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Tool 07:
Expanded Circular Storyboard

Make the future concrete

Time 60-85 min
Participants Individual or group (max 5 people)

Develop your circular solution and identify material flows and partner roles.

Purpose and use of tool

The expanded circular storyboard is a visualization of a future scenario that lets you communicate the basic components of a complex circular concept without having all the details in place. It allows you to link material flows and relevant actors to each of the identified parts of your solution.


  • Expanded Circular Storyboard (A3) – PRE
  • Expanded Circular Storyboard (A3) – DURING
  • Expanded Circular Storyboard (A3) – POST
  • Pens

How to use the tool

Step 0 · Preparation · 5 min
Print out all three expanded circular storyboards (A3) and hang them on the wall or place them on a table. Make sure the team can work on the canvases at the same time.

Step 1 · Choose a focus · 5 min
Before creating the storyboard it’s crucial that you determine exactly what you want to unfold and investigate. You can benefit from using a previously visualized solution from the CE tool #4 Circular Storyboard or a systemic overview of your solution from the CE tool #6 Value Creating System.

Step 2  · Unfold the use phase  · 15-20 min
Start by concretizing your circular storyboard by filling out the Expanded Circular Storyboard – DURING canvas. Describe what happens to the product or service when it is out of your hands. When it’s consumers or companies that 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.

Now, identify what actors are involved in each of the three scenes and describe their role.

Go on to identify the material flows of the use phase. What materials are in use and how are they treated during the use of your solution?

Step 3 · Unfold the prior to use phase  ·  15-20 min
Go on to fill out the Expanded Circular Storyboard – PRE canvas. This is where a product’s design is determined, what it looks like, and what it is supposed to do. It’s 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: What does your product rely on to create value?

Step 4 · Unfold the after use phase  · 15-20 min
Now fill out the Expanded Circular Storyboard – POST canvas. In this canvas, 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 this canvas, 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  · 15 min
After you fill out all three canvases of the Expanded 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 08: Systemic Value Proposition to unfold the unique value that your new circular solution brings to people, ecosystem and society.

Go to Tool 08: Systemic Value Proposition

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Design School Kolding
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CVR 3699 4126

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