By Angela Nahikian, Steelcase Director of Global Sustainability

Since the earliest flickers of the industrial revolution, business has been perfecting the linear economy model. At its extreme, this model is built on the idea there will be an infinite number of customers, wanting to own an infinite number of new, innovative objects — and there will be infinite resources to support this growth. In practice, we know it’s not that simple, nor is it true.

There are strong signals this ‘take, make, dispose and repeat’ model is under quiet attack. Industry growth rates are declining, material supply is constraining and substantial market shifts are taking place. More and more, organizations and consumers are choosing convenience, customization and performance over ownership and disposal.

A growing contingent of entrepreneurial start-ups and established, global companies, alike, are seeking to drive growth and innovate their value propositions through circular economic models.