This is an overview of the keynotes.

Plenary Keynotes

Harry Garretsen: “The funding of academic research into new business models”

Harry Garretsen graduated in 1987 with honours in Economics from the University of Groningen (RUG). Four years later he received his PhD from the same university with a thesis on John Maynard Keynes and modern macroeconomics. He then worked for the Dutch National Bank and, simultaneously, was an economics professor at the Radboud University in Nijmegen and Utrecht University. In 2008 he returned to the University of Groningen and has held the chair of International Economics and Business since then. From 2011 to 2016 he was dean of the Economics and Business Administration Faculty in Groningen. Since 2015 he is director of the Centre of Expertise ‘In the LEAD’ at the same faculty, studying the effectiveness of leadership with insights from economists, psychologists and management academics.

He has always actively engaged in economic policy and policy advice. He was deputy- Crown member of the Social Economic Council (SER) between 2002-2014 and was a member of the Advisory Board and an academic partner of the National Planning Bureau (CPB). He acquired management experience as dean and as member of the Supervisory Board of the Social Housing Guarantee Fund (WSW). Currently he is a member of the Bank Council, the advisory board of the Dutch National Bank. As of February 2019, he is appointed as a board member for the Social Sciences and Humanities domain at the Dutch Research Council (NWO). During the New Business Models Conference in 2020, he will address his keynote in his capacity as NWO board member.

Marinke Wijngaard : ‘The need for collaborative business models in context of innovation for societal challenges.’
Managing Director, Circular Economy & Environment at TNO
Marinke has twenty-five years of experience at the interface of innovation, sustainability and business. With passion she leads TNOs unit Circular Economy & Environment, aiming to accelerate the transition to a sustainable circular world. She is closely involved in numerous innovation agendas and in creating public private partnerships in circular innovation initiatives. Her experience covers jobs in R&D management, leading the DSM Analytic Centre for Materials and the DSM Biotechnology Centre. She holds a academic degree in chemical engineering from the Technical University of Eindhoven (NL), combined with education in business management.
Abstract: Marinke will briefly shed a light on the innovation contributions of TNO to several transitions. A view on the societal needs for transition, also brings a focus on the many upcoming European calls such as the Green Deal and also the numerous national agendas. She openly questions how we can and probably should improve upon the efficacy of how we try deal with transitions. She will confront contemporary transition approaches and highlight the overlap, need and opportunity of collaborative business modelling to further the progress in transitions. With an aim to further the national transition capability, she pleads for stronger collaboration of academia and practice on this topic.

Online, recorded keynotes 

A selection of the keynotes given during the 5th. International Conference on New Business Models on the topic of sustainable, inclusive and circular new business models can be found here:

Pieter Jelle Beers:’Radical incrementalism: New business models and sustainability
Affiliation: Professor of New Business Models for Agrifood Transition,HAS University of Applied Sciences Den Bosch, (The Netherlands) Senior Researcher Dutch Research Institute for Transitions Erasmus University of Rotterdam (The Netherlands)
Abstract:New business models have been widely touted for their promise of
sustainability. However, conceptual approaches to new business models by and
large fail to make connections with sustainability transitions. In this
contribution, I draw upon the characteristics of sustainability transitions to
introduce a transformative business model concept. Given that sustainability
transitions are radically incremental processes, I propose that the innovative
potential of business models is rooted in the extent to which they can
influence their current institutional setting and that the radicalism of new
business models can only be assessed in relation to the transition to which
they might contribute.

Fenna Blomsma: ‘Circularity Thinking: systems design for circular product and business model (re)design’
Affiliation: University of Hamburg  (Germany)
Abstract: Designing circular solutions is fundamentally different from designing for a linear economy. This is because of the resource feedback loops that exist, and the value chain dynamics that influence the degree to which actor interests are aligned with circularity. But how to take these things into account when innovating? This keynote gives a bird’s eye view of Circularity Thinking – and the steps, tools and approaches it consists of – which provides input for circular product and business model (re)design based on systems thinking for circular economy.

