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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. 

In this minor you will learn what the circular economy is about, how it affects different aspects of the business model and how organisations can incorporate circular principles in their business model. The minor has a strong practical component, with students working together with local or international organisations. In 2019-2020 students investigated multiple value creation in a circular neighborhood, investigated how events can be designed using circular principles for Excelsior Stadium and the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, they investigated the business case for Dahlia’s for the fashion industry, or the role of passionflowers for the cosmeceutical industry, they researched end of life solutions for train wagons and street lampposts.

This minor is part of one of the three fieldlabs[1] of the Hogeschool Rotterdam Business School, in which education, research and the work field 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 Fieldlab minor won the education inspiration award in 2019-2020. Please find the video here:

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

1.     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

2.     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

3.     Evaluate the implications of a CE business model from a financial, environmental and social perspective in general and in particular for the CE project

4.     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

Programme

The minor involves a mixture of work forms and tools:

1.     The fieldwork activities concern all activities associated with the assignment for the client organisation. You work in a group of 4 – 6 students on this project for the duration of the minor. Each Wednesday afternoon you meet your project coach to discuss the progress. In addition, you work one day a week on the project location (if possible). In block 2, you select an individual circular economy topic of your interest in greater detail, and develop either a workshop, an e-book or a literature review (that could be used for a graduation project). You get support from your project coach.

2.     In block one you can choose a theoretical package of 60 workshop hours from a menu of 20 workshops (90 hours) that are relevant to the circular economy. The workshops are organised in four themes namely:

  • business research (desk research, qualitative data collection and analysis, quantitative data collection and analysis),
  • circular in action (sustainable business models, circular construction, bio-based economy, circular product design and the circular supply chain),
  • tools for the circular economy (life cycle assessment foundation and advanced, social impact assessment, block chain, platform models, consulting skills,
  • finance (basic financial skills, alternative financing, life cycle costing and calculating the business case.

The workshops are organised on the Monday’s and Tuesdays. Each workshop is concluded with a quiz or an assignment, for which the deadlines or quiz times are typically set on Monday morning between 8:30 and 9:30. In block 2, we organise guest lectures with circular entrepreneurs, a hackathon (2 ½ and 1 day), while the students organise and participate in fieldtrips.

3.     A 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.

 


[1] The field labs are: Digital Economy, Entrepreneurial Economy and Circular Economy

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

Literatuur

All provided via the Digital Learning Platform. You will get access to this platform after you are registered as a student for this minor. 

Rooster

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

Workshops

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Plenary 16 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self study 8 hrs

3

Workshops

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Plenary 16 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self study 8 hrs

4

Workshops

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Plenary 16 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self study 8 hrs

5

Workshops

Plenary presentation proposal

Project coaching

Rehearsal presentation, client presentation

Plenary 12 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self study 8 hrs

6

Workshops

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Workshop  16 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self study 8 hrs

7

Workshops

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Workshop  16 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self study 8 hrs

8

Workshops

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Workshop  16 hrs

Field project 12 hrs

Self study 8 hrs

9

Process evaluation

360 evaluation

Project coaching

Project work (at client organization where possible)

Evaluation 8 hrs

Field project 16 hrs

10

Resit week

Resit assignments and quizes

 

BLOCK 2

Week

Plenary activities

Project activities

Study hours

1

Hackathon

-

Monday 10 AM – 8 PM, Tuesday 10 AM – 4 PM

2

 Fieldtrips

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Fieldtrip 8 hrs

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project 8 hrs

3

Fieldtrips

Guest lecture

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project 16 hrs

4

Fieldtrips

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Guest lecture 2 hrs

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project 16 hrs

5

Fieldtrips

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project 16 hrs

6

Fieldtrips 

Hackathon

Project coaching

Project work (at client organisation where possible)

Guest lecture 2 hrs

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project 16 hrs

7

Plenary presentation

Fieldtrips

Rehearsal presentation

Presentation client organisation

Field Project 16 hrs

Personal project (8 hrs)

8

Process evaluation

360 evaluation

Project coaching

Project work (at client organization where possible)

Evaluation 8 hrs

Field project 16 hrs

9

Circular harvest

   

10

Resit week