‘The Journey’ to sustainability and innovation begins at Lund University

Lund University, being one of the three-partner host universities for the Climate-KIC summer school, welcomed 39 students from different countries in Europe on Sunday, 3rd July to start their first leg of ‘The Journey’. They are spending the next weeks in a multicultural and an interdisciplinary environment, to learn about different schools of knowledge surrounding climate change.

Climate-KIC is the Europe’s largest public private partnership for climate change and innovation.  Here are some of the impressions and voices from the first few days of ‘The Journey’.

The first day included an overview of the climate policy and research in the Nordic region by Markku Rummukainen combined with lectures on design thinking and visual communication by the two business coaches, Balázs Kurucz and Galina Emelina. Their role would be to guide the students towards their goal to design a business idea and plan by the end of the summer school and thus, they would also be travelling with the students.

The second day advanced into business where effectuation and causation were discussed and the students were introduced to the business model canvas. Having clarity of the business models through a case study by Craig, the day ended with a workshop on visualization of own ideas powered by a more integrated design thinking approach.

With a short but deep introduction into the summer school, Balázs and Galina express that the summer school has received an inspiring group of students with high spirits and energy.

Impressions from the first few days

Gesica Photo: Aakash Dhingra

Gesica, who’s from Burkina Faso, Africa and studies a master’s in Agrosciences Environment Land Management Landscapes & Forests at AgroParisTech, France, felt very welcomed with the overall atmosphere of the students, the staff and the university.

She points out, ‘’ When you are with people with positive thinking you are more positive and out looking which helps in crossing ideas with each other and developing on them.’’ From ‘The Journey’, Gesica is confident that she will gain many skills such as in communication, working with people, interdisciplinary teamwork and innovation thinking. 

One of the unique features about ‘The Journey’ is that it constitutes of students from various educational backgrounds. Another student, Maarten Grotholt, who studies Environmental Governance and Sustainable Development at Utrecht University, Amsterdam, Netherlands expressed his satisfaction with the management and organization of the summer school at Lund University.

‘’The summer school is very well organized and well set up. The intensive course keeps you busy and active with lectures early during the day and workshops in the afternoon’’, says Maarten. When asked about expectations, he adds, ‘’My master’s and bachelor’s degrees have focused on the public sector so I wanted to focus on the private sector as

Maarten Grotholt. Photo: Aakash Dhingra

well and expand my skills in business. With the summer school, I hope to gain more of an entrepreneurial mindset and put my ideas to use. This summer school would be good as it will allow me to make mistakes and learn from them.’’

With innovation as a central focus at the summer school, Jack Doyle, a master’s student at Utrecht University studying Earth Science agrees with the importance of integrating innovation and social & environmental sustainability. He refers to his learning from the workshop, ‘’Initially, I thought ideas of innovation require much self-thinking until the idea matures and all variables are accounted for but I have realized it’s the opposite. After having done the exercises at the workshops, it is certain that innovation arises out from bouncing it off from person to person and following a process that engages your mind from different directions’’. Lastly, Jack acknowledges the knowledge gained through the lectures and researchers at Lund University and mentions the Lund University being the ‘’ideal starting point as an excellent research university’’.

In the next coming days, the students will advance into the intensive course and visit the industrial park in Helsingborg to learn about Industrial Symbiosis. Their experience at Lund University would help them build a solid base to build upon in the follow up weeks at the other universities to build a business case and pitch it. 

Text: Aakash Dhingra, a student journalist at Lund University Sustainability Forum, and a LUMES master’s student at Lund University.

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