Organizing Sustainable Innovation

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Organizing Sustainable Innovation

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Business Administration

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    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 development

    Social Skills: working in teams for idea development

    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 courses.

    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 processes;
    • 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.


    Individual assessments
    Group assessment

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

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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