In the book they co-edited, Annabeth Aagaard, Florian Lüdeke-Freund and Peter Wells combine two research streams: sustainability transitions and business models for sustainability. This offers insights into how business model innovation can act as a catalyst for societal transformations towards sustainability.

“Can innovations in business change society? Can innovations in society change business? These two questions have become critically urgent in recent years, but are rarely considered together,” explain Annabeth Aagaard, Florian Lüdeke-Freund and Peter Wells. Business Models for Sustainability Transitions: How Organisations Contribute to Societal Transformation therefore asks whether and how innovation in business models (micro level) and societal transitions towards sustainability (macro level) can positively influence each other. “Technology alone cannot save us. We cannot consciously consume our way out of trouble. This book represents a start at bridging the dynamic world of business model innovation with the constant and unprecedented transitions underway in the world around us.”

For researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers, the coupling of the micro and macro levels has the potential to unlock answers to our grand global challenges. This work offers unique and considered glimpses into what it may take to harness wide-ranging innovations for the collective good.

At the intersection of business model innovation and sustainability transitions

This seminal book at the intersection of business model and sustainability transitions research includes twelve chapters written by 30+ authors. It covers issues such as the circular economy, self-sufficiency, and civil society initiatives in both industrial nations and emerging economies. “In this book, you will find new attempts to study the business model and the system level simultaneously in an integrated manner. While business models are often studied from the perspective of value theories, more on a micro-level, the system level is typically analysed from the perspective of transition theory, innovation system or multilevel perspectives,” Florian Lüdeke-Freund adds in the video above.

“You will learn how you can combine these different perspectives, that is, how to study business models at the system level in an integrated manner. And you will also, most importantly, find out how much is going on between the micro and the macro level, that is on the meso level of collaborations and networks. One important thing we learned from our many authors, is that the space between business models on the one hand, and society on the other hand, needs much more attention. And they make very interesting suggestions how to study this untapped domain.”