This tool sets out how businesses can engage with Doughnut Economics. It is the core version (for a ~5 hour workshop), and there is also a shorter taster version available here (for a ~2 hour workshop). Built for use by workshop facilitators, it guides businesses through an action-oriented workshop that is practical but ambitious, and aimed at catalysing innovations in their deep design. By focusing on the deep design of business, the workshop invites companies to engage in a transformative agenda of becoming regenerative and distributive in their strategies, operations, and impacts, so that they help to bring humanity into the Doughnut.
Below is the tool. You can also view the tool here as Google Slides or download it as a PDF here (or see Downloads section below).
Central to the tool is the concept of enterprise design. This is explored through five design layers: a company’s Purpose, Networks, Governance, Ownership, and Finance. Here's a short video to introduce this concept, which facilitators running workshops with this tool can use within their workshop.
These design layers powerfully shape the strategic decisions and operational impacts of businesses, and ultimately determine whether or not businesses can transform to become part of a regenerative and distributive future. By diving into five layers of deep design, this tool reveals both design blockages that prevent transformative action, and design innovations that can unlock its possibility.
The tool is accompanied by a paper, What Doughnut Economics Means for Business, which contains background context and further detail on the core concepts as well as additional examples of business design. The paper was co-authored by DEAL and Centre for Economic Transformation. To read the paper, click here or see the Downloads section below.
The tool is for any facilitator of a workshop who is able to engage an individual business or group of businesses in exploring their deep design. The tool can be used by organisations or individuals who can gather multiple businesses for a workshop. It can also be used by those working within or with an individual business.
The tool is designed to support workshops run by a broad range of people and organisations, including: business networks, start-up incubators, enterprise accelerators, think tanks, NGOs, certification organisations, business founders, trade unions, consultants, business schools, impact investors, community groups and thought-leaders and intrapreneurs within businesses.
Over 300 businesses participated in the creation of this tool, through 22 pilot workshops co-hosted by Doughnut Economics Action Lab.
The duration for a workshop is suggested as 4-5 hours. It can be broken up into two or more sessions, and can also be extended to give additional time for the activities and related discussions.
The workshop can be held in-person or online. Some workshops will bring together multiple companies, while others will bring together a group from within a single business. All activities across this tool can also be conducted in pairs or by an individual applying it to their own business. Some key considerations and options are offered at the end of the tool.
The canvases that you need are provided both as printable pdfs and in an online Miro version (see Annex A towards the end of the slides). If you plan to hold the workshop in-person, you will additionally need a workshop space where you can share a presentation and work in groups, as well as basic workshop materials like sticky notes and pens. You can also run this workshop online, using video conferencing to present the slides and hold the discussions, alongside Miro to run the activities.
The key requirement is that the facilitator is enthusiastic and ambitious in exploring transformative ideas that challenge the possibilities of today’s business world, and is curious about the way that innovations in the deep design of business can unlock such ideas.
This tool shouldn’t be used to provide specific advice to businesses, but instead used to support and facilitate their journey. It is useful, however, if the facilitator is aware of some existing alternative enterprise designs that are relevant to participating businesses (e.g. employee ownership, social enterprise, steward ownership).
Facilitating will also require time to prepare and gain some familiarity with the businesses participating (e.g. their industry, legal form, board members, reporting of impacts).
Importantly, the facilitator should be skilled in guiding businesses through the journey of exploration and comfortable with complexity, with encountering defensiveness or frustration from some participants, such as: limitations around what they can change, and their desire to be provided practical advice.
If you are a consultant or other organisation wanting to use this tool with your clients, make sure that you meet DEAL’s criteria (see DEAL’s policy for consultancies and professional advisors).
To balance openness with protecting the integrity of the concept of Doughnut Economics, DEAL has created a policy applying to businesses (including consultants in their work with business clients). This policy contains seven main principles:
The annex of this tool contains the parts of this policy that are most relevant to those using this tool. This includes the ask that those using the tool to work with businesses register on DEAL's platform as an organisation in action and share back insights about the workshop with the DEAL Community. The tool contains additional guidance on how facilitators can share back.
We also invite businesses to propose case studies about their redesign around the goals of Doughnut Economics. To submit a case study, please connect with us through the DEAL contact form, choosing the category 'Tools and Stories' and theme ‘Business and Enterprise’.
St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa USA
I co-investigate life with philosophy students at a Catholic university. Donut Economics integrates with business ethics.
Christchurch, New Zealand
I'm interested in exploring how the donut economics framework can be used at a business level
Get inspired, connect with others and become part of the movement. No matter how big or small your contribution is, you’re welcome to join!
Reading Doughnut Economics, I knew I wanted to anchor it deeply into my work. I'm here to learn how to do that.