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Tool 08:
Circular Value Proposition

Make the future concrete

Time 40-60 min
Participants Individual or group (max 5 people)

Create a circular value proposition and define the impact you want to create.

Why you should use this tool

A circular value proposition refers to the value a company promises to deliver. It provides a declaration of intent that introduces a company’s offering by stating what the company stands for, why it differentiates itself, and how it impacts the world.

It can help you determine and communicate the value you want to create – on an individual, ecosystemic, and societal level.


  • Circular Value Proposition (A1)
  • Value Proposition cards (A4)
  • Post-its 
  • Pens

How to use the tool

Step 0 · Preparation · 5 min.
Print out the Circular Value Proposition canvas and hang it on the wall or place it on a table. The team has to be able to gather around it. 

Print out the Value Proposition Cards and keep them close for the last part of the exercise.

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 1 · Brainstorm – individual level · 10-15 min.
Do a brainstorm on the benefits/value you want to provide for the single individuals. Write them on post-its and place them in the center of the poster.

When brainstorming consider:

  • Economical: What is the value for money?
  • Social: What emotions and actions (behavior) are present on an individual level?
  • Environmental: How does the solution affect the individual eco-footprint?

When brainstorming we recommend that you do it individually in silence and set a timer to 5 minutes, to begin with. When the time is up, you can share your post-its and if necessary repeat the process by having a second brainstorming session and sharing again. Sometimes, you get inspired by others’ ideas and insights and new inputs will come to your mind. 

Step 2 · Brainstorm – Ecosystem level · 10-15 min.
Do a brainstorm and write down the benefits/value that the ecosystem will get. Place them in the “ecosystem level” circle.

When brainstorming, consider:

  • Economical: How do you contribute to your value system? E.g. money, profit, data, access, knowledge, etc.
  • Environmental: What impact do you create for your ecosystem?
  • Social: What social shared-drivers do you impact in your ecosystem? What behavior would you like to affect in your ecosystem?

Step 3 · Brainstorm – Societal level · 10-15 min.

Do a brainstorm and write down the benefits/value that your new solution will provide on a societal level. Place them in the “societal level” circle.

When brainstorming, consider:

  • Economical: How do you contribute and push to the political and economical agendas on a societal level? E.g. prosperity
  • Environmental: What impact do you want to change on a societal level? E.g. livability
  • Social: What social systems and agendas do you impact in your ecosystem? E.g. meaningful society and what behavioral systems would you like to affect? E.g. health

Step 4 · Formulate a value proposition · 10-15 min.
Discuss the value your solution could provide on an individual, ecosystemic, and societal level in the team.

Go through the different post-it notes that have been written by different team members in the brainstorming session. Use this discussion to get a clear idea of the most crucial and important post-its. 

From the discussion, choose one post-it that you will formulate a concrete value proposition around.

Now, fill out the Value Proposition card.

Often it can be difficult to choose a single value proposition to focus on. It can be beneficial to create several, either to focus on different customer segments or different levels of value creation (e.g, individual, ecosystem or societal).


What now?

Having formulated a circular value proposition for your new circular offering, it is now time to go out in the world and communicate your ideas to partners or customers and collect new insights and feedback. Use all the materials you have created along the circular innovation process to communicate the message of your new circular vision.

We also recommend that you revisit the exercises of the toolbox on a regular basis to adjust, refine, and rethink your circular solution based on new insights.

Go back to Toolbox

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