Circular Economy Leadership In Organizations

Welcome to the Innovative Leadership Newsletter brought to you by the Innovative Leadership Institute, where we bring you thought leaders and innovative ideas on leadership topics each week.

This week’s article is a collaboration between Christoph Hinske, an associate professor at the School of Finance and Accounting at SAXION University of Applied Sciences, covering Systems Leadership and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Maureen Metcalf, CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute. It is a companion piece to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Leading in Circles: The Inevitable Circular Economy which aired on December 6, 2022. It summarizes the recently published book that Christoph edited, The Impossibilities of the Circular Economy: Separating Aspirations from Reality

Short clip from the interview:

Link to the entire interview:

Introduction to Chapter 10: Circular Economy Leadership In Organizations by Christoph Hinske and Maureen Metcalf 

There is no doubt that new technologies, governance structures, values, and interaction dynamics are fundamental to implementing the Circular Economy. However, it is leaders who build and run the organization on this foundation. The chapter discusses how applying well-tested leadership frameworks provide a crucial piece of the puzzle required to turn the Circular Economy from an impossibility to a probability.

Using the Innovative Leadership Mindset and Competency model, this chapter discusses the leadership needed for the Circular Economy. The authors argue that the leadership required to succeed in a Circular Economy is fundamentally different from traditional leadership. To succeed in the Circular Economy, leaders must evolve how they think, their presence as leaders, and what they do to progress circular economies successfully. In addition, they must understand the complexity of the underlying cause and effect behind interactions between actors, events, and structures and whether these influence their actions and strategies.

Furthermore, the chapter claims that the Circular Economy will not deliver against its promises if leadership mindsets and behaviours remain unchanged. While the Circular Economy advocates are overpromising its impact, working on leadership mindsets and associated behaviours is essential to move this critical agenda forward and improve its environmental, economic, and social effects.

Christoph commissioned a comic to walk readers through crucial elements as part of the book. The images below represent a subset we thought you would appreciate. The open-source version of the book and the comic are available for download at no cost.



























Mr. Christoph Hinske is an associate professor at the School of Finance and Accounting at SAXION University of Applied Sciences, covering Systems Leadership and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. In his work, Christoph observed that our rapidly transforming economies force leaders to be systemic since they need to act in complex, ambiguous ecosystems. Consequently, his research focuses on empowering leaders to change their strategic and operational models from linear to circular to ecosystemic. He observed that 80 of organizations, intending to transform their models to be more systemic, continue doing the old stuff, using new fancy words. They still apply the same tools, mindsets, and frameworks developed to build linear success.

Maureen Metcalf is the founder and CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute. She is an expert in anticipating and leveraging future business trends. Ms. Metcalf helps leaders elevate their leadership quality and transform their organizations to create sustainable impact and results. She captures 30 years of experience and success in an award-winning series of books used by public, private, and academic organizations to align company-wide strategy, systems, and culture using Innovative Leadership techniques. Ms. Metcalf is a Fellow of the International Leadership Association. She also serves on the advisory boards of the School of Strategic Leadership at James Madison University and the Mason Leadership Center at Franklin University. Ms. Metcalf earned an MBA from Virginia Tech. She can be reached at



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Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future via iTunesTuneInStitcherSpotify,  Amazon Music,  AudibleiHeartRADIO, and NPR One. Also, stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute on LinkedIn.

The open-source version of the book, The Impossibilities of the Circular Economy: Separating Aspirations from Reality is available for download at no cost.

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