Social Innovation and Sustainable Business Talks podcast series – #2


The project is partly supported by The Mötesplats Social Innovation project funded by Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency, and the Media, Management and Transformation Research Centre (MMTC) at Jönköping International Business School in Sweden.

In this podcast series, you will hear what practitioners from sustainability-oriented companies and academics from different fields focusing on social innovation and sustainability research think about the major challenges and future opportunities in the transition to the circular economy.

One of the perspectives in the discussions will be social innovations needed in addition to technological innovations to support more sustainable consumer behavior. The aim is to inspire business developers in companies to further develop more sustainable business ideas and promote social innovation.

The podcast closes with practically relevant research questions for researchers that will help us in the academia to focus on the key issues in transitioning to the circular economy.

Podcast #2

Frugal innovation – How can companies that are implementing frugal innovations help to have a positive impact on society?

Listen to the podcast at Spotify, Libsyn, iTunes (search for Vertikala samtal) or below:

Hosted by: Dr. Ulla Saari, Senior researcher at the Media, Management & Transformation Research Centre (MMTC), and assistant professor of sustainable business at Jönköping International Business School.

Company in focus of the discussion: a supplier of engineering solutions, products and services for automotive industry, process industry and machine building

Company representation: MBA Thomas Beck from PHOENIX CONTACT Electronics GmbH, Germany, https://

Guest from Academia: Univ. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Cornelius Herstatt, Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (TIM), Hamburg University of Technology Germany,

Short bios of discussants

Prof. Cornelius Herstatt is a leading German researcher and university professor for innovation management. He holds a chair at the Technical University of Hamburg, is the Managing Director of the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management at the Technical University Hamburg and heads the Center for Frugal Innovation (CFI). After a commercial apprenticeship, he studied business administration and economics at the universities of Cologne, Zurich and Oxford. He received his doctorate from the Institute for Business Research at the University of Zurich and worked for five years as a scientific assistant at the Institute of Business Administration at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. In 1990 he became a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT-Boston). Before being appointed professor in 1998, Prof. Herstatt held various management positions at an international management consultancy and a Swiss industrial group.

In his research, Herstatt has been researching the phenomenon of “user innovation” since the early 1980s. With the advent of the Internet, his research increasingly focused on “open source innovation” in (Internet-) communities. In recent times, he has been particularly interested in so-called “frugal innovations”, which often emerge in the context of developing countries and are often a driving force inclusive innovation. Another focus is his research on social innovations in developing countries, supporting social cohesion among others.

Prof. Herstatt’s research is internationally oriented and focuses on Asia and Europe. He researches and publishes together with international colleagues and institutions. Herstatt is author and editor of 25 books on innovation research and several hundred publications in German, English and Japanese. Herstatt has held visiting professorships at Australian, Japanese and American universities and is an alumnus of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the German Institute for Japanese Studies, the East-West Center (Hawaii) and Templeton College (Oxford). He is an advisor to small and large companies, policymakers and NGOs around the world.

MBA Thomas Beck is a Senior Project Manager at Phoenix Contact Electronics GmbH, Germany, in the area of Portfolio Management. He has 10 years’ working experience at Phoenix Contact, and 25 years’ experience in the area of electric automation.

He has an MBA degree in Business Administration. His expertise lies in business development, with a focus on product management and strategic marketing projects.

He has worked in the past years on a frugal development project in corporation with the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management at Hamburg University of Technology and Prof. Cornelius Herstatt.

Dr. Ulla Saari holds a PhD degree in Industrial Engineering & Management and a M.Sc. degree in Environmental Engineering from the Tampere University of Technology, and a M.A. degree in Languages and Social Sciences from the University of Helsinki, Finland. Her current research topics include: sustainability, sustainability-oriented innovation, sustainable production and consumption, and sustainable business models. She also has 20 years’ experience in the high-tech industry in various senior manager level roles in international organizations.

Social Innovation and Sustainable Business Talks

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