Organizing Sustainable Innovation

Course code:
Period 2
Language of tuition:
School of Business and Economics
dr. P.R. Tuertscher
dr. P.R. Tuertscher
prof. dr. ir. J.J. Berends
dr. P.R. Tuertscher
dr. ir. F. Deken
Teaching method(s):
Lecture, Seminar

Course objective

Academic skills: ability to critically evaluate innovations and
innovation approaches from the perspective of sustainability
Knowledge: theoretical understanding of the management of innovation
processes and understanding of specific challenges and approaches for
developing and adopting sustainable innovations
Bridging Theory and Practice: developing skills for applying creative
and analytical methods for new product, service, and business model
Social Skills: working in teams for idea development

Course content

This course concerns the development and commercialization of
sustainable innovations. Organizing for sustainable innovation implies a
shift away from a reactive approach (i.e. organizations responding to
economic, societal and regulatory pressure) to a pro-active system
oriented approach: by relying on creativity and a systematic (re)design
of their business processes and interaction with stakeholders,
organizations are now developing innovative products, services and
business models that have sustainability at their core. Organizing for
sustainable innovation involves many of the general processes and
methods for the development of new products and services, yet also
offers particular challenges and approaches, which this course addresses
by building upon the stakeholder perspective developed in the earlier

The following topics will be covered:
• Innovation management for sustainability, including innovation in an
ecosystem of stakeholders; types of innovation (incremental/radical;
product, service, process and business model innovation); innovation
• The business case for sustainability, including why sustainability can
be framed as an opportunity (as opposed to a threat or disruption to
current business), potential pitfalls and how these can be surmounted
• Templates and principles for sustainable innovation, including key
approaches (e.g. circular business model, product servitization, base of
the pyramid) and how they can be facilitated by digital technologies and
innovative financing
• Developing ideas for sustainable innovation, including creativity and
opportunity identification, and specific sustainability oriented
approaches such as frugal innovation and reverse innovation
• The development of ideas into products, including co-creation with
users and other stakeholders, design for sustainability, impact
assessment, and the role of digitalization and dematerialization.
• Embedding sustainable innovations in value networks, including the
important role that various stakeholders (e.g. suppliers, competitors,
regulators, consumers) play in stimulating or inhibiting the adoption of
sustainable innovations such as renewable energy.

Form of tuition


Type of assessment

Individual assessments
Group assessment

Course reading

Collection of academic articles (will be announced on Canvas).

Recommended background knowledge

First two courses of the minor program “Sustainability and innovation.”

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