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Organizing for Sustainability


License CC BY 4.0

From September 1st 2021, this MOOC can be followed here for free.

Organizing for Sustainability: A guide for developing new business models

This MOOC is a joint project of various Universities of Applied Sciences, consultants and organizations in the Netherlands. It was funded by a Dutch SURF grant.


Welcome You are about to start the Organizing for Sustainability MOOC. This MOOC is based on the book Organizing for Sustainability – A Guide to Developing New Business Models. Below you will find a brief introduction to the MOOC and the corresponding book.

Course Staff

Prof. Dr. Jan Jonker

Jan Jonker is professor at the Nijmegen School of Management (NSM) of the Radboud University Nijmegen [RU - Holland]

Dr. Niels Faber

Niels Faber is a researcher in circular business models and blockchain for sustainability at the University of Groningen [RUG - Holland]

Drs. Ivo Kothman

Ivo Kothman is lecturer and researcher at Saxion University of Applied Sciences [Saxion UAS - Holland]

Introduction to the MOOC

The MOOC provides a structured approach to developing a sustainable business model. It consists of seven chapters, each based on five units. Each unit addresses a specific element of developing a business model. The MOOC is designed in a step-by-step manner, following the structure of the book which consists of three stages and ten building blocks (see below). Each unit starts with a short introduction, after which a concise central video is provided. This is followed by (if available) various assignments, some multiple-choice questions for a self-test and finally some additional material. Each unit indicates how it is linked to a specific chapter and/or paragraph of the book. When it comes to key choices such as choosing a business model archetype, we have provided additional units and a case study: this should help you to make the right choice. In addition to the seven chapters that represent the core of the MOOC, an eighth chapter is provided with ten tools that you can use while elaborating the various assignments found throughout the various chapters.

The MOOC is self-paced, so you can follow it in your own time. The seven chapter structure does not oblige you to follow the MOOC in seven weeks. You can move faster or slower depending on the time you have and your particular circumstances. Moreover, you can 'jump' through the MOOC as you please – there is no 'forced' order of things. You can follow the MOOC individually but we think it is more fun to work on the various assignments as part of a team.

Introduction to the book

This MOOC is based on the book Organizing for Sustainability – A Guide to Developing New Business Models. The essence of the book is the introduction of the Business Model Template (BMT), which provides the various components that enable the creation of a sustainable business model in a hands-on and step-by-step approach, over three stages made up of ten building blocks. Working with the BMT enables the gradual creation of a business model based on one of three business model archetypes, namely a platform, a community or a circular business model. The BMT can be used to transform an existing business model into a more sustainable one or to start from scratch with an idea and to turn it into a working prototype. The book provides the theoretical backbone of the MOOC with lots of cases and additional sources. It follows the set-up of the MOOC with seven chapters. It was written and edited by Jan Jonker and Niels Faber together with ten co-authors. Please check out this brief video in which the authors provide a birds-eye overview of the book. The book is published 'Open Access' by the English–German publishing consortium Palgrave Macmillan, Springer. This means you can download the book for free. The book can be found here:

If you would prefer a hard copy of the book you can order one at a reduced rate at your local bookstore or via the internet.

Learning Objectives

After following this MOOC you will have:

  • been introduced to concepts such as sustainability and circularity
  • learned more about multiple value creation and how this is crucial in business modelling
  • gone through the BMT approach, enabling you to develop your own sustainable business model
  • brought your business model idea to life by asking for feedback from people in real life
  • made a brief video in which you present your brilliant and unique business model
  • had lots of fun in turning your dream into a feasible business model prototype.


When you enrol in this MOOC we will expect some hard – or even serious – work from you. We hope you have fun, but a business model does not come for free. You need to work. We're sorry we can't make it any easier. Still, we sincerely hope that this is the MOOC you have been waiting for to turn your dreams, plans and hopes into an output that has the ability to create positive change in this world.
It took us three years to develop the book and the MOOC. Nearly 35 people from various universities were involved (universities of applied science and conventional universities). While most of the time invested by all these people was given for free, we also received help from a SURF Grant for which we are most grateful.

Introduction video


This MOOC is created due to the efforts and creativity of the following people working across a variety of institutes across The Netherlands and Belgium (in alphabetical order): Jill de Bruin (Rotterdam UAS), Marc Brunnekreeft (Amsterdam UAS), Fons Claessen (Fontys UAS), Erik van Diffelen (Breda UAS), Koen Dittrich (Rotterdam UAS), Hilde Engels (Be Forward), Pieter van Essen (Windesheim UAS), Niels Faber (UAS Hanze UAS and University Groningen), Timber Haaker (Saxion UAS), Johan Heijink (Hanze UAS), Rogier Heijning (Wasteboards), Jan Jonker (Nijmegen University), Moniek Kamm (Saxion UAS), Ivo Kothman (Saxion UAS), Tom Kuppens (University Hasselt – Belgium), Naomi Montenegro Navarro (TNO), Sven Noordhoek (Nedvang), Erik van den Oord (Power ED), Kim Poldner (Den Haag UAS), Babette Porcelijn (Think Big Act Now), Jos Reinhoudt (MVO NL), Dave van Schaijk (Power ED), Mirella Soyer (Rotterdam UAS), Myrthe Velter (Fontys UAS), Egbert Willekes (Den Haag UAS) and Paul Williams (Rotterdam UAS).

Moreover, we could not have realized this MOOC without the indispensable organizational, linguistic and technical help of (in alphabetical order): Geanne van Arkel (who also did a unit), HenkJan van Offeren (Studio Collegare), Hannah Rawlinson (editing), Niek Siero (Saxion UAS) and Jette Talsma. Last but not least we also like to say Thank You to all those behind the scenes.


If you have any questions about the MOOC or any suggestions for its improvement, please contact Ivo Kothman who is the coordinator at Saxion University of Applied Sciences (The Netherlands). You can reach him by sending an email. You can find the contact information ad the end of the course.

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