The COVID19 pandemic has a great impact on us all; what we do, how we live our lives, what we organize. To assure continuity of the 5 International Conference on New Business Models, we had to go fully on-line. We welcomed you on July 1 & 2 2020 at a two-day fully digital organized event on IChair.

It was based on plenary sessions, multiple technically supported conference rooms with a moderator and a chat function. You could also book a virtual table for eight, met new people via a digital hangout space et cetera. Staid home, no travel-hassle, reduced your CO2 impact and still joined the community. Now that we had gone on-line, there was room for everybody. and we met more than 340 people.

Despite these radical changes the conference fee remained an all-time low due to support of the Dutch National organizations for fundamental (NWO) and applied (TNO) research. No longer in Nijmegen at the Radboud University but in a ‘virtual’ conference location. This was a unique experience to many, if not all of us. But as the saying goes: “We have never tried this before, so we think we should be able to organize this”.

Almost five years down the line we have organised NBM @Toulouse( 2016) NBM@ Graz (2017), NBM @ Sofia (2018) and NBM @ Berlin (2019).  Each of the NBM conferences followed a specific theme related to new business models. In hindsight, we see the 1st conference at the Toulouse Business School (TBS, France) as a try-out. The second edition of the conference took place at the University of Graz, Austria, in June 2017. This conference’s focus was on the development of new business models, especially emphasising the creation of multiple forms of value. In 2018, our community was welcome in Sofia at the University of National and World Economy. The impact of a new generation of business models on society from both a local, regional, national, and international perspective has been the focus. Our visit to Berlin at ESCP Europe in 2019 incorporated change into the discussion. We focused on the contribution of developing new business models to reach the Sustainable Development Goals through sustainable entrepreneurship, innovation and transitions to future-fit societies.Now we are approaching the fifth edition which will take place at the Radboud University in Nijmegen.

Lessons learnt
1. NBM @ Toulouse 2016: what we learned what a ‘vast’ and diverse subject business modelling entails and how much interest there is for the subject;
2. NBM @ Graz 2017: we learned that one of our aims is to enable all kinds of organisations to use the growing knowledge that results from business model research for the sake of stakeholder- and society-sensitive as well as circular and sustainable value creation.
3. NBM @ Sofia 2018: we have learned that new business models can gain impact only when they are embraced in a transdisciplinary setting involving multiple stakeholders.
4. NBM @ Berlin 2019: the fourth edition aims at bringing together scholars from three major domains which, when working together effectively, could provide a more systemic and comprehensive insight into how business and society can transition towards sustainable development through sustainable entrepreneurship.

We are now in the process of organising the conference NBM@ Nijmegen in 2020. The central theme of this conference is the role of business models in transition. During this fifth and final conference of this first series, we also like to look back and learn from our experiences of the past five years. We hope this creates the basis to design a research agenda for the next five years.

Special feature of this conference is that it will be organised in conjunction with the Dutch National Science Agency NWO and the Dutch National Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO. Hospitality to present their research programmes is offered  to both organisations. NBM @ Nijmegen 2020 will receive NWO funding to accommodate a separate track, with presentations of the eight research projects that run under the NWO National Program ‘Sustainable Business Models’ (running between 2016- 2022). In a separate track, the TNO track ‘Sustainable Business Modelling’ presents various models and tools, in six slots. The organisations independently organise their tracks and are restricted to presentations from the indicated programs. All presentations of these tracks are open to all conference participants.

The direct consequence of the NWO sponsoring is that the conference fee will is reduced. As a consequence of this funding, the conference also becomes attractive for visitors of previous conferences and a new audience. The assumption is that this will lead to an extra 100 people attending the conference.

Reflect on the Past, set the research agenda for the future
At NBM @ Nijmegen 2020 we will attract some keynotes providing retrospective and future-oriented perspectives on new business models. Furthermore, all participants of the previous four years will be invited. We hope that together we are able to provide recommendations for future research and design a Research Agenda that will lay the foundation for the five years ahead (2020-2025). Chairs and sessions will focus on the future of the individual themes. Tracks aim to converge towards the building blocks of a (preliminary) research agenda, at a detailed level. During the closure of the conference, a concise overview of research topics, forming a research agenda will be presented.

Track for Young Academics
In addition to academics and practitioners, we especially welcome students of Bachelor and Master programs to present their work at the conference. For this, the conference provides a specific stage, allowing young academicians to present their research results and voice their point of view based on their research. The research must be related to the relevant questions raised in the Call for Contributions and can also be presented as work-in-progress.

Special Issues of Academic Journals
As each year, several journals will be invited, enabling the dissemination of conference contributions in Special Issues. For NBM @ Nijmegen 2020, the special issues will be announced at a later date.

Driving sustainable transition: people, business, society
Sustainable. Circular. Inclusive.

 Jan Jonker and Niels Faber 17 November  2019 / July 2020