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LIITE Circular Economy for Sustainable Growth Extent 24.4.2018 (003).docx

Circular Economy for Sustainable Growth learning path 15 ECTS (405 h)

Module 1:

  • The introduction to the studies begins 30.8.2018
  • Hands-on workshop day is  20.9.2018 in Heureka.

Module 2 and 3: Common workshops times of Haaga-Helia and Laurea:

  • 11.10.                                 12:30-16:00          
  • 18.10.                                 12:30-16:00          
  • 25.10.                                 12:30-16:00          
  • 1.11.                                     12:30-16:00          
  • 8.11.                                     12:30-16:00          
  • 15.11.                                 12:30-16:00          
  • 22.11.                                 12:30-16:00          
  • 28.11.                                 9:00-16:00               Bootcamp
  • 29.11.                                 9:00-16:00               Bootcamp
  • 6.12.                                     free                                
  • 13.12.                                 12:30-16:00          
  • 20.12.                                 free

English with possibility to complete assignments and/or exams in Finnish for Finnish speaking students.

Professional specialization studies



This Learning path forms an independent 15 credit specialization in the circular economy. This path is part of the 3UAS joint study offering. Approved completion of an introductory course to Corporate Responsibility is a strong recommendation.


The Learning path is designed to equip the student with a well-rounded understanding of how to plan, implement, execute and measure the success of circular economy initiatives within a modern, internationally oriented company. The path has a very practical approach, which will expose the students to real-life tools and techniques while preparing the student for various positions within the circular economy field. All student tasks are directly linked to actual challenges faced by SME companies. The path has a vast material base covering articles, blogs, videos, podcasts, reports, examples and cases and is updated frequently to ensure timeliness.

Upon successful completion of the path, the student has an increased professional knowledge of tools and concepts relevant in building circular economy business models and has an appreciation and motivation for working towards a circular economy. The student can skillfully use service design and lean service creation methodology to implement circular business models and can act as a valuable part of a sustainability team.


The Learning path comprises of three interlinked modules of 5 credits each: 

Study module 1: Towards a Sustainable Consumer Society (5 ECTS) / Metropolia

Description of the module

This module will give a student an overview to the basis of the circular economy keeping the consumer view on top. It deals with sustainability in designing of products and services as well as give basic understanding on relationships with energy, material production and logistic chains.


  1. Circular economy, basis for sustainable society from society, business and consumers’ viewpoint 2.
  • Ideas of sustainable products
  • Designing for disassembly
  • Re-engineering materials
  • Simple source materials
  • System thinking
  1. Sustainable production and logistics -chains
  2. Sustainable consumption of products
  • Durability, maintenance
  • Reuse
  • Remanufacturing
  • Recycling
  • Usage in another value chain
  • Ways of consuming differently, taking sustainability approach, new innovative ways of consuming, reuse and change


Online course, practical cases and one hands-on practical workshop day and some (max 3) common 2h workshops or discussion sessions.

Study module 2: New Business Models in Circular Economy (5 ECTS) / Haaga-Helia

Description of the module

This module will explore the different business models available to operate in the circular economy, examine their basic assumptions, test, explore, build and validate alternative business models and give tools to evaluate the outcomes. The module will also introduce the students to the basic premises of the sharing economy and platform businesses.

Modules 2 and 3, business models and service design, will be co-implemented having Circular Economy Booth Camps with joint contact sessions and same assignments. This will ensure both learning, teaching and working with the commissioning companies is smooth and effective.





1. The basics of business modeling
2. New business models in the circular economy

3. Sectoral insights into the circular economy
4. Introduction to sharing and platform economy
5. Circular economy design
6. Stakeholder analysis and engagement
7. Lean start-up and lean service creation application to circular economy business models


Blended learning, especially the flipped classroom approach, for the more theoretical parts. For the practical application action learning is engaged, which by definition includes a real problem that is important, critical, and usually complex. Students will work in a diverse problem-solving team. A real-life business challenge of a company related to the circular economy will be solved. Professional responsibility for the project from start to finish by students.

