Activity 3: Rethinking the System

This activity, from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, follows the format of a ‘Dragon’s Den’ competition. It aims develop student’s understanding of responsible product development and how the principles of the circular economy can be applied to current business practice. Case studies of existing products are analysed with a view to suggesting improvements using circular economy principles. Students explore the principles of the biological and technical cycles and then apply these to the design of a new product. Working in teams, students develop a business proposition for their new product, which is then assessed against a set of criteria developed by an additional team who act as judges. The activity could be extended further by linking it with business studies. It could also be used in tutor groups or as the basis of a debate in English lessons. Design and technology concepts include: • Product analysis and redesign • Innovation and business Circular economy concepts include: • Biological and technical nutrient cycles • The importance of viewing ‘products-in-systems’ rather than in isolation, optimising systems for multiple benefits to a wide variety of stakeholders • Learning from companies that are leading the transition towards a circular economy

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