Frank Boons: ‘From sustainable business models to sustainable provision: How to get beyond the SBM retorics’
Affiliation: Professor of Innovation and Sustainability at The University of Manchester
In practice and research alike, the concept of sustainable business models has transformed the way in which we think and argue about the way in which our practices of consumption and production can be made more socially and ecologically sustainable. In this keynote I offer a critical look at the business model concept and argue that (1) the concept is often used in a way that does not fully mobilize its potential, and (2) the limits of the concept may keep us from understanding the full range of options that are open to society for realizing sustainable production and consumption. I will argue that the perspective of sustainable provision needs to be at the basis of the research and practice of sustainable business models.”

Maayke Damen: Excess Materials Exchange: A dating site for secondary materials’
Affiliation: Founder Excess Materials Exchange ( The Netherlands)
Abstract: The Excess Materials Exchange (EME), means serious business. They want to save the planet with maximum impact. And they want to prevent valuable materials from being wasted and destroyed. The chosen path to achieve all this? Running a dating site. In this talk Maayke tells you all about her dating adventures. You’ll end up with a whole new perspective on the concept of the circular economy and waste.

Rick Edgeman: A New Business Model 400 Years, 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds in the Making’
Affiliation: guest editor Journal: Sustainability  Professor & Chair – Management Department – Robbins College of Business & Entrepreneurship – Fort Hays State University
Abstract: Driven by 400 years of systemic racism and 8 minutes 46 seconds of recent police action, unrest in America is at levels unseen since the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, with new policing models likely to emerge. A business model aimed at better aligning policing outcomes and their means of attainment with citizen expectations for equal justice and for assurance of their life and liberty is proposed. Value created is primarily social in nature so that the model anticipates collaboration of citizens, police, and civil authorities.



Jacob Eskildsen: ‘Job Performance in offline and online settings’
Affiliation: Aarhus University  (Denmark)
This key-note draw upon several different studies to explore the process of creating and sustaining job performance in a work team as well as the potential consequences of moving to a platform of high or low media richness to perform one’s tasks. Both organisational and emotional consequences
of opportunities behaviour in such settings will be touched upon.



Niels Faber: ORGANISING THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY – realising value preservation and inclusivity’
University of Groningen (the Netherlands)
Organising the circular economy implies a transition towards an economy of value preservation. The actions needed at landscape, regime, and niche levels are not all clear. In this keynote I address this issue, addressing three related questions. What does the organisation of value preservation mean? At which level(s) does this need to be addressed? And, what resources (e.g., institutions, people, money) are needed to make this happen?

Karl Vrancken:Connections are key to make circular business models a success’
Dept. Bio-engineering – University of Antwerp Research manager Sustainable Materials, VITO NV (Belgium)
Abstract: Circular business innovation is the process of combining one or more ways to create circular value with a strong value proposition. Because circularity has a focus on materials management, however, creating new connections throughout the value network is crucial to capture the circular value that is being created. Companies may be used to working with suppliers and customers, but they typically lack a view on the rest of the network and environment they operate in. For a circular business to be sustainable, it needs careful consideration and balancing of possible costs, benefits and impacts.
Building on learnings from our coaching activities for SME’s , this keynote will highlight that connectivity is the key to success in the transition to a circular business model. This should be interpreted both in a digital and a human way. Digital technologies for processes, products and platforms are key enablers for circular value creation, as well as delivery and capture. But also human interactions and exchange of expertise with financial, legal, insurance, logistics, business experts are necessary. Circular businesses are digitally-based but man-made.


Timber Haaker: ‘Do we need dedicated tooling for developing New Business Models?’
Affiliation: Saxion University of Applied Sciences (The Netherlands)

Business model tooling has developed from methods based on generic business model ontologies and taxonomies to more specialised aids for business models in specific domains.
In this talk we review several approaches to the design of business model tooling and consider whether we need dedicated tools for developing New Business Models. What could be missing in current tools? We look at some ideas that could support the design of new business models and consider how they may be applied in practice.

Jan Jonker: “Shaping transition trough collective business modelling”
Chair Sustainable entrepreneurship, Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University (The Netherlands)
Abstract: Society and the economy face an increasing number of wicked problems. The challenge is to shape a new form of Commons between society, business and government. We need to work on transitions that enable collective value creation between citizens, business and government. This keynote brings to the fore the idea of using the process of collective business modelling as a carrier for economic and societal transition.
The challenge is to link the processes of collective business modelling in specific domains with dedicated transition-pathways. However, how to combine those two processes in order to create more effectiveness remains an intriguing and challenging task. Still, this is deemed necessary if we want to contribute more effectively to today’s transition challenges.

Florian Lüdeke-Freund: ‘What Types of Sustainable Business Models Do we Already Have?’
Affiliation: Professor for Corporate Sustainability, ESCP Business School Berlin & Founder of
Abstract: Patterns are widely used to support the solution of various design challenges. Our research deals with the potential of patterns to support sustainable business model (SBM) design. We are presenting an overview of 45 SBM patterns that can be used to design better businesses. Inspired by the work of Gassmann and many others, we selected only those patterns that have the potential to contribute to sustainable development and to maintain and create value in ecological, social, and economic terms. The centrepiece of our research is a collection of 45 SBM patterns. It addresses three essential questions: What types of sustainable business models do we already have? What solutions do they offer to recurring ecological, social, and economic problems? And how can we best describe these solutions to maximize their usefulness? In this presentation, the research leading to our collection of 45 SBM patterns is explained.

Christian Nielsen: “What characterizes the best business model implementors? (Kickass Companies)”
Affiliation: Head of Department of Business and Management, Aalborg University Business School
Abstract: Picking out a novel business model with strong sustainability attributes is not a guarantee for success (in whatever dimension you wish to measure success; but that is a different story altogether). Instead, the winners are the companies that excel at implementing business models and executing the strategies around them. Through the study of 903 companies, we identify six factors that make a difference: 1. Leadership and managerial ambitions, 2. Customer focus, 3. Companies focused on being excellent in some aspect, 4. Interdependence with strategic partners and internally, 5. Adaptability and scalability, 6. Using KPIs for motivation and learning. 

Lars Jacob Tynes  Pedersen &  Sveinung Jorgensen: ‘Will your next office be an oil rig?’
Affiliation: Associate Professors, sustainability adventurers, and co-heads of the Centre for Sustainable Business at NHH Norwegian School of Economics.
Abstract: The circular economy requires upcycling of resources within and between industries. Two large industries with comprehensive resource usage footprints are 1) the oil energy and maritime industry and 2) the construction industry. This keynote introduces our ongoing work in a large research project, #recomX, which aims to bridge these two industries by developing a circular-economic ecosystem. Specifically, the project investigates how discarded oil and gas installations like oil rigs and large ships can be upcycled or recommissioned into new construction materials (e.g. facades and other materials for office buildings and other real estate). We thus investigate the entire circular value chain from oil rigs and ships to building materials, and what kinds of business models and ecosystems can help companies create value in a circular-economic ecosystem (e.g. “…as a service”-models, etc.). The project is a collaboration between architects, designers, companies in the oil and gas industry, lawyers, a finance institution and researchers. The purpose is to design new business models, develop new products and services, test prototypes and develop the groundwork for greener and a more circular economy growing from the ashes of the oil economy.

Kim Poldner: ‘Futureproof business models for the fashion industry’
The Hague University of Applied Sciences  (The Netherlands)
Abstract:Can Covid-19 be seen as a catalyst for change in the fashion industry? Or does it only disclose the well-known issues underlying textile supply chains for which we urgently need to come up with novel business models? This talk will focus on the problems in fashion and how the corona crisis is leading to a Darwinian shakeout with an expected 30% bankruptcies by the end of 2020. Opportunities for business model innovation are captured by focusing on three trends: The Age of the Amateur, Digital fashion and Resilient Supply Chains.


Romana Rauter: ‘ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODELS: Is it only a matter of system boundaries and methods applied?’
Assistant Professor University of Graz ( Austria)
Abstract: The creation and diffusion of sustainable business models (SBM) is a timely topic of increasing interest given the various ways that sustainable business models can lead to improved economic, social and environmental performance. The assessment of SBMs, however, is a subject matter that has not yet been fully clarified. I will present normative propositions to stimulate the ongoing debates about the impacts of SBMs, and to guide future research in this field.



Michel Schuurman: ‘New Societal Business Models
Affiliation: MVO Nederland (The Netherlands)
Abstract: New Business Models (NBM’s) have been on the rise in recent years. Whether it’s circular business models such as take-back schemes, incorporating other values such as natural capital or using sharing principles; in almost all cases there is also a societal benefit. Yet in the business model of nations (executed by our governments) these benefits are mostly ignored and even hindered. Taxation on labour is high and on consumption and resources low so the take-make-waste economy is favoured. VAT is raised – again – on refurbished goods and the societal benefits of working with people with a distance to our labour market are not valued in the labour taxes. All these things make working with NBM’s an uphill battle. In this keynote Michel Schuurman will highlight these system failures and suggest ways to address them effectively.


Hans Stegeman: Uncovering sustainable business models; practical applications from Finance’
Affiliation: Triodos Investment Management (The Netherlands)

There is a burgeoning literature on sustainable, new or circular business models. But what if your investment strategy is to invest in them? How do you decide if a business model is sustainable enough to qualify for you strategy? And when not? Uncovering sustainable business models is at the core of sustainable finance. And it is not an academic or blueprint exercise: reality is more grey to discover the different shades of green investment.
Identifying these business models, engaging with them for transitional impact and showing the impact to clients are important ways finance can contribute towards a sustainability transition.



Susan Sweet: Transforming to a circular fashion system’
Affiliation: Associate Professor Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden. Research manager of the Mistra Future Fashion program
Abstract: This key note will present and discuss research findings based on an eight years long cross-disciplinary research program, Mistra Future Fashion. The program had a vision to enable a systemic change of the fashion industry and society. Working with over 50 stakeholder partners and  in four different but integrated research themes, researchers addressed the circularity and sustainability of fashion from fibre to fibre, farmer to user and, from a linearity to circularity .


Arnold Tukker: ‘Business models for a resource-efficient and circular economy’
Affiliation: Scientific director and professor of Industrial Ecology, Leiden University, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Senior scientist, Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, den Haag ( The Netherlands)
Abstract: Since the 1990s, Product Service Systems (PSS) have been heralded as one of the most effective business model concepts for a resource-efficient, circular economy. Starting as a European concept, we see that PSS is now a concept used in a wide range of science fields and regions (Asia now produces more papers than Europe). PSS diffusion is however slow. For consumers, having control over things, artifacts, and life has high value. PSS are often less accessible, or have less intangible value, than the competing product. PSS suppliers take more responsibilities and risks for the use stage. To conclude, businesses under certain conditions can move to circular PSS since it makes business sense. It is however also clear that such changes not always pay off, and that policy incentives such as shifting taxes from labor to materials are essential to realise a circular economy.



Ralph Turm: ‘Business Model (Re-)Design for Resilience & Regeneration
Affiliation: r3.0
Abstract: I
n this keynote r3.0 Managing Director Ralph Thurm looks at the often relative and context-free way in which Sustainable Business Models are designed. Is a circular business model actually sustainable? What if it is just based on inputs, and output/outcome related steering without applying thresholds and allocations to truly assess that the actual or planned performance is ‚in context‘. What does r3.0 offer to ensure sustainable business model creation to stay within the carrying capacities and fair shares? Lastly, the keynote will address the need for education at all levels to embrace what’s necessary learning to ensure Resilience & Regeneration. A great way to explore the complementarity of r3.0 and many other initiatives that go deep on a second step, but forgot to finish a basic first step to allow for sustainable business models to thrive.

Sjors Witjes: ‘Sustainability and business; learnings from practice and science’
Affiliation: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen Assistant Professor at the Strategic Management group of Radboud University (The Netherlands), Extraordinary Professor of Corporate Sustainability Antioquia  University (Colombia)
Abstract: The use of transdisciplinary approaches has enable academic institutions to engage in organisations’ quest to enhance their contribution to the sustainable development of society. These collaborative approaches aimed at meaningful outcomes for science and practice let the researcher be at the heart of organisational change processes. In this keynote I will share learnings of applying transdisciplinary approaches in the light of the current climate and social crises.

Arthur ten Wolde: ‘New business models: from niche to mainstream’
Affiliation: Executive Director,
Abstract: Since 2013, there is growing support for a transition to new business models that are sustainable, circular and fair. New models bring obvious advantages to companies such as resilience, innovation, increased turnover and attracting the best staff. Representing 99% of European companies, SMEs play a crucial role in the transition to a circular economy. However, green SME start-ups and front-runners still represent only a minority of 3% of all SMEs. So what prevents mainstreaming? There are numerous barriers experienced by the 3.000 members of ‘ecopreneurs’. These barriers include the lack of demand for green and circular products and services, lack of transparency and access to funding and the complexity of circular design. Many of these barriers can be addressed at the regional or national level, but mainstreaming also requires radical EU policy changes.