Study module 3: Service Design for Circular Economy (5 ECTS) / Laurea

Description of the module

Customer-focused design thinking approach allows rethinking products, services, business models and economic systems. It can help companies reach more value from the energy and resources they use. Service design and co-creation is central to a well-functioning circular economy. Existing services can be refined and completely new solutions can be created that can revolutionize the system itself (e.g. renting a coach, from owning to renting a car, etc.).

With circular economy design, economic growth can be decoupled from the resource consumption by promoting innovation, smart design and co-design, knowledge sharing, cooperation and collaboration. In a co-creation process, the mutual value is “created with stakeholders. The needs, objectives and activities are negotiated together with different stakeholders. The process takes into consideration the real needs of the target groups in order to create sustainable innovations.

Module 3 will provide a theoretical framework for service design in the context of circular economy. Service design thinking is central in developing sustainable and attractive business models. Therefore, this module will be implemented hand-in-hand with the Module 2 in order to achieve the highest synergy.


1. Service innovation process grounded in foresight & service design

  1. map & understand
  2. forecast & ideate
  3. model & evaluate
  4. conceptualize & influence

2. Service design methods and tools applied to circular economy
3. Coco cosmos toolkit for problem identification, communication and co-creation




Coco Cosmos toolkit is a visually powerful design tool. It will be used in the module to develop and to communicate a shared view of complex situations and to discover innovation possibilities.

Blended learning and flipped classroom approach.

Hands-on exercises to learn to utilize service design tools for solving real life circular economy problems.


The entire module is undertaken as an assignment to a real-life company; and done as a mixed multidisciplinary team.


Module 1 is taught on-line with one half-day workshop days. Modules 2 and 3 are taught together during 10 weeks, with one half-day workshop each week. Half of the workshops will be in Laurea and half in Haaga-Helia.

Independent and on-line work: 359 hours
Workshops and coaching sessions: 45 hours
Assessment of one's own learning 1 h


Accreditation of prior learning is observed on the course according to separate instructions


Riitta Lehtinen, Metropolia (module 1)

Minna-Maari Harmaala, Haaga-Helia (module 2)

Ritva Jäättelä, Laurea (module 3)


All materials are available on-line and recommended reading and other reference materials are available on-line.


The course requires strong and goal-oriented commitment on behalf of the student to team work and the contact sessions in the modules. The grade will be based partly on the output and the value of the project deliverables to the client company (50%) and partly on the students own commitment, activity and demonstrated professional attitude (50%).

All project deliverables and on-line learning tasks are evaluated 1-5.
Assessments can be followed in Moodle.
All tasks must be completed with at least grade 1.
Students' performance is graded on the following scale: Excellent (5), Very good (4), Good (3), Satisfactory (2), Fair (1), Fail (0). The assessment criteria is presented on scale 1 to 5.




1 (40%)

3 (70%)

5 (90%)


The student can identify, list and combine the main issues related to circular economy.

The student can describe the main issues related to circular economy and apply them to new contexts. The student can link the key theoretical concepts to the practical tasks. The student has an understanding of how circular economy contributes to organizational success.

The student can use and combine different theories to

present her own suggestions and models. The student is aware of conflicting views on the topics. The student uses theory and specific terminology accurately. The student has a clear understanding and appreciation of how circular economy contributes to organizational success.


The student can, when part of a team, contribute to tackling and developing circular economy solutions in an organization.

The student can conduct research to identify the elements of circular economy.

The student can identify and create circular economy elements and business models  in an organization and implement them with some support.



The student can identify, create, implement and develop circular economy solutions and business models in an organization independently or with only occasional support.



The student can only with difficulty apply problem identification, analysis and solving to circular economy. The student does not demonstrate aptitude or interest in developing circular economy solutions.


The student shows moderate independence in his/her work. The student can apply problem identification, analysis and solving to circular economy to a certain extent. The student demonstrates some aptitude and interest in developing circular economy solutions.


The student shows a great degree of independence in his/her work. The student can skillfully apply problem identification, analysis and solving to circular economy issues and projects to an extent. The student demonstrates great aptitude and interest in developing circular economy solutions.

The assessment of one's own learning does not influence the course grade.