Advancing new perspectives on economic thinking - sustainability transitions in Rotterdam

In this transition-focused minor, we will combine both theory and practice to understand new business models. We will explore how you, as a student, can contribute by enlarging your impact or even by developing your own sustainable business model.

Name minor:

Advancing new perspectives on economic thinking- sustainability transitions in Rotterdam

Code:

MINFEW17

Teaching language:

English

Programme which has the coordinating role for this minor:

Erasmus School of Economics

Other programmes which are contributing to the minor:

Impact Centre Erasmus: www.eur.nl/ice

Drift: www.drift.eur.nl

EFR: www.efr.nl

Access:

See admissions matrix

 

Content

Many of the world’s most pressing grand challenges of our time spark the need for transformative changes that deeply will affect the way we think, organize and behave. They imply a fundamental change to an economy that is sustainable, circular, prosperous and inclusive. Even though more and more companies acknowledge their responsibility to contribute to global issues like climate change, poverty and resource scarcity they often struggle to develop new business models and value propositions that help to guide and accelerate transitions to a sustainable economy and society. Examples are new business models based on circular or sharing economy, social entrepreneurship or impact investment. These adopt different perspectives on and approaches to value creation and use new value propositions. By definition such new business models bring along new types of relations and partnerships, require behavioral and institutional changes, and imply structural changes in markets and power relations. Transition research can help to understand the complex nature of these processes and how societal and business transitions are and can be influenced to lead to more sustainable and resilient societies. In this minor we focus on understanding why and how transformative business models emerge and how students can contribute by enlarging their impact or even by developing transformative business models themselves.

The aim of this minor is to explore new futures of the economy by critically engaging with transformative entrepreneurs and academic debates around economic transitions and dive deeply into the everyday practices of new business models and new value propositions advanced by social entrepreneurs. The Minor will link up to Blue City010, a hub for new entrepreneurship such as ‘Aloha’, ‘Rotterzwam’ and ‘Fruitleather’, and funded by impact investor iFund.

First, we will provide you an overview of research on new business models and new value propositions from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining insights from economics, management and transitions. Secondly, you will become familiar with alternative perspectives on new economy, politics and sustainability. Third, business challenges and opportunities will be discussed from an academic and practitioners perspective including financing, management and governance of new business models. Fourth, specific attention will be paid to the value proposition of impact thinking, impact measurement and impact management. Fifth, you will work on an empirical study in which you will apply your new academic knowledge and insights on a practical case to develop a business proposition. Finally, you will pitch your ideas and suggestions to entrepreneurs and representatives from business and policy during a Dragons Dens organized at Blue City010 in Rotterdam.

The minor is organized in five modules and will combine lectures by academics and practitioners, group and individual assignments. Next to that we will help you to improve your skills, like debating, presenting and pitching. The first four modules will each take two weeks and consists of three academics lectures, one practitioner lecture, a group debate. The students will also identify an individual challenge in the new economy to work on a business proposition throughout the minor which will lead to an essay. These results will be presented and finally pitched during a Dragon Den in the fifth module. 

Learning objectives:

  • Understand contemporary theories on new business models and value propositions;
  • Develop knowledge and new perspectives on the (potential) role of business in society;
  • Develop an understanding of the complex nature of our socio-economic challenges and societal transitions;
  • Communicate and reflect on theories and empirical research on new business models;
  • Understand methods to measure and manage the value proposition of impact;
  • Think and act in an academic way on the interface of economics, management and social science;
  • Conduct an empirical study on the role of business in society by developing a business proposition.

Specific characteristics:

If you want to participate in this minor, we expect you to be open minded, curious and – at times – provocative and interested in solving the grand challenges society is facing. You will engage in critical debates and be able to reflect critically upon offered theories. Multidisciplinary perspectives, applied research and problem oriented learning approaches have your interest. As this minor is delivered in English, you need to have a sufficient command of the English language in speech and writing to actively participate in class. We strongly encourage students from diverse disciplines to apply.


Organisation

Maximum number of students that can participate: 50
Minimum number of students that can participate: 16

Contact hours: 40 – 60 hours

Self study hour: 380 – 270 hours depending on 15 ECTS or 12 ECTS

Classes/Seminars: There will be 2-3 lectures/seminars a week. All classes are 1,5 – 3 hours and require active preparation and class participation.

Group assignments: In Week 1, groups of around five students will be formed based on common interests. Each week there will be a group work assignment back-to-back after the lectures where lecturers are partly available for questions and feedback. The students will work on a joint critical perspective on the economy within which their individual assignments are positioned. Different forms for group assignments will be used like role-playing, world café, interactive multi-level analysis, and multi-actor analysis.

Debate: each second week there will be a debating session to close of the module. In this session the students groups are expected to take position on a specific economic challenge central to the different modules and engage in a facilitated debate.

Individual assignment: The participants will also identify an individual challenge in the new economy to work on a business proposition throughout the minor which will lead to an essay. These results will be presented and finally pitched during a Dragon Den in the fifth module. 

Dragons Den: during the last week a Dragons Dens will be organized in which the students will pitch their individual ideas and suggestions to the entrepreneurs and representatives from business and policy. This half-day event is organized at Blue City010 with closing drinks.

This 15 ECTS (12 ECTS) minor expects you to spend some 420 hours (330 hours) for class preparations, class participation, individual and group assignments.

Overview modules:

Module 1: Economic transitions, social transitions and governance challenges

Module 2: Alternative perspectives on new economy, politics and sustainability transitions

Module 3: New business models and managing economic transitions

Module 4: New value propositions, true cost accounting and social impact thinking

Module 5: Development of a business proposition*

*Module 5 “Development of a Business Proposition” is not required for ESE students that opt for a 12 ECTS minor.

