Edited by Paul M. Pedersen
Current business model frameworks are hardly adjustable to the dynamic process of achieving a circular economy (CE). Most tools available offer a linear canvas for designing the business model, from ideation to innovation. However, in the process of achieving a CE, a business advances through various stages each with their own milestone. As the firm’s strategy adapts to market and legislative changing conditions and makes progress through the CE process, so should their business model. This chapter aims to fill this gap by proposing an emergent guiding framework, whose building blocks can be interchanged and adapted as progress is made. The proposed framework is intended as a cumulative empirical tool for everyday use in the classroom and in practice. It might be particularly helpful for new startups and young entrepreneurs, such as students in entrepreneurship programmes, seeking to establish a CE foundational logic behind their anchor purpose and value proposition.
Phuc Hong Huynh and Einar Rasmussen
The emergence of digital technologies has shifted the process and the outcomes of entrepreneurship and innovation and holds significant potential for enabling a more circular economy. We explore the potential role of academic spin-offs, which are new ventures commercialising technology and knowledge based on academic research. We mapped the population of academic spin-offs established in Norway from 1999-2012 and identified 25 firms commercialising digital innovations with potential circular economy impacts. We found two main types of digital academic spin-offs, which were based on digital product innovation and on digital process innovation. These spin-offs often commercialised radical process innovations based on digital infrastructure technologies that helped increase resource efficiency and optimise production performance. They also introduced product innovations based on digital platforms and digital artefacts. Digital academic spin-offs play a role as technology suppliers to larger firms and contribute to the circular economy by “narrowing the loop”, reducing the consumption of resources and energy, and reducing waste emissions.
Haakon Thue Lie, Knut Jørgen Egelie, Christoph Grimpe and Roger Sørheim
Many initiatives aimed at achieving a circular economy are based on collaborations between industry and universities. However, these partners often engage in collaborative research without a clear understanding of who will have access to the research results and under which conditions. Such engagement may limit their ability to apply the results to the circular economy. The research project’s contractual terms regulate whether access in the form of licensing will be exclusive to a few or non-exclusive and available for the many in open innovation. We demonstrate a novel method for analysing the contractual agreements of research partnerships to investigate whether and to what extent the outcomes of research partnerships will be accessible. For research funding organizations, research managers and policymakers, the method can be used on a single project or a portfolio of collaborative projects to assess ex-ante whether research results will help promote a circular economy.
Elena Dybtsyna, Dolores Modic, Kristina Nikolajeva and Raymond Sørgård Hansen
With the overhauled EU Circular Economy Action plan of 2020 and in the wake of Norway’s first-ever Circular Economy strategy, the question of the public sector’s engagement became highly significant. As an important tool of innovation policy, public procurement should support the transition to circularity. In this chapter we investigate the status of circular public procurement practices and denote some potential opportunities. Our results show that even in the case of a circularity conscious municipality, the environmental impact of public procurement still plays too insignificant a role for it to make a difference in the process of awarding contracts and steering the actors involved towards more circularity. We conclude that circular public procurement practices need more specifically designed tender specifications and more susceptibility towards innovative procurement processes.
Greg O’Shea, Seppo Luoto, Sanne Bor, Henri Hakala and Iben Bolund Nielsen
Scholars in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship have highlighted the need for future research to examine how a supportive external environment for sustainable entrepreneurship can be created (Bischoff and Volkmann, 2018). In order to address this research gap, we conducted a study on a regional circular economy ecosystem centered in the recycling of wastewater. The study is based on 45 user-stakeholder interviews from 10 different types of organizations within a local sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem, based in Finland. The findings highlight the importance of conscious, collaborative stakeholder support and ecosystem coordination for creating strong sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems. This chapter then offers a contribution to fill the research gap in terms of a framework for a supportive environment for entrepreneurs within sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems, founded on seven enablers crucial for entrepreneurs to pursue circular endeavours.
Siri Jakobsen and Marianne Steinmo
Innovation is a key enabler for industrial symbiosis (IS) between actors in a system, in which the waste from one actor can be used as input in another actor’s production and thereby create mutual benefits for each actor and the system as a whole. However, developing IS might be challenging for firms, as it requires capital investments, regulatory incentives and cooperation. To increase our knowledge of the development of IS, this chapter identifies IS drivers and barriers between firms in Mo Industrial Park over the course of a decade. We find that developing a circular industry is a long-term process that requires open innovation efforts where academic institutions are essential in mobilizing firms towards circularity. The main barrier for IS development, both in 2010 and 2020, is the economy, where firms lack access to risk capital to invest in research-based circular solutions. Due to limited research and development (R & D) and innovation experience, firms also experience an initiative overload where they find it challenging to choose relevant initiatives in which to invest resources.
Nancy Bocken, Christiaan Kraaijenhagen, Jan Konietzko, Brian Baldassarre, Phil Brown and Cheyenne Schuit
The current linear economy focuses on a ‘take-make-use-dispose’ paradigm, prioritizing ‘volume-over-value’. Significant planning and experimentation are needed to understand how to develop new business models that are not only ‘circular’, but also desirable for people, technically feasible and financially viable. More insight is needed into the practices of business experimentation to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. We investigate the following: What types of experimentation practices do companies adopt in the transition to a circular business model? Our analysis is based on action research with over 40 organizations. Based on this, we provide an overview of business experimentation practices inside a diverse range of organizations and possible tools, approaches and lessons learned. Recommendations focus on the practices, process, environmental impact assessment, partnering and management of complexity in future tools and methods. We also propose a framework for circular business experimentation and future research directions.
Heidi C. Dreyer, Luitzen De Boer, Marte Lønvik Bjørnsund and Anna Pauline Heggli
This study explores shared value creation (SVC) by the organizations in a Norwegian food bank (FB). It discusses what and how value is created and evaluates the FBs impact on the sustaining circularity of the food system. Food banking redistributes surplus food from the food industry to frontline organizations and beneficiaries. Its existence relies upon the ability to transform the food system in a circular economy (CE) direction in a network of organizations. The study applies the concept of SVC as the theoretical lens to explore a FB case. The results suggest that the FB, by implementing CE principles, provides a fruitful basis for creating shared value and using economic gains to addressing environmental and social problems. However, the analysis suggests that barriers to further scaling up of FB operations keeps the FB from realizing SVC´s full potential. Implications for practitioners and policy makers are discussed.