Organizing Sustainable Innovation


Course Objective

Academic skills: ability to critically evaluate innovations and
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.

Teaching Methods


Method of Assessment

Individual assignments
Group assignments


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

Recommended background knowledge

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

General Information

Course Code E_IBA3_OSI
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty School of Business and Economics
Course Coordinator dr. H. Ozalp
Examiner dr. H. Ozalp
Teaching Staff dr. H. Ozalp
dr. P.R. Tuertscher
S. Hilbolling MSc

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: