Sustainable Business Model Innovation

When and where

When: 14 March – 20 April 2023
(Phycical meeting from 14-16 of March followed by a Zoom session 19-20 of April)
Where: Lund University/Zoom

General Information

Division: Innovation Engineering
Course type: Third-cycle course
Teaching language: English


The aim of the course is to give doctoral students: – Knowledge about the origins and theoretical background and different schools related to the business model and business model innovation concepts. – Understanding of the concepts of sustainable business models and sustainable business model innovation. – Knowledge about related concepts, especially strategy as well as critical perspectives on business models. – Practical experience of working with business model innovation tools as well as of real-world cases of business model innovation in established companies, entrepreneurial start-ups and new technologies.


Knowledge and Understanding

For a passing grade the doctoral student must

  • describe key concepts in the business model and business model innovation research area
  • explain the most common theoretical underpinnings of business models and business model innovation
  • explain the differences between business models and business model innovation in established firms and entrepreneurial start-ups
  • explain the different types of sustainable business models as well as the antecedents, barriers and outcomes of sustainable business model innovation
  • explain the difference between firm strategy and business models
  • describe the most common business model and business model innovation tools

Competences and Skills

For a passing grade the doctoral student must

  • be able to describe and analyze a business model at firm and system level
  • design a sustainable business model for an entrepreneurial start-up using the business model canvas or other appropriate models and tools
  • design a sustainable business model for an established firm using the business model canvas or other appropriate models and tools

Judgement and Approach

For a passing grade the doctoral student must be able to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the sustainable business model concept and its use in practical decision making

Course Contents

The first part of the course provides a general introduction to and an overview of business model (BM) and business model innovation (BMI). The origin and development of the concepts are reviewed as well as reading and discussing classic academic and literature review papers. Then we review the most common theoretical grounding of BM and BMI and introduce some critical perspectives on the concepts. The second part of the course introduces the concepts of sustainable business models (SBM) and sustainable business model innovation (SBMI). SBMs integrate the creation of economic, environmental, and social value. SBMI refers to the process of either 1) designing a new SBM from scratch or 2) innovating the firm’s existing BM to increase its positive (or reduce its negative) impact on society and/or environment. We explore the different types of SBMs (and their strengths and weaknesses) and discuss the drivers, barriers and outcomes of SBMI. Specifically, we highlight the particular challenges that arise when designing and implementing SBMs in practice. The third and final part of the course concerns applications of tools for description, analyses, and development of (S)BM and (S)BMI.

Course program

Venue: 14-16 of March 2023 at the Department of Design Sciences, Faculty of Engineering (Lunds Tekniska Högskola), Lund University – Ingvar Kamprad Design Center (IKDC), Sölvegatan 26, Lund.

About the course:

Course organizers: Professor Lars Bengtsson (LU), Associate professor Tina Saebi (NHH) and Associate professor Jessica Wadin (LU)

Course administrator: Cilla Perlhagen (LU)

Guest lecturers: Professor Nancy Bocken (Maastricht University), Professor Florian Lüdeke-Freund (ESCP)

Preliminary program (subject to change and confirmation)

14-16 March 

14th March (Room IKDC:243) 

12.00-13.00 Welcome to Lund. Lunch for participants

13.00-14.00 Introduction, overview, examination (Lars Bengtsson/Jessica Wadin/Tina Saebi)

14.00-15.00 Review of BM and BMI (Tina Saebi)

15.00-16.00 Sustainable BM and BMI (guest lecture Nancy Bocken)

16.00-17.00 What’s my dissertation project? (participants)


15th March (Room IKDC:243)

09.00-10.00 BM, strategy, and technologies (Lars B)

10.00-12.00 Classic, review, strategy and technology papers (participants)

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00-14.00 From linear to circular BM and BMI (Jessica W)

14.00-15.00 SBM, SBMI and research – theories, methods and empirical contexts (Lars B)

15.00-16.00 Workshop on your papers – what theories/methods/empirical contexts will you use in your paper? (participants)

19.00: Dinner at Gastronome

16th of March (Room IKDC:243)

09.00-10.00 Stakeholder theory and SBM/SBMI (Guest Florian L-F)

10.00-12.00 SBM, SBMI and circular papers (participants)

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00-15.00 Practical applications and tools (Jessica W and Martin Kwarnmark, Category Manager from Electrolux)

15.00 Farewell see you again 19-20th of April

19-20 April

Venue: Zoom

19 April

10.00-11.00 Business model innovation in incumbents – drivers, barriers & outcomes (Tina S)

11.15-12.00 Business model innovation for sustainability – drivers, barriers & outcomes (Tina S)

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00-14.00 SBM/SBMI and performance – do we get a better and more sustainable world? (Lars B)

14.00-16.00 Organizational design, implementation, performance papers (participants)

16.00-16.30 Wrap-up and set-up for the workshop following day

20 April

10-16 Workshop on draft course papers (participants)

+ Guest

Travel instructions to Lund

Trains – hourly train connections to Stockholm and Gothenburg.

Airplane – fly to Copenhagen airport and then take the Öresundstrain from the airport to Lund C. The Öresundståg runs every 20 mins and takes about 40 mins from the airport to Lund C.

When arriving to Lund C take the tram from Lund C towards ESS (European Spallation Source) and get off at Ideontorget (some 5 mins). Or walk to IKDC, it will take about 30 mins.

App to check time-tables and buy tickets from Copenhagen airport and the tram: Skånetrafiken


NOTE! NORSI will book hotel for all NORSI members. We do not reimburse other forms for accommodation and the hotel that NORSI pre-book.

Course Literature

Reading list of academic papers.

Instruction Details

Types of instruction: Lectures, seminars, exercises

Examination Details

Examination formats: Written report, written assignments, seminars given by participants, miscellaneous. Active participation at seminars.
Grading scale: Failed, pass
Examiner: Professor Lars Bengtsson

Admission Details

Admission requirements: Students admitted to the doctoral studies at LTH and other faculties that are a partner institution of NORSI.

Further Information

The course content overlaps to a large degree (about 50-60 %) with the course IDE040F Business models and business model innovation which will be given every other year in the spring semester (though not the same year as this course). Thus, doctoral students interested in the subject of business models are advised to either follow this course (if your main interest is in business models for sustainability) or IDE040F (if your main interest is business models for profit or growth and with more attention to digitalization as an enabler for business model innovation).

Course Occasion Information

Start date: 2023-03-14
End date: 2023-06-09
Course pace: 25% of full time

Application Information

Please forward your application to Cilla Perlhagen course administratior with Elise Irgens, NORSI coordinator on cc at

Contact and Other Information

Course coordinators:

Contact: Cilla Perlhagen

Lars Bengtsson  Mobile: +46708129945

NORSI contact: Elise Irgens

Web page:

Date & Location

Start date: 14/03/2023
Date digital: 19-20 April 2023
Date physical: 14 - 16 March 2023
Location: Lund University/Zoom