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The Circular Economy concept is largely based on a systemic or holistic thinking approach. Processes that are inherent in and across systems as well as their relation are understood as a whole. This holistic approach demands for a certain methodological transdisciplinarity in research practice. Transdisciplinarity in this sense is more than a simple exchange between research disciplines (interdisciplinarity) and demonstrates the relativity of these constructed boundaries. Finally, transdisciplinarity may prevent that institutional boundaries also become the knowledge boundaries of our societies.
Systems thinking or system theory aims at counteracting the ongoing fragmentation of knowledge into scientific disciplines, not at least to take the complexity of reality into account. Solutions to societal challenges that are based upon systems thinking are therefore more resilient and sustainable.
Following elements of systems thinking demand particular consideration:
- dynamics and complexity
- flows of engery, material and information
- interactions and overlapping with other systems