An evaluation of the Circular Kickstart method, is it effective to generate Circular Business Models?

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In order to minimize the use of natural resources by organizations, a Circular Business Model (CBM) can be implemented. This concept emphasizes the improvement of resource efficiency within the value creation aspect of a business model, according to Nussholz (2017, p. 12). Nonetheless, challenges can occur during the change process towards implementation, thus, several (practical) change methods have been developed, as well as the Circulaire Kickstart (CK). The CK is a three-step method that is used to assist SMEs in the change process towards CBMs. However, due to the relatively little research done to date on change processes towards CBMs, and the experience-based development of the CK, the effectiveness of the method is unknown. Therefore, this research evaluates CK’s effectiveness, by stating the following RQ: To what degree is the Circulaire Kickstart method effective to enable a change process with the aim to generate Circular Business Models? To evaluate the process, the outcome, and the role of the change agent of CK, interviews have been conducted with both CK consultants and participants. Additionally, two other change methods, Circo and Copper8, have been analysed on similar characteristics to be able to compare change processes on their effectiveness. The results suggest that the CK process is effective to enable a change process, considering the incorporation of most, literature-based, characteristics of a CBM change process, as the inclusion of change process steps, the improvement of the firm’s readiness for change, the creation of commitment, and the consultant’s positive influence as an external change agent. Even though improvements on learning and collaboration can be made. Furthermore, the CK process is effective to develop a concrete circular opportunity, that creates awareness for the client, fits the clients’ ambitions, and leads to follow-up actions. However, solely focusing on the generation of CBMs, the results suggest that the CK has the potential to generate partial CBMs, yet only if it fits the client’s ambition, while the Circo and Copper8 processes can generate (partial) CBMs. Considering that both the process steps and goals of Circo and Copper8 aim towards the development of a business case or business proposition, that mostly contributes to the improvement of resource efficiency related to value creation. On the contrary, the CK process outcomes highly differ and do not always contribute to resource efficiency related to value creation.
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