Business Model Experimentation for the Circular Economy: Definition and Approaches

Nancy M.P. Bocken (Corresponding Author), Ilka Weissbrod, Maria Antikainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Business model experimentation has been identified as a key driver for business competitiveness but is underexplored in the sustainability and circular economy spheres. What is business model experimentation for the circular economy? This study follows a two-step approach: a literature analysis followed by a qualitative practitioner study. Based on these, circular business model experimentation is defined as an iterative approach to develop and test circular value propositions in a real-life context with customers and stakeholders, starting with a shared goal. It involves rapid learning based on empirical data to provide evidence on the viability of circular value propositions. Iterations involve increased complexity of experiments. There is a learning focus on initiating wider transitions, such as transforming consumer behaviours for the circular economy. We visualise the emerging research landscape, including research streams from business, transitions, engineering, and design. Practically, we illuminate how practitioners view the concept and current experimentation tools and approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-81
JournalCircular Economy and Sustainability
Early online date26 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Business model experimentation
  • Circular Economy
  • business model innovation
  • Sustainability


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