Innovation Management and Sustainability
Apl.Prof.Dr. Klaus Fichter
Innovation Management and Sustainability
What is the state-of-the-art of sustainability innovation? How can sustainable start-ups scale up from niche to mass markets? How can we form a unique selling proposition in sustainability?
In an inspiring conversation with Living Innovation coordinator André Martinuzzi, Prof. Dr. Klaus Fichter answers these and other questions on the topic of Innovating our common future. He emphasizes that sustainability innovations have gained a lot of momentum, especially in the vibrant start-up scene. However, funding schemes that support start-ups with scaling up and out of their niche markets remain under-represented. Only if a robust sustainability-based innovation ecosystem on is established, a future-proof unique selling proposition for Europe be created.
Watch the full with Prof. Dr. Klaus Fichter interview above.
The European Academy of Management (EURAM) invites to submit research papers on the topic "Reshaping capitalism for a sustainable world" for the 21th EURAM Conference track "Innovation for Circularity, Green Technologies and Sustainability". Prof. Dr. Klaus Fichter is, as in the previous year, co-chair of the track.
In this track recent advances towards the broader field of sustainability-oriented innovation as well as the subthemes of circular and green technology innovation are explored. Detailed information about the call can be found in the document available for download.
Submission deadline is set for 12 January 2021.
Download Call for Papers EURAM
The twentieth annual conference of the European Academy of Management (EURAM) took place online in December 2020, where Prof. Dr. Klaus Fichter was involved as co-chair of the track "Sustainability, Circular and Green Tech Innovation".
The session consisted of three thematic blocks:
- Sustainable Business Model Innovation
- Collaboration for Sustainability Innovation
- Sustainability Innovation and Performance and IP
EURAM is the largest European conference for economists and brings together management researchers and practitioners in an interdisciplinary dialogue. The theme of this year's conference was "THE BUSINESS OF NOW: the future starts here".
The Endgame of the Fujifilm Future Challenge 2020 will take place online on December 10th from 9:00 to 13:00 CET.
11 Teams from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Swedenwill present their innovative sustainable solutions for Fujifilm which they developed over 10 weeks. The winning team will win a trip to Barcelona including a visit to the Fujifilm European HQ and meet with top management.
You can register for the event by following the QR code. The admission is free of charge. More information about the Fujifilm Future Challenge Endgame 2020.
The European Sustainable Innovation Contest is an international competition in which teams of students from Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany develop green venturing ideas together with our partner companies within the framework of innovation-focused courses of their degree program. At the end of the courses, the student teams compete against each other in a national competition in which the ideas are presented. The ideas and their pitches are evaluated by an international jury. The first and second place of this selection represent their country in the international European Sustainable Innovation Contest.
The Swedish Sustainable Innovation Contest of the University of Linköping will take place on December 8th, 2020. You will have the opportunity to be part of an international jury and choose the winners.
More information about the European Sustainable Innovation Contest and how you can become a jury member can be found here:
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:
Our former project partner, HanseGrand Klimabaustoffe, was named winner of the "Blue Compass" competition of the German Federal Environment Agency in the category "Private and Municipal Enterprises" for the year 2020. With this competition, the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) honors projects that deal with the consequences of climate change.
HanseGrand develops climate building materials for road construction that are characterized by high water permeability and storage capacity. The paths store water, can release it into the environment during dry periods and thus promote the microclimate. Compared to conventional building materials, the materials are more resource-efficient, climate-friendly and have a positive impact on biodiversity and water protection.
In the HanseKlima project in 2016/17, with the support of the PIN team, it was examined whether and to what extent HanseGrand is prepared for the current and future entrepreneurial challenges of climate change and which strategy processes need to be initiated in the near future. The focus was placed both on the entrepreneurial opportunities presented by the development of new building materials and building material concepts and on the avoidance of risks in the company's own business activities.
HanseGrand was able to convince the jury with its innovative climate building materials among the 160 participants in the competition. You can watch the winning video below:
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.
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.
Existing business models often hinder organisations to become an integral part of circular value creation. In this paper, Hansen, Lüdeke-Freund and Fichter present a new take on circular business models which puts a) an actor’s position in the value cycle, b) the actor’s dominant circular strategy, and c) the service degree with which circular solutions are provided to the market at the core of business model design. The authors propose a typology with 22 actor-specific circular business model patterns.
The integration of sustainability in generic business plan competitions promotes a sustainable orientation of participating start-ups. This is shown by current research results from a new article by Klaus Fichter and Irina Tiemann, recently published in the Journal of Cleaner Production. In a study of over 1000 participants in the 2015 Berlin-Brandenburg Business Plan Competition, they found that context factors play an important role in the early (seed and start-up) phase of a new venture and can be designed to increase the degree of sustainability integration of participating start-ups. Read more in the article:
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.
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.
- Fichter, K., Hurrelmann, K., Seela, A., Hjelm, O., Larsson, M., Kanda, W., Sundberg, C., Stel, F. (2020). Guidelines for the evaluation of collaborative student-business venturing activities. Oldenburg: Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg.
- Fichter, K., Hurrelmann, K., Seela, A., Hjelm, O., Larsson, M., Kanda, W., Sundberg, C., Stel, F. (2020). Report for Work Package 2: Evaluating leading approaches and tools in collaborative green venturing. Oldenburg: Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg.
- Hurrelmann, K., Fichter, K., Seela, A. (2018). Climate-Challenge: Chancen und Risiken für Geschäftsmodelle in Zeiten des Klimawandels: Ein Trainerleitfaden. Oldenburg: Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg.
- Tiemann, I. and Fichter, K. (2016). Developing business models with the Sustainable Business Canvas: Manual for Conducting Workshops. (Download)
- Flyer Sustainable Business Canvas (Download)