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Managing Sustainable Innovation

+++ Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the TU Berlin Summer University will not take place on campus this year. Registrations for our Summer University Online program are now open! +++

Summer University Term 3: July 20th - August 14th, 2020

Course price: 1,950 Euros

18 hours of class per week, 5 ECTS credit points, max. 24 participants



At least since the famous Brundtland report (1) there is global awareness about the sustainability challenges that we face globally. The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals are currently one of the most prevalent acknowledgements of the economic, social and environmental challenges ahead of us (2). The major source of unsustainable development is today’s economic system in which many externalities are not internalized. Still most business activities are the main obstacle for more sustainable development (3,4). In addition, human behavior significantly adds to global warming. For example, in the US, individuals and households account for about 40% of the direct energy consumed, through home energy use and transport, and this neglects their indirect energy use through the purchase of other consumer goods and services (5). In theory and pure volume large corporations constitute the biggest lever to reduce negative externalities, but in practice organizational inertia and the economic attractiveness of unsustainable business models prevent disruptive innovations for sustainability4. Research suggests that start-ups are drivers of disruptive innovations and in cooperation with corporates can propel radical changes (6,7). Start-ups push sustainable innovations and add to the 17 SDG`s, however heterogeneously to different goals (8).

The course “Managing Sustainable Innovation” engages in managing sustainable innovation in the context of start-ups. The class starts with a row of lectures on managing sustainable development processes, followed by starting to work on sustainable business models in groups as first assignment. In a second step, participants will analyze their lives and values and work on finding a fit with their team members in order to create a shared vision and values for the start-up. The results of the assignments will be presented in the third respectively fourth week of the course. In addition, during the courses students will get familiar with the Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE) at TU and its sustainable strategy.

This summer school is suited for those interested in social, political, technical, and economical aspects of climate change adaptation and mitigation and the consequences of social inequality for sustainable developments.

Learning Goals and Syllabus


  • Understanding the major challenges in managing sustainable innovations
  • Identifying the main social, political, technical, and economical obstacles in climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Analysing your own sustainable footprint
  • Developing a sustainable business model
  • Working in a trans-disciplinary environment
  • Understanding the importance of the human side of innovation


Please click here to see the syllabus.

Course components:

  • Interactive classroom-based lectures and discussions
  • Individual and group work projects and presentations
  • Introduction into the work of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at TU Berlin and its accelerators
  • Guest lectures


The general prerequisites of the TU Berlin Summer University are the following: at least one year of university experience + English level B2 or equivalent.

The course is intended for all participants who are studying or who have studied majors in engineering, social or political sciences, humanities or arts and are currently/reached an advanced phase of their undergraduate or graduate/PhD studies.


Prof. Dr. Jan Kratzer is Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management at TU Berlin. He is coordinating the Entrepreneurship School and Academic Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE) at TU Berlin. In addition, Jan Kratzer is Dean for Internationalization at the Faculty of Economics & Business at TU Berlin and member of the Academic Board of TU Berlin. Further, he is member of the editorial board of “Creativity and Innovation Management”, “Sustainability” and “Journal of Product Innovation Management”.

Prof. Dr. Susanne Perner has been working at TU Berlin since April 2008, when she started as teaching and research assistant at the chair of Technology and Innovation Management, before joining the newly endowed chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management. At TU Berlin Susanne has been teaching and coordinating entrepreneurship seminar VENTURE CAMPUS addressing students interested in starting up with a focus on sustainability. In addition, she is also teaching as part of European Master’s programme MSc. ICT Innovation by European Institute of Innovation and Technology. In 2019 Susanne Perner was appointed as professor at ISM Applied University for Management in Berlin.

Karina Cagarman started with her PhD at the Technische Universität Berlin in cooperation with the European Institute of Innovation & Technology in 2015. In April 2016 Karina took over the coordination of the Double Degree Programme "Innovation Management, Entrepreneurship & Sustainability". Apart from assisting students, Karina is coordinating the international partnerships and works on the strategic development of the programme.  Karina's research focuses on entrepreneurship typology and egocentric networks of sustainable entrepreneurs.

Paul Wolf studied at the MSC IMES of the TU Berlin and worked as a research assistant at ESCP Europe until September 2019. He s responsible for managing the Master Innovation Management, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability (IMES) since October 2019.

Marc Karahan research ambition is to foster knowledge of sustainable entrepreneurship. In his PhD project, he explores how (academic) entrepreneurs can combine business success with social and environmental impact and how incubators can nurture sustainability-orientation in start-ups. Marc joint the Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management in 2018.

Nico Noak has been a research assistant at the Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management since 2018, where he is a coordinator of the business plan seminar "Venture Campus". His research activity and his doctorate are in the field of Social Entrepreneurship.

Brochure & Poster Download

Check out our Brochure and Poster for Summer 2020!

Summer University Term 3: July 20th - August 14th, 2020

Course price: 1,950 Euros

18 hours of class per week, 5 ECTS credit points

(1) Brundtland Commission (1987): Our Common Future. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development.

(2) UN General Assembly, 2015, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/summit (accessed 26 August 2019).

(3) Schaltegger, S., Hansen, E. G., Lüdeke-Freund, F. (2016) Business Models for Sustainability. Organization & Environment 29 (1), 3–10.

(4) Weissbrod, I., Bocken, N.M.P. (2017) Developing sustainable business experimentation capability – A case study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 142, 2663–2676.

(5) Gardner GT, Stern PC. (2008) The short list: the most effective actions U.S. households can take to curb climate change. Environment. 50:12 – 25.

(6) Hockerts, K., Wüstenhagen, R. (2010) Greening Goliaths versus emerging Davids — Theorizing about the role of incumbents and new entrants in sustainable entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Venturing. 25 (5), 481–492.

(7) Weiblen, T., Chesbrough H.W. (2015) Engaging with Startups to Enhance Corporate Innovation. California Management Review. 57 (2), 66-90.

(8) Horne, J., Recker, M., Michelfelder, I., Jay, J., Kratzer, J. (2020) Exploring entrepreneurship related to the sustainable development goals - mapping new venture activities with semi-automated content analysis. Journal of Cleaner Production, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.118052

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Beth Sibly, Director
+49 30 4472 0230