Head:

Apl.Prof.Dr. Klaus Fichter

Press releases with mentions

Innovation Management and Sustainability

Sustainability in university start-up support:

The new good practice brochure in the "Sustainability4All" project has been published!

The new brochure "Sustainability in the Promotion of University Start-ups - Practical Examples and Starting Points", which was composed as part of the "Sustainability4All" project at the PIN Chair, is the first to systematically record good practice example projects of sustainability-oriented start-up consultancy at various universities.

In addition to start-up teaching and research, there is great potential in start-up consultancy to support start-ups in reflecting on their ecological, social and economic impact. This reorientation can enable start-ups to address important societal challenges and contribute to solutions.

The brochure offers actors in university start-up support an orientation framework on how the support of start-ups in this area could look concretely and which possible methods as well as formats can help with further development when there is a need.

In addition to an overview of the advantages and the status quo of sustainability-oriented start-up consultancy at German universities, the new brochure also takes a broader look at German and international lighthouse projects.

Click here to download the brochure.

Assessing sustainability impacts of start-ups:

The new standard for the sustainability assessment of start-ups and application tool is now available!

DIN SPEC 90051-1 provides an assessment framework for the structured evaluation of the potential and effects of start-up projects and young companies on the environment, society and the economy.

The standard, which is aimed at start-ups, capital providers, start-up support actors and evaluation institutions, comprises important definitional and conceptual principles as well as a practical tool that enables the evaluation to be carried out directly and in an application-friendly manner.

While there are already some approaches to the sustainability assessment of established companies, there is no standard that explicitly refers to start-ups. DIN SPEC 90051-1 takes into account the special characteristics of start-ups at different stages of development and is applicable to all industries and business models.

PIN has been able to contribute its expertise to the development process of the standard.

In addition, an application tool now exists that can be used as a manual which summarises the most important aspects of SPEC 90051-1 for practical use.

Click here to download the DIN

Click here to download the application tool 

New article: Diffusion of environmental innovations

Empirical research on the diffusion of environmental product and service innovations has significant limits: almost all investigations focus on just a single sector or technology, usually energy, and concern a small number of diffusion cases. Therefore, it is hardly possible to generalize across sectors and to identify potential differences between sectors. In a new article by Klaus Fichter and Jens Clausen, which will be appearing in the March 2020 issue of the journal Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, the authors address this research gap. They provide insights on the differences in dissemination rates and knowledge on sector-specific factors. Through an investigation of a large sample of 130 diffusion cases from 11 different sectors, they found that some factors explain diffusion in (almost) all cases (high explanatory range), some only in specific sectors (medium explanatory range), and some merely in individual cases (low explanatory range). Read more in the article:

Open Access Link

Download PDF

Call for Papers: Assessing and Forecasting the Sustainability Impact of New Ventures

The Journal of Cleaner Production brings a special issue on "Assessing and forecasting the sustainability impact of new ventures". Edited by Klaus Fichter (Uni Oldenburg, PIN), Florian Lüdeke-Freund (ESCP Europe Business School), Stefan Schaltegger (Leuphana University Lüneburg) and Simon Schillebeeckx (Singapore Management University), the upcoming Special Issue deals with the following topics, among others:

  • Theoretical foundations (theory of change, causation theory, stakeholder theory, social value creation, theory of planned behavior etc.)
  • Conceptual frameworks, e.g. for lean impact assessment
  • Exclusion and inclusion criteria, principles/norms, and methods, e.g. randomized control trials, counterfactual analysis, monetization of outcomes
  • Impact assessment as part of sustainability-oriented business model development
  • Approaches of forecasting and measuring (facts) and interpreting (meaning) sustainability impacts
  • Approaches of making sustainability impact data available within organizations or within markets
  • Methods and tools for forecasting and ex ante assessments of the prospective positive and negative sustainability impacts of new ventures
  • Methods and data for ex post assessment, e.g. considering burden of proof and levels of evidence
  • Empirical evidence of actual sustainability impacts (incl. case studies, statistical analyses etc.)

Contributions from all areas of sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation research with a reference to sustainable entrepreneurship, value-based innovation management, impact investment and sustainability-oriented business model development are welcome.

Proposals for contributions are accepted until 31 March 2021 and can be elaborated in a Paper Development Workshop on 30 April 2021.

Further information

Climate Challenge - Trainer package is now available for free!

Over the past two years, PIN, together with its project partner Fresenius University Cologne, has worked intensively on the development of educational materials on the topic of corporate climate adaptation. The main idea was to integrate climate change and its entrepreneurial consequences as a challenge into various management approaches. At the end of the project, a comprehensive trainer package with moderation guidelines, slides and materials for the Climate Challenge is now available. The Climate Challenge is aimed at start-up teams and innovation managers of existing companies who want to subject their (new) business model to a "stress test" with regard to climate change. Trainers and moderators can get the cc-licensed material on our website.


If you would like to acquire background knowledge on the topic of "managing climate change" through self-study, you will find numerous tutorials created in the Climate LO project at the project partner Fresenius University.

Latest Publications

Fichter, K. & Tiemann, I. (2020): Impacts of promoting sustainable entrepreneurship in generic business plan competitions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 267 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.122076

Wagner, M., Schaltegger, S., Hansen, E.G.; Fichter, K. (2019). University-linked programmes for sustainable entrepreneurship and regional development: how and with what impact? Small Business Economics (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-019-00280-4

Volkmann, C., Fichter, K., Klofsten, M. et al. (2019). Sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems: an emerging field of research. Small Business Economics (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-019-00253-7 

Clausen, J. & Fichter, K. (2019). The diffusion of environmental product and service innovations: Driving and inhibiting factors. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 31 (2019), 64-95.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eist.2019.01.003

Tiemann, I.; Fichter, K. & Geier, J. (2018). University support systems for sustainable entrepreneurship: insights from explorative case studies. in: International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing.  Vol. 10, No. 2, 2018; DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2018.090983

Breuer, H.; Fichter, K.; Lüdeke-Freund, F. & Tiemann, I. (2018). Sustainability-oriented Business Model Development: Principles, Criteria, and Tools. in: International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing.  Vol. 10, No. 2, 2018; DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2018.10008388

K. Fichter & I. Tiemann (2017): Factors influencing university support for sustainable entrepreneurship: Insights from explorative case studies. in: Journal of Cleaner Production, 175 (2018), 512 - 524.

N. Bank, K. Fichter & M. Klofsten (2017): Sustainability-profiled incubators and securing the inflow of tenants - the case of Green Garage Berlin. in: Journal of Cleaner Production, 157 (2017), 76-83.

Further publications

(Changed: 2021-02-25)