This course will inspire designers, doers, thinkers, entrepreneurs and business leaders to rethink the role of design and its value for the transition towards a circular economy. The course will introduce design and system thinking techniques within a practical approach, so participants can have a hands-on experience in implementing circular design.

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Design has been recognised as a catalyst to move away from the traditional model of take-make-dispose to achieve a more restorative, regenerative and circular economy. As such, for a circular economy to thrive, products need to be designed for closed loops, as well as be adapted to generate revenues. This should not only be at the point of purchase, but also during use, and be supported by low-cost return chains and reprocessing structures as well as effective policy and regulation.

The course is delivered through online content and a face-to face workshop over 2 days. The online delivery will introduce key tools for systems and design thinkers highlighting how products, services and systems are currently made and how this could change if we start thinking with a system level approach. Through online interactive learning, participants will join discussions to share experiences and good practice as well as learn about tools and methods that can help them to shape their thinking towards new product/service/system development. Then the course takes a practical flipped-classroom approach where participants have the opportunity to improve their understanding of applying circular design through responding to a real challenge in a workshop for 2 days. The outcome of the workshop is to develop a circular product, service or system. 

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • DurationTwo days
  • LocationOnline
  • Cost£1,250
    Concessions available

Course structure

The course is delivered through online content and a face-to face workshop. The online content is divided into four sessions available to participants as soon as they sign up to complete on their own time. The workshop will take place at Cranfield University over 2 days.

What you will learn

This course is for you, if:

  • You are a design passionate and would like to learn how to become a systems thinker,
  • You are exploring how design and systems thinking could help you to move from thinking about problems create solutions and implementing them,
  • You need access to tools and methods alongside guidance from experts to progress your design and systems thinking practice to move away from the traditional model of take-make-dispose.

The course objectives are: 

  • To equip you with the necessary tools and methods alongside creating new knowledge through examples, mentorship and discussions to become a systems thinker,
  • To demonstrate a systemic understanding of the benefits and challenges associated with the implementation of circular design,
  • To generate confidence in developing novel products, services or systems following circular design principles. 

Core content

The online content is divided into four sessions available to participants as soon as they sign up to complete on their own time: 

  • An introductory clip welcoming participant to the course in just over 5 min,
  • A 15 min clip on the ‘transitions to circular design’ followed up by a discussion forum comprise of 1 question. It is expected that participants will complete this session in over an hour,
  • Reading material of two blog posts on systems thinking plus a reflective piece on what inspires you about thinking on system. It is expected that participants will complete this session in over an hour,
  • A 30 min clip introduction to the challenge that participants will take during the 2 days’ workshop. 

    Other resources and materials will be posted online prior the workshop as a reference to complete the challenge. 

The 2-day workshop will be hosted at Cranfield University. Upon completing the workshop, you will:

  • Have access to a range of tools, methods and expertise in design and systems thinking to apply circular design,
  • Be able to apply systems and design thinking in a real context,
  • Be able to develop novel solutions for products, services and systems following circular design principles,
  • Be part of a network of circular thinking professionals to support ongoing learning and application of circular design.

Who should attend

The course is suitable for all creative and motivated individuals interested in design and systems thinking as a way to solve complex problems in the context of the Circular Economy. No previous experience in circular design or systems thinking is required. Some knowledge on the circular economy will be beneficial.


Professor Leon Williams

Guest speaker from industry


20% Discount for Cranfield University Alumni

30% Discount for members of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation CE100.

40% Discount for Ellen MacArthur Foundation Global Partners.

Accommodation options and prices

Accommodation is available at Mitchell Hall which is located on campus. All rooms are en-suite and bookings are on a half-board basis. If you would like to book accommodation for this short course at Mitchell Hall, please indicate this on the registration form and we will arrange this for you. 

Alternatively, you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world. 

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.