Business Innovation and Sustainable Development
The topic of this course is that business innovation takes place in a societal context. Inventors, innovators, and businesses influence their environment. They have external effects on the local society, natural environment, on competitors, clients and suppliers. Many actors in a capitalist society are aware of their external effects. They start a business or invent a new technology, product, or business model in order to solve a social ill or a perceived inefficiency. They live in the world and they act their part. The view of capitalism as solely profit oriented and opportunistic represents an impoverished view of the reality of business. This course aims to correct that. By doing so it provides its students a handle to see their societal awareness and responsibility as a resource that helps them to make original contributions to the companies they will work for.
The course contains theory sessions, project sessions, and one or two lectures. In theory sessions students discuss the literature in details and in their connections: analysis and synthesis! In project sessions student teams report their ongoing work on a sustainability project. They analyze a stakeholder. A final report provides the data collection, problem analysis, and advice or other agreed outcome. Since the master Strategy and Innovation contains courses on competition, strategy, innovation and alliances, the report should explicitly use and refer to insights from at least one of the other three courses of this track.
Remark concerning assessment methods: Subgroup performance too.
Doelstellingen van dit vak
The main educational goal is to develop a holistic viewpoint on today’s business world. Sustainability refers to the relationships between business, society, and planet. Understanding these connections, and connecting them to business decisions, is the task in a sustainability course.
There is a personal and skill development aspect to this course. This is very much a do-course with a heavy workload from the first course day (or actually a week earlier) till the exam week! Students form a team and do a study project. Competencies that students need to mobilize include team work, self-organisation, analytical skill, and multitasking between theory and practice.
We read a variety of academic literatures including empirical studies, case studies, and analyses, from various academic disciplines. The skill to learn here is to make s synthesis of these various intellectual inputs, and develop the ability to develop an overview, see the big picture, and guide yourself and others through a complex intellectual landscape. Holism!
- Attendance in the first two meetings of the course is mandatory. You get introduced to tutor, fellow students, teams, and the educational approach. Failure to attend both meetings implies course failure.
- Excellent command of English in spontaneous
The literature consists of academic articles plus usually a book as well. To give an idea in 2016 we used Stuart Hart’s motivational book ‘Capitalism at the crossroads’. A set of academic articles will provide multiple viewpoints, depth, and critical perspectives.