Young people brainstorming circular business models – Circula game as sounding board

News 2020-02-11 at 13:45
© Salme Muurikka

In the future, more and more people may find employment based on circular economy. A wonderful game called Circula, especially designed for young people, illustrates some of the business opportunities of circular economy. In an event organised in Lappeenranta on 14 October 2019, pupils and students were excited to try out the game.

What types of business could be developed from another company’s surplus cornstarch? How about plastic sheeting used in product packaging? Could we acquire used office furniture? These are some of the questions young people from the Kimpinen school, Lappeenrannan Lyseo upper secondary school and the Saimaa Vocational College Sampo in Lappeenranta pondered when playing the Circula game.

The idea behind the game is to form teams and brainstorm an enterprise that uses natural resources inventively and sustainably. The game is based on using either made-up resources or information about existing surplus resources. In the Lappeenranta event, the businesses operating in the area provided information on their actual surplus materials and facilities. These businesses were Fazer, Ylämaa Group, Öljypuu, the Varaamo service of the City of Lappeenranta and the Saimaa Vocational College Sampo. The Greenreality services of the City of Lappeenranta were also involved in the cooperation.

Surplus cornstarch for shampoo

At the end of the game, the teams presented persuasive and concise 60-second pitches on their business ideas to a jury consisting of Tommi Rissanen from the LUT University as business model specialist and members of Fazer’s product development team. The made-up enterprise Taikajauho Oy won the event with their invention of using Fazer’s surplus cornstarch in dry shampoo.

“The young people were excited about the game and prepared great presentations for the jury,” says Salme Muurikka from the Greenreality services after observing the game.

The Circula game was particularly designed for vocational education and training institutes but is also well suited for ninth-graders in comprehensive school, upper secondary schools, universities of applied sciences and anyone interested in the theme. The game can be used for general or vocational education, in universities of applied sciences, in corporate development work, in leisure activities or as a tool for environmental counselling.

The game was developed by SYKLI Environmental School of Finland, Junior Achievement Finland, Savo Consortium for Education and Omnia, the Joint Authority of Education in Espoo Region. The development of the game was funded by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. The game is available at the SYKLI website. SYKLI’s educators will also organise game events in the future.

Actual resources provided by businesses for the game event

  • Öljypuu: plastic sheeting delivered to the company in glass jar packaging between the jars
  • Fazer: Wooden casting boards removed from use and cornstarch powder used in shaping candy
  • Saimaa Vocational College Sampo: office furniture removed from use
  • Varaamo: leased facilities (home economics classroom and teaching classroom)

More information