Leadership for Innovation and Performance Happiness

Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)

Unfortunately, this course is cancelled this summer due to COVID-19 regulations. We expect to be able to offer this course again next year.

In this course you will discover the key variables of leadership, their relation to innovation and how they stimulate workplace happiness and increased performance. Supported by a mix of lectures, working on a group assignment and a company visit, students will work together and analyse relevant factors for an innovation supportive working environment. During the course students will apply these insights, outside the classroom and will work together with real-life companies in the Utrecht area. 

The business world is changing. New regulations, competitive markets and globalization are just a few of the examples of the always and fast-paced evolution within business. Experts are in agreement that nowadays innovation is a key driver for growth, and recent research by McKinsey found that no less than 94% of senior executives feel that people and corporate culture are the most important drivers of innovation. In this course we will focus on the vital and key role of leadership in that equation. Topics such as “how do leaders enable others to innovate?”, “how do companies benefit from happy and motivated staff members?" and “how do leaders incorporate and benefit from the disruptive qualities of technology?” will be discussed, and give students new and valuable insights into the role of leadership in long-term organizational success.

This course will start with topics on personal leadership; helping you to get familiar with some of the individual characteristics of leadership supporting innovation and performance happiness.

The assignment will connect each team to a real-life company in the Utrecht area and will take students outside the classroom  to translate what their insights could mean for this specific organisation. During this assignment, teams will receive intensive coaching from our lecturers. At the end of the course each team will present their results.  

This highly interactive approach, requires academic English skills at minimum intermediate level.

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NB: This course is also part of the track 'Innovation in European Business'.

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Michael Makowski, MSc


Michael Makowski MBA

Sandra Hendricks MSc

Marco Oteman MA

Target audience

This course is an interesting challenge for students enrolled in Business and Management programmes, but is also open to bachelor and master students from other fields, as long as you have some background or a strong interest in leadership and/or business innovation. A good command of English is necessary.

Course aim

This course aims to provide you with the opportunity to learn about leadership characteristics, their relation to innovation, performance happiness and long-term organisational success.

Study load

55 hr(s) lectures/field excursions + assignments (incl. self-study).


Course fee:
Course + course materials
Housing fee:

Housing through: Utrecht Summer School.

More information

E: summerschool.business@hu.nl

Recommended combinations
Innovation Lab: Design Thinking for Socially-Relevant Innovation
Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Europe: Business Models and Financing Models


Application deadline: 01 July 2020

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