The Circular Pathfinder tool, which provides guidance to companies looking for appropriate circular design strategies, was developed based on OEM (original equipment manufacturer) case studies. Ease of use was one of the main requirements during development of the tool, resulting in a software-based guide that asks a maximum of ten product-related questions, after which it gives a recommendation for one or more specific circular design strategies. The advantage of a practice-based tool is that the practical relevance is, in all likelihood, high. The disadvantage, however, is the lack of scientific validation. This paper presents a literature review of the decision variables and heuristics of the Circular Pathfinder, with the aim to uncover any discrepancies between practice and literature. The main finding is that the focus on practical usefulness of the tool has led to excessive reduction of the complexity inherent in strategic circular design decisions. Recommendations for improving the Circular Pathfinder tool are given.
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