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Future adaptive design for a circular economy

Future adaptive design can reduce business risks in circular business models through a product design for extended product life, through robustness, flexibility, and upgradeability

Extending product life

Circular business models building on long product lifetimes and high product utilisation present opportunities for achieving increased profitability and reduced environmental and climate impacts. Such business models are however often considered to entail increased business risks since expected revenues will be spread out over a longer timeframe. Moreover, today’s products are often not designed for circular business models. Instead, their design commonly increases the risk of them becoming unattractive, uncontemporary, worn out or otherwise prematurely obsolete. This creates additional economic uncertainties for the product owner. One way to lower the product-related business risks is to design “future adaptive” products that can be kept attractive over long periods of time and generate stable revenues.

Designing products for multiple use-cycles with planned adaptations that improves the product over time offers potential for reduced environmental load and for retaining embedded values that can be utilised in circular business models.

Opportunities with future adaptive products

Business risks related to premature obsolescence can be addressed by designing products for an extended lifetime based on increased durability, flexibility and upgradability. Such designs have potential to withstand, and be adapted to, future events and changed requirements that can arise throughout the product lifetime and potentially lead to premature obsolescence.

Proven methods and tools

Over the years, RISE has collaborated with partners in multiple sectors to explore future adaptive design and the opportunities it presents for companies that wants to shift to circular business models. Based on our experiences and knowledge we have developed frameworks, methods and tools to support more companies to work with circular business model innovation and future adaptive design. With our design methods, companies can design products for circular business models that have potential to become more profitable for the producer, and less expensive for the customer compared to products offered based on linear business models.

Get in touch if you are curious about how you can work with future adaptive design. RISE offers practical support and proven methods and tools that can help you to lower product-related business risks and realise the potential of circular business models. Our tools help you to identify and determine, for instance:

  • The main risks that your existing products will become prematurely obsolete, and whether your existing products are suited for circular business models.
  • How your products should be designed to become possible to adapt to future needs and requirements.
  • The potential for an envisioned circular business model to become profitable and which environmental benefits that can be achieved.
  • Which requirements that should and could be placed on products intended to be used for an extended life length, and how purchase price and lifecycle costs can be balanced.


Let’s explore opportunities for future adaptive designs and circular business models together!  

Recording from the FAD launch event, 20th of September 2023
Thomas Nyström

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Thomas Nyström


+46 73 079 58 21

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