Companies and innovation: economical, ethical, juridical and safety perspectives
Companies are not isolated entities but are embedded in a social context with multiple demands, restrictions and opportunities. Firstly, there are the markets a company is operating in, where the laws of economics rule: supply and demand, investment, financing and marketing. Secondly, there are restrictions (and opportunities!) set by the enforced rules of the law. This is how society puts demands on the entrepreneur. For instance, the legislator demands there is competition and price arrangements are forbidden. Thirdly, there are considerations regarding safety or security and risk, that is, the safety (or security) of the product(s) the company produces, but also the safety of the workers involved in the production process and environmental safety. Finally, current opinions about what is ‘good’ and ‘immoral’ determine the company’s ethical playfield. A successful, innovative company is able to connect the playfields of market, law, ethics and safety.
In this Minor we will look specifically at technological innovation within companies and the social factors and restrictions surrounding these. