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Different collaborative cluster logic in the Circular Business Lab at RISE.
Photo: Pernilla Dahlman

4 Collaborative Ways to Speed up Circular Business Transition

In August this year, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden opened its Circular Business Lab. A key success factor in the lab is how to cluster members to get the most out of their collaborative investment. In this post we will elaborate a bit on how we see the logic in eco-system clusters evolving. We hope this will open up the collaborative field!

The first industrial cluster in the Circular Business Lab at RISE.

The Circular Business Lab at RISE is a membership based collaborative space for companies and organizations that want to stay in business for the long term by transitioning to circular business logic. The lab connects businesses who have set ambitious targets for circularity, with competence pools and partners that can help accelerate their journey. To support them, competence superpowers from the deep circular expertise of RISE, as well as other experts from our network of competence affiliates will join the lab. Collaboration is key.

We believe there are at least four directions in which you have to focus your collaborative energy when you intend to transition to circular business models:



The first collaborative cluster companies need to orchestrate is the in-house one. Circular transition is a complex endeavor that requires a multi-disciplinary approach from the start. Business re-modelling to circular principles will inevitably touch most functions within the organization and most definitely, but not limited to, business development, marketing and sales, product development, production, sourcing, finance and legal. 

The Circular Business Lab at RISE will support these in-house teams as innovation coach, circular knowledge partner and process facilitator.



For the purpose of learning, sharing experiences and solving shared problems, we believe in gathering clusters of companies from the same industry or type of business. To enable efficient collaboration and knowledge transfer within these clusters, circular maturity is a dealbreaker. Depending on where companies are on their circular transition journey, they have totally different needs of competence and collaborations. Their focus is e.g. very different if they just got started in their circular exploration or if they're deep down in business model piloting or struggling to scale their models to a global market. 

Taking an impact perspective, the Circular Business Lab at RISE has started out with large industrial companies that produce products of high quality and with long product lives (both B2B and B2C). We believe the inherent circular business- and environmental impact potential in these companies is very large. This stems from the potential in business model innovation around the concepts of longevity, utilization, and customer experience value. There are many gains to make through joint efforts to solve common challenges. Clusters that will be onboarded in the lab within short are e.g. companies from the furniture and med-tech industries. 



Transitioning to sustainable and circular business and material flows come with a shift in dominant business logic where business values will appear in new ways. Companies will have to shift perspective beyond existing organizational scope towards the full life cycle of products when they craft their circular business cases. Investments, revenues, and costs might need to be re-distributed between players in value-chains and collaboration and transparency around this topic will be crucial to succeed.

Bringing together a line-up of players from the same value chain is therefore a third logic to cluster members in the Circular Business Lab at RISE. The lab will address needed business model innovation and organizational transformation by orchestrating value chain collaboration and running parallel business development projects both with the individual players and with the value-chain cluster as a whole. 

At this moment we're looking at an array of different value chains, and again, looking at impact potential, we're particularly curious about onboarding the value-chains of electronics, batteries, and vehicles. 



Last, but not least, we see a huge need for bringing together clusters of players to enable and collaborate around specific circular business models. Imagine for example a Product-as-a-Service business model that offers a high-end house appliance product and its system of services to consumers. To make this model work, an eco-system of players will need to work together to figure out not only who does what during the life of the product, but also how values, revenue, cost, and investments need to be split in the eco system at different points in time along development and scaling.

To make your business model development successful, you will need to collaborate efficiently with both "front-end" and "back-end" circular enablers around your offering. This involves all enablers of your go-to-market activities, but also specialized back-end-players in logistics, reversed logistics, refurbishment, cleaning, repair, insurance, financing, storage and the like. 

The Circular Business Lab at RISE will act as a neutral orchestrator of collaborations, pilot programs, roadmaps and joint development initiatives. Simultaneously the lab will serve as a portal to deep circular economy expertise and to new and ongoing research programs focused on the key questions in the transition to a circular future.  

Are you on a transition journey to a more circular business? What collaborative challenges are you struggling with? We can’t wait to welcome you in the lab. Don't be a stranger!

Read more about the lab: 


Pernilla Dahlman

Affärsledare Circular Business Lab

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