(Johan) J.S. Spamer

(Johan) J.S. Spamer
PhD Researcher International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) ISS PhD
Erasmus University Rotterdam
I 1-25
+31 65 7019210

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Johan Spamer is a pioneer researcher in the domain of inclusive innovation and development, specifically within the Blue Economy (ocean economy) sectors. His…


Johan Spamer is a pioneer researcher in the domain of inclusive innovation and development, specifically within the Blue Economy (ocean economy) sectors. His paper in 2015 on the South African Blue Economy (https://www.academia.edu/12743345/Riding_the_African_Blue_Economy_Wave_A_South_African_Perspective) triggered attention across the globe, reflecting the growing interest regarding this new phenomena.

Originally from South Africa, he lectured at Stellenbosch University his alma mater, after more than a decade in the private and public sector. His professional career includes managerial positions at the IFC, World Bank Group, with international development work (inclusive of Land Transformation, HIV/Aids and Gender Awareness programs) in South Africa and Zambia. He also held various management positions in the private sector related to international trade and logistics, based in South Africa and Europe.

He holds a Masters in Transport Economics, an MBA (cum laude for research dissertation) and completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Development Finance in 2015. Johan joined the ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam, as a PhD Researcher with an Erasmus Mundus EUSA_ID Scholarship.


Johan’s PhD research focusses on how business model innovation can foster sustainability within the ocean economy sectors. Sectors such as aquaculture, oil and gas, shipbuilding and tourism are identified as priority research areas.

His research is connected to new and innovative ways of doing business, cutting across many sectors and domains, to contribute towards a more inclusive society, benefitting all in a sustainable way. The research is a comparative study between South Africa and the Netherlands reflecting on sustainable business model approaches within the Blue Economy. Both countries identified the development of their ocean’s economy as well as greater focus on innovation, as core research and development areas in well-documented growth strategies.

The study aims to link public-private-civic sector experiences with sustainable business model innovation, drawing from critical realism ontology. The research methodology is mainly qualitative in nature reviewing various comparative cases. His research aligns with the work of the Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa (http://www.cfia.nl/home), with his supervisor, Prof Peter Knorringa, the CFIA’s managing director.

Knowledge broker

Johan represents ISS as Erasmus Graduate School PhD Council Member (2017-2018) and also led the Mix-and-Mingle Initiative with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2016-17). Other industry and academic related activities include: assisting the World Ocean Council (WOC) with the Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS2016) Rotterdam, giving editorial guidance to SOS rapporteurs and input into the final summit report; acting as an external examiner (postgraduate) for the Department of Logistics, Stellenbosch University; lecturing on postgraduate level and regular interaction with academics, decision-makers and public-private-civic game changers across various sectors. He is particular intrigue with the role that innovators (innovation strategies) and business leaders (leadership styles) plays as ‘knowledge brokers’ to ensure sustainable outcomes.

  • PhD Researcher

    Erasmus University Rotterdam
    International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
    ISS PhD
    +31 65 7019210


Visiting address

Kortenaerkade 12 2518 AX 's-Gravenhage

Postal address

Postbus 29776 2502 LT 's-Gravenhage