Massimo Bianchini, Stefano Maffei, Carla Sedini
pp. 237 - 260, view paper, download
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Submitted on 01 Sep 2023 - Accepted on 01 Mar 2024

Interaction Design and Architecture(s) IxD&A Journal
Issue N. 60, Spring 2024


This research explores the role of Circular Design and education in facilitating the transition to a Circular Economy for SMEs and start-ups. Despite accessible resources in Circular Design, the extent of their adoption by businesses—and e specially SMEs, who face resource limitations and lack scientific access—remains uncertain. Circular Design operates at a systemic level, requiring consideration of economic, social, and environmental aspects in innovation processes. This study analyzes existing tools and their alignment with SME needs, identifying critical areas for Circular Design adoption. The analysis reveals an emerging and diverse set of resources supporting circular transitions. Learning Ecosystems for the Circular Economy are characterized by multi-sectoral partnerships, flexible learning approaches, and digital advancements. Three key directions emerge for developing Learning Ecosystems: assessing companies’ circular maturity, integrating circular design into company culture, and fostering collaboration with innovation ecosystems. In conclusion, this research lays the groundwork for implementing targeted Learning Ecosystems to advance circularity within SMEs, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and innovative approaches in circular innovation.

Keywords: Circular Economy, Circular Design, Design Thinking, Sustainable Entrepreneurship, Learning Ecosystems

CRediT author statement: Massimo Bianchini: conceptualization, methodology, case studies analysis, writing – original draft preparation. Stefano Maffei: validation, writing – review and editing. Carla Sedini: investigation, writing – review and editing.

Cite this article as:
Bianchini M., Maffei S., Sedini C.: Exploring Circularity Toolkits for SMEs Learning Ecosystems., Interaction Design & Architecture(s) – IxD&A Journal, N.60, 2023, pp. 237–260, DOI:


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