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Circular Relations


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This interactive tool kit (cases, role-playing game, workshop and discussion material) allows players (suitable for students, business stakeholders, as well as project based partnerships across the private-public/profit-non-profit divide) to engage with real life business models in order to delve into the opportunities and challenges associated with establishing and maintaining relationships on the basis of circular material flows. This game has been produced as a part of a research project and builds on the knowledge of the researchers in the project.

Hervé Corvellec is professor of Service Studies at Lund University and has a vast experience of waste and sustainability studies prior to his engagement with the circular economy. Herman Stål is associate professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Gothenburg and has experience from working on institutional aspects of sustainability practices in several sectors including farming and the textile industry. Maira Babri is lecturer in Organization studies at Örebro University and has a particular interest in the circular economy. Maira is a highly engaged teacher with experience both within the university and in executive education settings.

The material in this tool kit builds on real cases with business models representing different industries and sectors (currently based on material only from Sweden). The cases have all been collected by the researchers through actively searching for companies that are aiming to transform their business models, and are at least in some sense on the path towards building circular relationships. It is important to note that the game release (2022-2023) is likely to take place at a time during which transitions from linear to circular modes of production are still debated, still under formation, and still taking shape.   

The role-playing game allows players to learn about critical differences between linear and circular relationships, critically reflect over the challenges as well as opportunities afforded by different products and materials in different constellations.

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How to Play

Instructions and Material for Game Facilitator

The game needs a moderator or game master who is solely responsible for administering the game. We recommend that you as the Game Facilitator read the full content of the 'How to Play' page before administering a round of play. The Game Facilitator will find additional support in the Game Booklet which can be downloaded as a pdf. INSERT PDF HERE

Two Modes of Play

 The game can be played in two modes. 1. Team Mode, where all participants work together to identify strengths and weaknesses in the relationships that particular business models pose for sustainable and circular solutions and 2. Role-Playing Mode, where each player will assume one of the suggested roles and discuss the business model from the perspective of their particular relationship (touching on aspects of power, vulnerability, and fairness).

The Team mode is more suitable for novice players while the role-playing mode is recommended for advanced players with a background knowledge of sustainability and circularity. The game booklet provides suggestions on questions as well as areas of discussion for each case and each mode of playing. The same group of players may also wish to begin playing in Team mode in order to acquaint themselves with terminology and to deepen their skills about circular business models through exposure to several examples, to then continue with the Role-playing mode. A teacher could use the different modes of playing at different times during a course. Below are more detailed instructions on some examples of how to play in the respective modes.

How to set up Play in Team Mode


How to set up Play in Role-Playing Mode


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