The 4th International Conference on New Business Models is over and yet the work has just begun. We had some wonderful time in Berlin, discussing the challenges of today, developing new business models – and of course the networking part played also an important role, to even better collaborate and exchange in the future.

All started at Berlin’s Tangoloft where our guests started with some drinks and an insightful discussion on values-based innovation.

On ESCP in Berlin our 180+ guests from 30+ countries listened to inspiring keynotes, top-notch panel discussions and nearly 100 presentations by scholars from sustainability sciences, entrepreneurship, innovation, management, design and many more. The 930-page conference proceedings give an overview of the breadth and depth of the field.

The conference included several calls to action. First, researchers in the field of sustainable business must get louder and bolder. A lot has been achieved, but little is actually taken up in practice. Second, more research is needed that crosses disciplinary boundaries and experiments with new methods.

Researchers must get louder and bolder. The “ABC” discussion panel, including pioneers from academia, business and consulting, found that policy makers and industry associations fail to tackle issues such as climate change or social issues in global supply chains effectively. At the same time, there is still hope that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved. But this will not happen without really bold and innovative measures.

The panel discussion concluded with a clear call to action. Researchers in the field of sustainable business must get louder and bolder in promoting new approaches. These include female and collective leadership, upgrading and upscaling of green and social businesses models, real-world experiments and making sustainability pioneers more visible, also within business school education.

More interdisciplinary and experimental research is needed. The presented papers and the panel discussion on scientific publishing clearly showed that there is an urgent need for more inter-, multi- and transdisciplinary research, i.e. integrative research done together with non-academic stakeholders, and research that is testing new methods. If research on sustainable business should become much more relevant in the eyes of business practitioners, policy makers, consumers and civil society at large, we must find ways to explore and extend the boundaries of what we know about how business can contribute to sustainable development.

Entrepreneurship and management scholars teaming up e.g. with psychologists, sociologists or designers had the opportunity to make really new and relevant discoveries. A special issue in the Journal of Business Models will be dedicated to such approaches.

ESCP Berlin is as well increasing its engagement in the field of sustainable business research and education, e.g. through sustainability-driven Master programmes, research hubs, chairs and publications, for example on sustainable business models and the circular economy.

The conference was supported by our media partner oekom. And Klimapatenschaft helped us to compensate the travel-induced CO2 emissions of the conference, which amounted to 88 tons. Thanks to all the conference guests who donated for the climate compensation!

The 5th International Conference on New Business Models will take place from 1st to 2nd July 2020 in Nijmegen.