Recent Posts

Digitally Empowered Circular Economy: Business model and industrial innovation

Lead contributor: Dr. Saman Sarbazvatan

By propelling innovation in processes, business models, products, services, industries, markets, and economies, Combinatorial Innovations, and Convergence of Technologies reshape the fabric of the economy and create waves of disruptive and enabling forces across all sectors. They give rise to the Emergence, Divergence, and Convergence of technologies, enable Business Model Innovation, and promote Digitally Empowered Industries. These trends drive and are driven by Digital Transformation and the Digital Economy, and provide groundbreaking solutions to tackle SDGs, promote Sustainable Competitiveness, and enable the transition to the Circular Economy 

This chapter is designed in five insightful sections to help the readers understand the potentials of the Enabling Technologies of Industry 4.0 in empowering Circular Industries and Business Models. Following an introduction on the above, this chapter dives deeper into how technologies integrate into industries and create new technologically empowered industries, such as FinTech, AgriTech, HealthTech, MedTech, InsurTech, EdTech, SpaceTech, and many other xTech industries. These new industries open new markets and enable opportunities for innovation as they operate across sectors and interconnect several industries. Convergence of technologies such as Cloud, Big Data, AI, Analytics, Blockchain, Extended Reality, Digital Twins with Business Model Innovation create technologically empowered business models such as Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, Solution as a Service, Analytics as a Service, Blockchain as a Service, AI as a Service, Light as a Service, Virtualization as a Service, Cybersecurity as a Service, IoT as a Service, and many more XaaS Business Models, a.k.a. Everything as a Service, that is explored in this chapter. xTech and XaaS are among major digitally empowered industries and business models that promote SDGs, Sustainable Competitiveness, and the circular economy.  

This chapter pinpoints the applications and implications of Digital Enablers of Industry 4.0 and highlights the pivotal role of Digitally Empowered Multistakeholder Ecosystems as predominant requirements to drive SDGs, Sustainable Competitiveness, and the circular economy 

Following a rigorous analysis of the above with examples and use cases, the final part of this chapter summarizes the discussions by providing Key Takeaways and Actionable Insights for researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, firms, industry and market leaders, and decision-makers to capitalize on a plethora of innovation opportunities emerging from the Convergence of Technologies, Combinatorial Innovations, and Digitally Empowered Circular Industries and Business Models. This chapter helps avant-garde thinkers, progressive leaders, and forward-looking decision-makers surf on the Emerging Trends of the Enabling Technologies of Industry 4.0 to capture their cutting-edge potentials and advance the Circular Economy imperative effectively and more efficiently while strengthening their innovation capacity and gaining unique competitive advantage. 

What's inside

The Restructuring Forces of Combinatorial Innovations

Technologies combine, converge, and give birth to new technologies, they integrate into business model, product, process, and service innovation and restructure the markets, industries, and economies. Recognizing the patterns can help us get insight on how the future might unfold.

Digitally Empowered Industries

Explore why and how Digitally Empowered Industries enable and disrupt markets and industries at unprecedented scale and patterns, threatening the laggards and providing opportunities for forward-thinking leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs to innovate and promote Circular Economy, Sustainable Competitiveness, and SDGs.

Digitally Empowered Business Models

By building visibility into value chains and intelligence into assets and providing solutions for smart tracking, monitoring, managing, and utilizing resources, Digital Enablers open new horizons for Business Model Innovation to promote Circular Economy, Sustainable Competitiveness and SDGs.


As prominent enablers of Circular Economy, Sustainable Competitiveness, and SDGs, explore how FinTech, RegTech, ClimateTech, AgriTech, and other xTechs, disrupt and enable industries and markets, and provide significant opportunities for innovation in development and scaling solutions, businesses, markets, and ecosystems.

Everything as a Service

Explore how Digital Enablers facilitate Business Model Innovation in Product-Service Systems (PSS), a.k.a. Everything as a Service (XaaS), empower economic models around increased efficiency for the end user, and empower material consumption reduction, product lifecycle extension, and product afterlife management.

Industrial Symbiosis

Industrial Symbiosis can design out waste, narrow down, slow down, and close the loops. Further R&D, investment, and innovation in Industrial Symbiosis from technical, technological, and economic and business modeling perspectives can strongly support Circular Economy, Sustainable Competitiveness, and SDGs.

Enabling Technologies

Cloud, Big Data, AI, IoT, XR, Blockchain, Intelligent Manufacturing, FinTech, ClimateTech, Smart Mobility, Smart Buildings, Digital Twins, and many more combinatorial innovations significantly empower Circular Economy, Sustainable Competitiveness, and SDGs in a myriad of ways, opening a plethora of innovation opportunities.

Digitally Empowered Multistakeholder Ecosystems

Circular Economy requires Multistakeholder Ecosystems to promote collaboration and communication through interoperable, coherent, compatible, and accessible infrastructure, with transparency, security, accountability, and integrity in governance systems. Explore how technologies provide Infrastructure, Governance, Solutions, and Engagement for empowering Multistakeholder Ecosystems.