Sommersemester 2021

Sustainable Changemakers 4.0: Digital Business Model Innovations

We perpetually face challenges in an ever-changing digital world and ask ourselves how we can contribute to a transition towards a sustainable state. Developing entrepreneurial skills is crucial to be able to tackle these challenges. In this seminar your learning experience will be manifold:

1) you will understand how we can use digital solutions to create value for others by applying the following theoretical concepts: - Business model innovation - Sustainable business models - Digital business models

2) building on the changemaker model by Sarah Robinson, you will experience personally by discovery, experimentation and consolidation how you can make use of your skills, your knowledge and your networks to bring your idea into the real world. We will start off with inputs on the scholarly debate of business model innovation in the context of sustainability and digital transformation and what we mean by value creation (for society, the environment; others). Parallelly, you will reflect on your personal background, resources and passions you have, and which critical incidents have triggered your attention in the past (injustice, disharmonies, problems). You will then work in teams in which you will define your common interest and explore which ‘disharmony’ in society you want to tackle. In this phase, you will get to know sustainable entrepreneurs who make use of digital solutions in order to solve problems they have experienced.

In the following, you will start the discovery phase by conducting field research on your identified disharmony and examine it by interviewing and observing stakeholders. The insights gained will lead to experimenting on a prototype with design thinking methods and providing and gaining feedback from other groups and stakeholders. In this stage, we will work with the business model canvas and value proposition canvas and the goal is that your prototype already provides value for others. The students have the option to hand in their prototype or business model canvas at the Samsung challenge with ekipa and apply for an accelerator program.

During the whole seminar, you will write a reflection log on previously provided questions and topics and present your prototype at the end of the seminar. This seminar requires weekly meetings in your group and regular attendance is necessary, so please check with yourself whether you are able to do that.

This course is offered by Alexa Böckel. 

Climate Resilient Communities in the Caribbean

How to foster community impact? What makes a community resilient? Who needs to engage in climate adaptation action?

This transdisciplinary community impact research project, offered by Steffen Farny, focuses on the intersection of climate resilience, communities and social innovations. The setting of the project is a Small Island State in the Caribbean in which communities face continuous challenges to adapt to changing climatic conditions and threats to their livelihoods. In their quest to become ‘climate resilient communities’, Islanders in the Caribbean are currently struggling to mitigate and adapt to changing climatic conditions and impactful catastrophes, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and the ongoing pandemic. Student teams are expected to both zoom out and generate sustainability-related knowledge, as well as to zoom-in via concrete entrepreneurial action interventions with local partners.

A report presenting the research and the findings of the course members will be available soon.