your future circular solution.

Look across the system and consider: 

  • What does our ideal circular system look like?
  • Are there any new relationships that are crucial for our circular solution?
  • Do we need to add new value transactions that are not yet represented in the system? 
  • Do we need to establish new partnerships with new actors to realize our circular solution?
  • Are any of the actors critical to leave behind in order to have a more sustainable business in the future?

What now?

When having mapped the future circular value-creating system, you should now move on to start visualizing a detailed concept of your circular solution. We recommend that you take a look at Tool 07: Extended Circular Storyboard.

Go to Tool 07: Extended Circular Storyboard

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


Dyrehavevej 116
Design School Kolding
6000 Kolding
CVR 3699 4126

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