ELE 3919 Strategic Sustainable Innovation

ELE 3919 Strategic Sustainable Innovation

Course code: 
ELE 3919
Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Course coordinator: 
Alessandra Luzzi
Course name in Norwegian: 
Strategic Sustainable Innovation
Product category: 
Bachelor - Programme Electives
2024 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Today’s executives and entrepreneurs are facing an unprecedented growth of technological opportunities but also social and environmental concerns, which require them to put sustainability-based management and innovation at the core of their business strategy. 

As addressing social and environmental problems has become a mounting priority for both internal and external stakeholders, good businesses of today need to go beyond the bottom line. Drawing from recent research in this area and business experience, we can provide concrete examples of how sustainability efforts result in a positive impact on business performance and embedded sustainability actually benefits the bottom line.

This course aims at providing an understanding of the core topics in sustainability-oriented innovation in corporates and new ventures. For the purpose of this course, sustainable practices are meant as those that focus on improving  (or at a minimum do not harm) environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance in the areas in which the company has a environmental or social impact (in their operations, value chain, customers or employees). Companies with a traditional CSR program are not the focus of the course as this does not by itself qualify as sustainability.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

At the end of the course, the students should have developed knowledge about:

  • How to analyze sustainability challenges implied by environmental and societal change at large.
  • Global societal consequences caused by sustainability and social challenges.
  • Problems caused by incentive structures that do not incorporate environmental and social threats.
  • Optimal use of innovation policy regulation - How different types of innovation policy measures can be designed, and how their consequences can be measured in society and in organizations.
  • What constitutes a specific environmental or a social issue and how to measure the social impact and value that an enterprise can ultimately create.
  • How modern business goes beyond growing profit – towards creating, transforming and sharing value, both on an economic and social level.
  • How to plan for and manage sustainability-oriented innovation processes.
  • How to articulate a societal issue and how to build and grow an entrepreneurial project with a focus on innovation for social change.
  • Challenges and opportunities associated with building a socially responsible venture.
  • How corporates and entrepreneurial ventures collaborate to create shared value and social impact.
Learning outcomes - Skills

After taking this class, the students should have developed:

  • The skills needed to formulate effective KPIs to measure the dependence and impact of an organization on natural, human, and social capital.
  • The skills needed to analytically explain how sustainability can drive innovation and describe innovations that have factually improved sustainability.
  • Sustainability strategic and leadership skills for proposing and/or managing sustainability-oriented innovation projects, facilitating ESG integration, and creating long-term value for shareholders and society.
  • The skills needed to formulate effective measure of social impact of an organization.
  • Skills to support an organization in implementing, governing, and managing the shift required for ongoing sustainability integration.
General Competence

Students will acquire the ability to:

  • Critically reflect upon management of human and natural capital and resources to help drive positive change in organizations and demonstrate the value of impactful investments.
  • Analytically assess and/or recommend ways in which a corporation or a venture can embed and enact sustainability.
  • Develop an idea for creating social impact that is pitched at the right level of the social problem while acknowledging the complexity of roles and responsibilities of all involved actors.
Course content
  • Why environmental and societal change matter to corporations – Why companies must focus on social impact.
  • Environmental and social targets and innovation policy instruments.
  • New growth measures that include sustainability.
  • The role of Institutions and governance.
  • Corporate or venture purpose and value creation.
  • Enablers of Sustainability oriented innovation – e.g. circularity among others.
  • Sustainability oriented innovation process – challenges and success factors.
  • Measuring social impact of corporations or ventures.
  • Integrating business and employees' personal values.
  • Cooperation between corporates and new ventures to create shared value and social impact.
Teaching and learning activities

The course consists of lectures and seminars with guest lecturers, giving the students access to not only leading research but also new insights from industry experts. The students will also engage in applied group work inside and outside of class, connecting with companies and startups players.


Requirements to students:

While attendance is not mandatory, the classes are quite interactive, and attendance is therefore highly encouraged. Moreover, it is the student’s own responsibility to acquire any information provided during classes. 

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

The readings for this class will be mostly book chapters as well as research related acandemic articles and applied short cases.


Higher Education Entrance Qualification


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.


Required prerequisite knowledge

No specific prerequisites are required.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Group (1 - 3)
2 Month(s)
Home Exam. Group work on a case.
Exam code: 
ELE 39191
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
1 Month(s)
Home Exam. Individual term paper.
Exam code: 
ELE 39192
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
All exams must be passed to get a grade in this course.
Total weight: 
Student workload
30 Hour(s)
Feedback activities and counselling
15 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
55 Hour(s)
Group work / Assignments
50 Hour(s)
50 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 7,5 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 200 hours.