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Business Model Experimentation for Circularity: Driving sustainability in a large international clothing retailer

Bocken, Nancy LU ; Miller, Karen; Weissbrod, Ilka; Holgado, Maria and Evans, Steve (2017) In Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment (EPEE) 2017(1). p.85-122
Abstract
Business model experimentation for sustainability is an intentional and systematic approach to identify, test and learn about value creation strategies that could be adopted by a business in response to current unsustainable trajectories. For businesses such as large clothing retailers the need to alter course is acute as pressure builds from economic, environmental and social angles. The circular economy concept provides a potential powerful lever for change. To date, however, scant research has been conducted on how circular business model experimentation is conducted.

We present an in-depth action research case study of a large international clothing retailer embarking on a journey of business model experimentation for... (More)
Business model experimentation for sustainability is an intentional and systematic approach to identify, test and learn about value creation strategies that could be adopted by a business in response to current unsustainable trajectories. For businesses such as large clothing retailers the need to alter course is acute as pressure builds from economic, environmental and social angles. The circular economy concept provides a potential powerful lever for change. To date, however, scant research has been conducted on how circular business model experimentation is conducted.

We present an in-depth action research case study of a large international clothing retailer embarking on a journey of business model experimentation for circularity: the processes, methods, roles and the organisation in light of the need to address broad sustainability challenges in the business. It was found that experimentation activities oscillated between slow and loaded, and faster and un- weighted modes. While an intentional and stepwise process was sought, in reality it was largely emergent and highly iterative. Through this iterative process, new circular business models were generated that co-exist with current non-circular ones. Confidence in experimentation as a business capability also increased through this collaborative project.

This study provides insights into how to conduct lean startup type business model experimentation for circularity in a large organisation. For practitioners, the benefits of academic-industry collaboration, and the oscillating dynamics of business model experimentation are illuminated. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Lean startup, circular economy, business model experiment, sustainable business model, circular business model, clothing retailing
in
Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment (EPEE)
volume
2017
issue
1
pages
38 pages
external identifiers
  • scopus:85044330077
DOI
10.3280/EFE2017-001006
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
99b77d3c-d34c-4c4a-9d18-447af21bd8e0
date added to LUP
2018-03-01 09:37:55
date last changed
2018-05-29 11:04:15
@article{99b77d3c-d34c-4c4a-9d18-447af21bd8e0,
  abstract     = {Business model experimentation for sustainability is an intentional and systematic approach to identify, test and learn about value creation strategies that could be adopted by a business in response to current unsustainable trajectories. For businesses such as large clothing retailers the need to alter course is acute as pressure builds from economic, environmental and social angles. The circular economy concept provides a potential powerful lever for change. To date, however, scant research has been conducted on how circular business model experimentation is conducted.<br/><br/>We present an in-depth action research case study of a large international clothing retailer embarking on a journey of business model experimentation for circularity: the processes, methods, roles and the organisation in light of the need to address broad sustainability challenges in the business. It was found that experimentation activities oscillated between slow and loaded, and faster and un- weighted modes. While an intentional and stepwise process was sought, in reality it was largely emergent and highly iterative. Through this iterative process, new circular business models were generated that co-exist with current non-circular ones. Confidence in experimentation as a business capability also increased through this collaborative project.<br/><br/>This study provides insights into how to conduct lean startup type business model experimentation for circularity in a large organisation. For practitioners, the benefits of academic-industry collaboration, and the oscillating dynamics of business model experimentation are illuminated.},
  author       = {Bocken, Nancy and Miller, Karen and Weissbrod, Ilka and Holgado, Maria and Evans, Steve},
  keyword      = {Lean startup,circular economy,business  model  experiment,sustainable business model,circular  business model,clothing retailing},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {85--122},
  series       = {Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment (EPEE)},
  title        = {Business Model Experimentation for Circularity: Driving sustainability in a large international clothing retailer},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3280/EFE2017-001006},
  volume       = {2017},
  year         = {2017},
}