Design for the Circular Economy

Understanding the complexities of designing for a circular economy

International companies see the move towards a circular and sustainable economy as a complex but necessary challenge. This Master Class helps you understand this thinking and the role you can play in responding to this challenge.

29 and 30 January 2020

Group size
10-16 participants

Industrial Design Engineering,
TU Delft

20 January 2020

The Master Class hosts a mixture of interactive tutorials and workshops with the aim of plunging you into the theory and practice of designing for a circular economy. The decision to embed circular economy principles is a strategic business decision; this has a huge impact on the way products are developed and designed. The MC addresses the social and technical implications for product design using examples from practice, and provides design approaches that are embedded in theory whilst being pragmatic and usable for designers.


Learning Objectives

During this master class, you will learn to:

  • understand the systems-perspective needed for the transition to a circular economy;
  • understand how design can contribute to a circular & sustainable economy;
  • use tools and techniques to implement circular economy principles in design processes;
  • reflect on ways to overcome the barriers for going circular.


  • Theory and practice of designing for a circular economy;
  • Circular product design tools and methods.



9:00Registration and Welcome drinks
Getting to know each other
10:00Circular Economy, theory & practice Conny Bakker
Explore the core values of circular design for business, and how circular requirements impact design.
11:15Workshop - Going Circular - The long view - Part 1 in teams
“Designing for a circular economy means we should design beyond the first customer.”
Develop a circular business proposition for your case. Plan a cascade from ‘service’ and ‘refurbish’ loops to ‘parts harvesting’ and ‘recycling’ loops.
at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
14:00Workshop - Going Circular - The long view - Part 2 in teams
Finalize the development of a circular business proposition for your case. Focus in particular on customer experience (first user, second user, etc) and the related value propositions. Prepare a short pitch.
16:15Value recovery strategies Bas Flipsen
Explore different value recovery strategies such as repair, refurbish, remanufacture, recycle. Discuss role of reverse logistics, product modularity, disassembly.
17:00Plenary feedback & discussion, wrap-up
17:30End of the first day
9:00Workshop - circular product design Bas Flipsen
Define a product architecture which fits the circular business propositions. Assessing and redesign of a case-product on modularity and disassembly, by means of a teardown, and hotspot and disassembly mapping.
at the Porceleyne Fles
13:30Workshop - Circular Impact Ingrid de Pauw and Bram van der Grinten
Review and compare economic value creation by implementing different circular strategies using the circularity calculator.
16:30Closing Debate - How to implement insights into business practice
Role of Design
17:30Closing and Drinks

Practical Information

How to prepare
Read a 12-page case study prior to the master class. If you want, you can bring a relevant case from your own practice to class.

After the course
Two months after the course, a pre-set consultation timeslot will be offered to all participants to share experiences and ask questions to the IDE Master Class. The format and the timing will be discussed with the participants during the IDE Master Class.