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Fieldlab Circular Economy and Business Innovation

The transition from a linear to a circular economy is one of the most important business trends. Not a day goes by without news on climate change, the impacts it has on our global society, and the need for organisations to adapt and improve their goals and business processes. We have another 12 years to make the necessary changes, and your contribution truly counts. A recent study called Project Draw Dawn (2018) shows 80% of the technological innovations are already invented. What is needed is action! And you could be part of it. The economy of take-make-waste is no longer a viable, sustainable business model, and this message is understood by a growing number of companies among which DSM, IKEA, Arend, Dell, Timberland, Nike, Philips and Auping. Businesses are looking to adapt circular economy principles, and a growing number of professionals are needed to make these transitions.

Whether your interest lies in science, design, social studies or business management, this trend will also be relevant for you. All these disciplines approach the circular economy from a different perspective and a successful transition requires the involvement of all disciplines. 

You will learn what the circular economy is about, how it affects different aspects of the business model and how organizations can incorporate this in their business model. The minor has a strong practical component, with students working together with local or international organisations in order to research how the organization could integrate circular economy principles. Some of these projects involve designing a circular business model in order to enter a new market, redesigning a current business model, or investigating the changes from a system perspective, involving a variety of stakeholders.

This minor is part of one of the three fieldlabs of the Hogeschool Rotterdam Business School, in which education, research and the workfield join forces to develop solutions for global challenges. In the fieldlab circular economy and business innovation we collaborate with other disciplines both within the economic domain, but also with the technical and creative domains.

The minor involves a mixture of work forms:
  1. The fieldwork activities concern all activities associated with the assignment for the client organisation.
  2. The workshops are used to develop specific skills in support of the fieldwork and for imparting specific skills associated with the circular economy.
  3. The consultancy meetings with the project coach help the group to apply the knowledge and skills to the field project. Students act as consultants to the client organisation, and the project coach provides guidance.
  4. digital learning platform is used of which the content runs with the topic for the week. Students are expected to read and watch the materials. Every week some form of assessment is associated with these materials.
  5. case study competition, in the form of a 3-day intense affair, offers students the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge to a completely different kind of project.
  6. The guest lectures serve bring currency and give students insight into the latest developments.

Leerdoelen

The learning outcomes of the minor are:
  1. Demonstrate having a sound understanding of the building blocks of the circular economy, key concepts, frameworks, models, drivers, obstacles and insights and how this differs from the linear economy
  2. Demonstrating sound research skills as evidenced in a systematic approach to data collection and data analysis, transparent reporting skills and a critical evaluation to determine the credibility of the findings and recommendations made
  3. Create a feasible solution for a CE project that incorporates a new perspective, product/service and manages obstacles in order to contribute to a CE transition
  4. Evaluate the implications of a CE business model from a financial, environmental and social perspective in general and in particular for the CE project
  5. Demonstrate a professional attitude in managing the project deliverables within the project team, the client organisation, the project coach and the other coaches of the fieldlab team
  6. The fieldwork activities concern all activities associated with the assignment for the client organisation. In 2018 students have worked on projects with regards to plastic waste (Investigating how plastic at festivals can be reduced for Blue City Plastics festival; for a Multinational in cleaning services CSU investigating how plastic can be reduced, reused and recycled); organic waste (researching for one of Milgro’s client how flower waste can be valorized[2]; for Taiwan Sugar Corporation a benchmark study was conducted ); Construction sector (Circular House, multistakeholder project involving demolishers, architects and social housing association); Life Cycle Analysis on a mining innovation for Royal IHC and, researching how CO2 can be reduced through reorganisation of waste streams. In block 2 students also adopt an individual project in which they explore a CE topic of their interest in greater detail, which results in either a workshop, an e-book or a literature review (that could be used for a graduation project). A project coach guides the students in both projects.
  7. Workshops, guest lectures and challenges. The workshops are used to develop specific skills in support of the fieldwork learn applying frameworks of the circular economy. The mandatory workshop topics include business research, circular business models, life cycle analysis and financial aspects of the circular economy. The elective workshops cater to your personal interest and encompass digital aspects of the circular economy, circular aspects of the supply chain, consultancy skills and social impact assessment. Of these you need to choose at minimum one. In block 2 two challenges are organised where students work under pressure on solving a circular problem of a different project.
  8. digital learning platform is used to stimulate discussions, find up to date material on the circular economy, case studies, and of course all the materials that support the fieldlab activities.

Ingangseisen

The minor is intended for 4th year students of RBS, 3rd or 4th year students. Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the contents (circular economy) and the (business) cases, students from all kind of study programs may enter this minor if they meet the terms to certain prerequisites. In general terms students must comply with the IBMS criteria as outlined in the Rotterdam University Handbook on HINT for admission to this minor.

In order to be eligible for access to a minor program (IBMS) students must earn 168 credits. These credits are broken down as follows: First year study programme completion (60 credits); Second year study programme completion (60 credits); Placement completion (30 credits); At least 18 credits earned during semester 6. In addition, for the RBS e.g. it means that modules regarding research methods, finance, marketing and economy of main phase year 2 and 3, need to be completed. When students are eligible at their institution to enrol in a minor (meets similar requirements as stated in the handbook of that university) this will suffice to start with this minor. However, the study program should at least include modules relevant in the economic domain. In case of doubt, eligibility must be determined on a per student basis.

Toetsing

Students are evaluated on three aspects in each block:

  1. Development of knowledge and comprehension of the main concepts associated with the circular economy (e.g. workshop assignments, individual projects)
  2. Project management skills where they concern collaborating with the coach, the company and of course their fellow team members
  3. Application of skills and knowledge to the field project, the main project of the minor in which you will be working in a group to deliver a research report for an organization

 

Rooster

The minor involves a mixture of work forms and tools:

The program is divided into 2 blocks and looks as followed:

BLOCK 1

Week

Plenary activities

Project activities

Study hours

1

Kick-off meeting

Project coaching

Meeting the client organisation

Plenary 3 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self-study 8 hours

2

Workshop Business research (2 days)

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Plenary 18 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self-study 8 hrs

3

Elective workshop option 1

Guest lectures

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Elective workshop  8 hrs

Guest lecture 3 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self-study 8 hrs

4

Workshop circular business models (1 day)

Elective workshop option 2

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Workshop 8 hrs

Elective workshop  8 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self-study 8 hrs

5

Workshop Life Cycle Analysis (2 days)

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Workshop  16 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self-study 8 hrs

6

Workshop Financial Aspects of the Circular Economy (2 days)

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Workshop  16 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self-study 8 hrs

7

Plenary presentation proposal

Rehearsal presentation coach

Presentation at client

Presentations 8 hrs

8

Guest lecture

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Guest lecture 3 hrs

Field project 16 hrs

9

Resit week

 

 

10

-

360 evaluation

Project coaching

Project work (at client organization where possible)

Evaluation 8 hrs

Field project 16 hrs

  


 

BLOCK 2

Week

Plenary activities

Project activities

Study hours

1

Competition pressure cooker

-

 Challenge 24 hours

2

 Fieldtrip Biohub

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Fieldtrip 8 hrs

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project 8 hrs

3

-

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project 16 hrs

4

 Guest lecture

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Guest lecture 2 hrs

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project 16 hrs

5

-

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project 16 hrs

6

 Guest lecture

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Guest lecture 2 hrs

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project 16 hrs

7

-

Rehearsal presentation

Presentation client organisation

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project (8 hrs)

8

Circular Economy Festival (in the week of the circular economy)

Dress rehearsal

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project (8 hrs)

9

 Resit week