Phase 2: Circular Business model and ecosystem design


When inspired about the benefits of circular economy and knowing well the shortcomings in own business model and available resources the ideation of new possibilities process is essential in starting to create new products, processes or changing business model.

Circularity is the system approach and only in cooperation with all stakeholders in the loop, the value is created.  To identify and analyse your stakeholders, use the stakeholder analyses template.

The level of value for each stakeholder within the loop depends on the level of involvement. On the other hand, the owner of the side stream has the most control over the resource other stakeholders would use. Therefore, the ideation process needs to be first carried out with your employees and closest collaborators to understand your willingness and capacity to utilise side and waste streams, to create new products and change business models. It is important to decide at the early stage what is the scope of transformation the company wants to make internally and where the company will be involved in the ecosystem supporting utilisation of side streams. 

There are a lot of methods for how ideation sessions are carried out.

Good facilitation of the ideation sessions often is the key to high-quality outcomes. The facilitator needs to take a neutral stance in the session, this does not mean it has to be an external person. However, as facilitation can take a lot of mental effort, people who have an interest in the outcome, or have skills, experience, information, or authority which is important for a successful outcome, should rather be participants, but not facilitators. Often it is more beneficial to involve an external facilitator.

SYMBIOMA partners can provide you facilitator services in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Ireland in English or national languages. Contact us through for further assistance.   

Here are a few useful ideation methodologies:  

  • Workshop and brainstorming
  • Sketching
  • Mind mapping
  • Storyboard


Learn from others and ideate how to apply

Creating ideas for circular ecosystems that go beyond existing solutions can be a time-consuming process if it is done in an “empty space”. Although it might bring a totally radical and new approach, learning circular ecosystem patterns and ideating how they could be applied for own business speeds up the process.

A more circular approach for companies can also be found from



Be active in participating in various matchmaking events to be able to your broader business network and to meet potential business partners.

In phase 0. “Trigger” we have provided some examples of events and links to the websites to get inspired as well as connected.


Stakeholder analysis and mapping

A stakeholder is an individual, group, or organization, who may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a company or project. The stakeholder analysis is a great tool to map all actors that are impacted by you and that impact you. The stakeholder analysis helps to map all the actors in the first step. In the second step, the stakeholders are analysed based on their power on their interest, i.e., the degree that the stakeholder is impacted by your organization. The third step should result in an action plan to move certain stakeholders to the preferable position.

By analysing the current business model and circular business model, you have already identified some stakeholders which are your customers and key partners. Who are other actors that could be potential collaborators or organisations that could support your transition towards more sustainable and circular business models?  

Create a list of contacts of innovation actors and any other business support organisations and specify how they could assist you to open opportunities for valorisation/commercialization of prioritised side waste streams.  

SYMBIOMA Stakeholder Analysis

Circular business model analysis

Also, in this stage, Circular Business Model can be used to design all the components of the new product or business model.

In comparison with a traditional Business model Canvas, Circular Business Model Canvas is the useful tool to estimate the impact of your business model on People (society), Planet(environment), and Profit(economy)-, also as known three sustainability dimensions/pillars. The Circular business model canvas has a similar structure as the Business model canvas with 2 additional building blogs (#10 and #11) that focus on positive and negative impacts from the three aforementioned sustainability dimensions.

The Circular business model analysis questions are maybe self-explanatory, but you should critically revise your model components and be able to identify shortcomings you are facing or will be facing in the future and define the scope of circular transformation.

Circular Business Model Canvas Template

Profitability of side stream valorisation

Legislation concerning food waste and utilisation of side streams in the NPA area

Circular economy business development and consulting
Click on the icons below to see each phase.

Phase 0

Initiation or trigger circular BM development

Phase 1

Analysis of current business model and resource streams

Phase 2

Circular Business model and ecosystem design

Phase 3

Technology and ecosystem integration

Phase 4

Scale-up the circular business model