Business Design and Sustainability


Content, progress and pedagogy of the module

Business – particularly entrepreneurial startups working with innovative technologies – has a vital contribution to make to sustainable development. The idea is that entrepreneurial startups are a very powerful and agile innovation engine. And this potential for innovation can be used to turn sustainability challenges into opportunities for profits.

However and despite their critical importance, new sustainable technologies or even new scientific discoveries and ideas, by themselves, are not sufficient. Generally speaking, unregulated markets are quite inefficient in valuing environmental and social value creation. As a consequence, the rewards for addressing environmental or social problems with novel technologies or solutions are often ambiguous, a fact that makes it difficult to turn sustainable technologies and the products and services based on them in opportunities for profits.

To be able to reach their full potential to contribute solving sustainabiltiy challenges, new technologies as well as the as the products and services developed on them, require to be brought to markets with appropriate business models, namely sustainable business models.   

Designing sustainable business models is not, in itself, easy. First of all it requires to become familiar with the main tools, the governing ideas, and the methods for the design of business. These include, among others, the iterative processes that entreprenerus and innovators need to to diligently manage uncertainty and proceed towards finding scalable and repeatable business models. It also involves understanding what are market based barriers to sustainability and acquire the knowledge relative to how innovative business models design can support overcoming such barriers.

Building on these premises, this elective module offers participants to learn how to systematically analyze risks and opportunities related to sustainable technologies, scientific discoveries and ideas that can solve social and environmental problems and how to design  sustainable business models for them.

Learning objectives


The objective is that the student after the module possesses the necessary knowledge on:

  • the theoretical fundamentals of the functioning of markets in relationship to entrepreneurship and sustainability.
  • key methods and processes for business design both in theory and practice.
  • theoretical and practical methods and approaches to navigating patterns for sustainbale business design, for example problem solving approach and opportunity exploration approach.


The objective is that the student after the module possesses the necessary skills in:

  • planning and organizing to assess risks and opportunities related to sustainbale technologies and ideas.
  • analytically and critically relating to market barriers of sustainability and apply relevant knowledge to envision solutions to them.


The objective is that the student after the module possesses the necessary competences in:

  • applying relevant knowledge and abilities to generalise, abstract and build understanding of key issues within Business Design and Sustainability.
  • independently conducting ongoing analyses, adapting and possibly developing new solutions for key business design and sustainability issues as the complexity increases.
  • translating the knowledge and abilities necessary in order to be part of processes related to business design and sustainability on an academic, interdisciplinary and professional basis.

Type of instruction

For information see § 17.



Name of examBusiness Design and Sustainability
Type of exam
Oral exam based on a project
Group examination with max. 6 students.
Assessment7-point grading scale
Type of gradingInternal examination
Criteria of assessmentThe criteria of assessment are stated in the Examination Policies and Procedures

Facts about the module

Danish titleBusinessdesign og bæredygtighed
Module codeKATEI20224
Module typeCourse
Duration1 semester
Language of instructionEnglish
Location of the lectureCampus Aalborg
Responsible for the module


Education ownerMaster of Science (MSc) in Technology (Entrepreneurial Business Engineering)
Study BoardStudy Board of Economics and Business Administration
DepartmentAalborg University Business School
FacultyFaculty of Social Sciences and Humanities