The purpose of this thesis is to bring the circular economy framework and system thinking into the process of design thinking. The traditional design process is made up of five steps: 1) Discover a challenge. 2) Interpret the challenge. 3) Create opportunities and ideas. 4) Develop a solution and experiment with it. 5) Evolve the idea. This project is structured upon a methodology generated to apply a circular system framework in design that begins with taking a holistic view of topic. This methodology structured into five phases. The first phase is referring to this approach as moving from Macrocosm to Microcosm; in other words, the mapping of the connections and interconnections of the system. The intersections of these cosmos create what I refer to as the main element, or the “brain” for short (Phase 1). The second phase is to deconstruct this “brain” (Phase 2) and explore the elements within it . The third phase is related with surveying. The fourth phase is defining problems based on the information I found during the past three phases. The last part is the reconstruction of the “brain” using the circular framework (Phase 5).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

System theory; Design--Philosophy

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Industrial Design (MFA)


Stan Rickel

Advisor/Committee Member

Alex Lobos

Advisor/Committee Member

Dana Wolcott


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at Q295 .M47 2016


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes