Collective ideation for a circular world

How do you enable a global community to produce collaborative solutions to the challenges our world is facing today?


C ircle Economy's mission is to accelerate the practical and scalable implementation of the circular economy. To this end they offer physical workshops in ideation. But to really scale up their efforts they were looking for an online platform that could mobilise a global community of cities, businesses, and citizens to solve universal challenges with circular solutions. To enable this vision we created Circle Lab in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and eBay Foundation.

Wat we hebben gedaan


Creating a global source of circular knowledge

Countless reports and successful case studies have been produced around the concept of the circular economy. However, there was no central location to house this knowledge digitally. To create a home for this scattered abundance of learnings we created an open access environment for all aspiring contributors to explore, learn from and become inspired by. Users can easily browse and filter over 1,000 case studies by strategy, impact area, and industry to learn more about specific strategies that can enable the transition to a circular economy.

Accelerating collective ideation

Having created the ultimate, go-to source for knowledge on the circular economy, our next challenge was to create a framework that would streamline the process of collaborative innovation. Leaning on our own experience in collaborative ideation and development, we created a 'workflow' that is kicked off by the briefing of the challenge initiator.

The first phase of collaborative solution building starts with a time-boxed Ideation phase in which one can submit ideas on possible improvements and comment on possible risks involved.

In the subsequent Refinement phase the initiator builds on the provided ideas, refining the contributions towards concrete solutions and in doing so, giving feedback to the contributors.

Then, finally, in the Implementation phase the initiator will deploy the solutions and will update the project's contributors on its progress.


Balancing a simple content experience...

In designing the brand and platform, we had two main challenges to tackle. The first was the amount of content users have to work through. To make the content easily digested we introduced a design that was inspired by news content sites. Using a serif typeface, reminiscent of a news paper, we created a clear visual hierarchy on the platform that allows users to scan content and quickly determine its relevance.

...with a bold design personality

The second challenge was to design a platform that is visually distinct from it's 'mother' without losing all reference to the well established Circle Economy brand. Based on Circle Economy's somewhat outdated styleguide we created a modernised style for Circle Lab; a cool, bold and modern design. By using the same font and selecting two colours from their current palette, we were able to make a subtle stylistic reference to Circle Economy yet remaining a strong brand personality of its own.


Employing the power of the crowd

Through engagement and education, Circle Lab’s vibrant and diverse online community now provides fresh perspectives and unique solutions to the circular challenges faced by cities, companies and individuals worldwide.