Innovation in European Business: Business Models, Leadership and Design - Track

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.

Innovation is key for companies to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment and is arguably the most important factor for long-term organisational success. During this track we will introduce you to the drivers and challenges of innovation in Europe and how people and organisations handle these. You will gain experience, insights and in-depth knowledge of innovation in Europe.

We will look at different perspectives of innovation, on an individual level as well as on an organizational level, for you to explore innovative supportive features of leaders, organisations and processes.

The first two weeks of this track focus on the various innovation challenges faced by European companies, how governments and business cultures in the European Union (EU) influence innovation, and which traits characterise innovative ventures and people. You will learn the fundamentals of how to perform a trend analysis, scenario planning, and form ideas about innovative business models. By organising a variety of site visits, we will help you obtain a good grasp of the various ways in which companies tackle these challenges and are able to innovate.

During the second part of the track, we would like to welcome you to our innovation lab! Together with a group of fellow students, you will discover the ins and outs of design thinking, the importance of user-experience and co-creation, and experience first-hand how to innovate products and services by getting out the door. Our client will provide your team with an assignment, give input and help evaluate your group’s performance. Of course, you won’t have to face this challenge alone; besides the support of your team members, you will receive intensive coaching from skilled work-field professionals.

The last two weeks will focus on the role of leadership in supporting innovative behaviour and performance happiness.  Together with other students you will discover the key variables of leadership and how leaders can support innovative behaviour, learn how workplace happiness can lead to improved organisational performance, and apply newly found insights by working together with local companies and helping them innovate.

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Bart Toering, MSc, Jens Gijbels, MBI & Michael Makowski, MSc

Target audience

This course is open to all bachelor and master students in the field of business, HR, and finance, and to those students who have a background or an interest in innovation within a business setting. Students are expected to have a good command of English.

Course aim

This track aims to provide students with fundamentals, best-practices and experience in innovation within European business. The specific learning outcomes of the programme are: - Understand what the drivers of innovation are; - Explore business models of successful (socially-relevant) innovation - Perform and understand the fundamentals of trend analysis and scenario-planning and; - Have a broad knowledge of the challenges of innovation within Europe; - Use design thinking to innovate and design services; - Understand the importance of co-creation and focusing on the user perspective; - Have insight into the relationship between innovation, leadership, workplace happiness and performance; - Understand how you as a leader could enable other people and organisations to innovate.

Study load

This track requires students to be motivated and able to keep up with a high study load of more or less 40 hours a week. This includes lectures, group assignments, field trips and self-study.


Course fee:
Housing fee:

Housing through:

  • Utrecht Summer School

More information



Application deadline: 15 June 2020

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