Module 1: Economic transitions, social transitions and governance challenges

  • Code:
  • ECTS:  3
  • Content: In this module, the students will familiarize themselves with recent theories and insights from economics, impact and transitions research. Lectures will offer basic concepts and ideas to introduce the debate around sustainability and economic development. The challenge of economic transitions and sustainability will be linked to discussions around alternative value models and propositions as well as to challenges of governance and government. This module will put emphasis on the academic debate and students will need to engage in critical reviews of existing literature as well as to collectively reflect, with lecturers, upon recent events such as the economic crisis, the Paris Climate agreement and political disruptions.
  • Teaching method: Lectures/Seminars, group assignments, debate
  • Teaching materials:  Reader: the scholarly articles + videos can be downloaded through the university library, internet or will be handed out in class.
  • Programme offering the module: ESE, Impact Centre Erasmus Dr. Karen Maas; Drift, Prof. dr. Derk Loorbach, Prof. dr. Jan Rotmans, Guest lectures (tbc) 

Module 2: Alternative perspectives on new economy, politics and sustainability transitions  

  • Code:
  • ECTS:  3
  • Content: This module will link the academic debates to emerging experimental practices of transformation. Alternative economic models and narratives will be presented, such as sharing, circular and social economy. This will be linked to the perspectives of transition management and new business models. Transition management will be presented as a new governance approach to empower and guide transformative changes and social innovations in society. Related to this, new ideas on power and structural change will be presented. The specific characteristics, challenges and opportunities of impact investing will be outlined. In this module students will also be introduced to BlueCity010 and the impact investor behind it.
  • Teaching method: Lectures/Seminars, group assignments, debate,
  • Teaching materials:  Reader: the scholarly articles + videos can be downloaded through the university library, internet or will be handed out in class.
  • Programme offering the module: ESE, Impact Centre Erasmus, Helen Toxopeus; Drift, Flor Avelino; IFund, Wouter Veer

 Module 3: New business models and managing economic transitions

  • Code:
  • ECTS:  3
  • Content: This module will focus on the characteristics of and theories on new business models by presenting theories as well as concrete examples. Lectures are included on how to understand and analyze new business models, what drives the entrepreneurs and what can be done to stimulate their growth. This includes how they are financed, managed, marketed and scaled. The module will present examples from different domains such as food, energy and finance as well as offer the students time to select and interact with transformative entrepreneurs themselves.
  • Teaching method: Lectures/Seminars, group assignments, debate
  • Teaching materials:  Reader: the scholarly articles + videos can be downloaded through the university library, internet or will be handed out in class.
  • Programme offering the module: Drift, PJ Beers /Antonia Proka; ESE, Impact Centre Erasmus, Tasneem Sadiq, Guest Lectures (tbc)

Module 4: New value propositions, true cost accounting and social impact thinking

  • Code:
  • ECTS:  3
  • Content: New business models based on circular or sharing economy or social entrepreneurship embrace new value propositions and are expected to change the world. Many of those new business models strive to reduce or even solve various social dilemmas – in the economic, social and environmental domains. A few famous examples of SEs are the Grameen bank and Tony chocolonely Many other examples of impressive SEs can be found, yet, there surprisingly little is known about the actual success of SEs in creating social impact and we have only a fragmented understanding of the processes through which entrepreneurs may help produce social change and at the same time create economic wealth. In order to know whether such new business models actually lead to a positive difference to society, what the effects are of a corporation on society, and how it can be improved, the social impact needs to be measured. This impact is not easily captured. You will be introduced to the world of new value propositions, true cost accounting and social impact thinking and get familiar with different ways to account for the effects, value and impact of new business models.
  • Teaching method: Lectures/Seminars, group assignments, debate
  • Teaching materials:  Reader: the scholarly articles + videos can be downloaded through the university library, internet or will be handed out in class.
  • Programme offering the module: ESE, Impact Centre Erasmus, Dr. Kellie Liket, Job Harms, Guest Lectures (tbc)

 Module 5: Development of a business proposition

  • Code:
  • ECTS:  3
  • Content: In this final module, you will identify an individual challenge in the new economy. You will focus on the role of business in society, try to understand why and how transformative business models emerge and can contribute by enlarging their impact or even by developing transformative business models themselves. In this empirical study, you will apply in groups your new academic knowledge and insights on a practical case by developing a business proposition. We will organize a Dragons Dens, a half-day event, organized at Blue City010 where you will pitch your ideas and suggestions to the entrepreneurs and other representatives from business and policy.
  • Teaching method: group assignment, group coaching
  • Teaching materials:  guidelines for assignment
  • Programme offering the module: ESE, Dr. Karen Maas, Job Harms, Drift, Prof. dr. Derk Loorbach, Flor Avelino.

Examination:

Method of examination:

Module 1-4 will be graded based on class preparation, class participation, group assignments and debates. Module 5 will be graded based on an individual assignment and pitch/presentation.

Composition of final grade:

The final grade of the minor is the weighted average of the four (or five) modules. An average grade of 5.5 is sufficient to pass the minor.

Feedback:
Feedback on the group work (assignments, preparation, participation and debates) will be provided at the end of each module. Feedback on the individual assignment will be provided at the end of the minor. Students can always make an appointment with the lecturers to receive extra or specific feedback.

Contact information

Contact person:

Name: Dr. Karen Maas
E-mail: maas@remove-this.ese.eur.nl
Phonenumber: 010-408
room: H13-05

Faculty website:

www.eur.nl/ese

www.eur.nl/ice

www.drift.eur.nl

www.efr.nl