Centre for Innovation and Business

What do companies need to do in order to remain innovative and successful in an environment that is constantly changing? The Centre for Innovation and Business searches for answers to this question.

Research programme Business Models in a Changing World

Entrepreneurs and businesses are facing major societal challenges such as the need for a sustainable society and affordable healthcare. These challenges require not only technological solutions, but also solutions to questions of leadership, entrepreneurship and business management. What determines whether an innovation succeeds is often not the innovation itself, but rather how it is organized and brought to the market. Business modelling methods are used in order to convert opportunities into effects in business activities. These methods are effective in generating new concepts at management level. But in practice, it has proven difficult to convert business modelling methods into process designs and new revenue models. Indeed, sometimes it has proven completely impossible. Many companies just continue to do what they have always done and do not adapt their strategy and management methods. Business Modelling is the subject of our research, and we therefore concentrate on how it can be implemented.

For companies wishing to remain vigorous and innovative in a constantly changing environment, the most important building blocks are:

  • business model innovation as a new strategy for remaining competitive
    Business Model Innovation requires a multidisciplinary approach, to generate new business together.
  • innovation means working with others
    These days, entrepreneurs who want to innovate, need to work together. But at the same time, cooperation is not always the obvious path to take for entrepreneurs. For this reason, our Business Models in a Changing World research programme includes research into the formation of clusters and the establishment of partnerships in relation to new business models. This can make it possible for entrepreneurs to innovate successfully and achieve growth. 
  • a focus on skills
    To be able to keep pace in an open, dynamic and uncertain environment, the following skills areas are essential:
    - Customer focus: maintaining constant contact with the customer. The keywords are interaction and co-creation, open innovation (achieving innovation through interaction), an open culture as a fertile ground for new ideas and understanding.
    Knowledge of technology and the implementation of technology
    Innovation often originates mainly in technology, particularly in the Utrecht region (see EBU Labour Market Analysis Utrecht, 2014).
    - Sustainable (economic) capacity for learning
    Innovation is no longer something that happens once; it has become a continuous process. This process requires not only knowledge but also special skills and capacities, such as enterprising and reflective abilities.

These building blocks are important themes in our research programme.

About the research groups

The research groups at the Centre for Innovation and Business reflect all these aspects of the dynamic organization and reorganization of companies. They develop the various aspects of business model innovation. The various business disciplines form the basis for the work of the professorships.

  • Financial-Economic Advice in Innovation 
    Themes: Changing accounting and control environments; Entrepreneurial Governance; Business Transfers (special professor)
  • Marketing, Market Research and Innovation
    Themes: Brand Designing; Customer Value Management
  • Process innovation and information systems
    Themes: Business Process Management; IT-driven business innovation; Information Planning 
  • Cooperative entrepreneurship
    Themes: the formation of partnerships, chain innovation, public/private partnerships, international cooperation

Research with impact

Professional practice, particularly in our region, occupies a central place in our research. We want to contribute to the innovative strength of this professional practice. Our research is not done for its value to the academic world, but because of its value for and impact on society. HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht has set up a number of university-wide fields of application to which we at the Centre for Innovation and Business contribute:

  • Creative Industries
  • Healthcare and Technology
  • Sustainability: Smart Sustainable Cities
  • Neighbourhood Working and Learning

Results for education

The professors, who are experts in their field, are the driving force behind our centre. They deploy their knowledge and experience to promote research and innovation within the professional field. The professors are supported by researchers, who typically combine this role with teaching activities. HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht encourages its teaching staff to participate in their field and also to carry out doctoral research within it. This enables our teaching staff to acquire the tools and knowledge that they need to educate Bachelor’s students to become 'reflective practitioners' with the very latest knowledge. Master’s students too can contribute to the work of the various research groups.


Visiting address:
Daltonlaan 500
3584 BK Utrecht
The Netherlands
Mailing address:
P.O. Box 85029
3508 AA Utrecht
The Netherlands
Telephone: +31  88 481 64 03
E-mail: teja.degroot@hu.nl

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