Trainer blog: Daniel Pan


At CIRCO we work with international trainers. Who are these trainers? Why are they committed to circular design & business? And how do they appreciate the CIRCO method? International trainer Daniel Pan is Designer & Innovation Lab leader at Casa Firjan in Rio de Janeiro.


4 November 2019

“Humans are creative and this is a great thing. We have invented cars, airplanes, computers and robots. In general, these inventions are products that are designed with a high-restriction briefing, but there is something that is missing in all briefings: future. How long can a computer or smartphone last nowadays? What is the right thing to do about that product when it is not working anymore? Do we really need so many things to live? Do we need to have things instead of just using them? Technology is empowering us to change business models radically from product to service. It is time to use our creativity and our knowledge not to design one more product but to design efficient solutions. Circular Design Thinking is, therefore, to my opinion the best way to face this challenge. That is why I became a CIRCO Trainer.”

Why I believe I can make an impact in Brazil as a CIRCO trainer

“Brazil is one of the world’s top 10 economies and has an important role in global economy through agribusiness and primary and secondary industries. The state of Rio de Janeiro has the second-largest industrial park in Brazil with more than 28.000 industry plants. Firjan, the company that I work for, has a specific mission:

  • Promote business competitiveness, education and the life quality of workers and society, contributing to the sustainable growth of the industry and development of the state of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Ensure the sustainable growth of the industry.

I am always looking for ways to do my job efficiently, I create tools, workshops and processes. Participating in CIRCO’s ‘Train the trainers’ was a great moment to learn a new methodology, tools and processes with an issue that I already know but hadn’t worked with before: Circular Design. Now as a trainer, a product designer and an innovation leader in Firjan, I have the opportunity and support to teach and apply the CIRCO Method in our industry and help them to change from a linear chain of production to a circular one.”


Firjan has a mayor reach in spreading awareness around design thinking and circular economy

The CIRCO method is extremely suitable for busy leaders

“The Rio de Janeiro industry has a specific profile. Industries are usually small and medium-sized, with a familiar administration, always concerned about the present, with multitasking leaders who usually don’t have time to think about the future or rethink their business model. Firstly, the Circular Economy approach is a great thing to help them to be more efficient and secondly to bring new business opportunities with partners, suppliers, and clients.

“The CIRCO Method is a highly engaging and concrete methodology with a truly smooth and efficient process, very well designed visual tools and something that really makes a difference: it really works in 3 immersive days! In a busy context that leaders and change-makers are hardly ever available to stop and rethink the internal process, the Track, as we call this 3-day immersive program, does its job in a really reasonable period of time for that public. This format can also offer a great opportunity for companies that are established in nearby cities to enjoy the Track.”

CIRCO Track invites to overcome barriers together

“Participating in Tracks creates a very special moment; we meet people, expand our network and a lot of opportunities pop up. Tracks have a wonderful atmosphere that lets people be more open to dialogue and to share their challenges. Sometimes the work becomes very difficult for participants, but any problem or any barrier is dealt with by trainers with good humor and in an easygoing way.

At my second CIRCO Track in Rio de Janeiro in July 2019, I was responsible for coordinating with the CIRCO Team and there as a trainer. SUPERGASBRAS participated: it’s a big gas company from the SHV Energy Group. During these days, the most difficult moment appeared when participants needed to share and approve the progress internally, between the first and the second day. Some companies don’t have a deep engagement and the Track results may be compromised. Trainers like me, therefore, have to push the participants between the days and I decided to do a closer follow up with them.”

Future Tracks and challenges

“At the same time that I am writing this text, I am organizing our third Track and our first Class. In 2020, we are planning to work with at least 40 companies and run one Track in the countryside of Rio de Janeiro. In 2020, we are also planning to start a partnership with other states in Brazil to give them the opportunity to have CIRCO Tracks too.”


“I had the great opportunity to be trained by Pieter van Os and Cleo de Brabander, great trainers who always have the patience and a big smile to explain everything and support me, trainers and all companies during the Track.”

Together we can design the future!

About Daniel Pan

I am Theo’s father, an urban cyclist, a designer and an Innovation Lab leader at Casa Firjan. During an ordinary day, I am always trying to solve problems that come to me when I am walking on the street, playing with my son, watching a football match or cycling to work. As a designer, I have a very critical view of my city, my country and our world: I believe that our choices show who we are and what we believe in. Some friends say that I am a hopeless romantic, but I am not. I just believe in people.

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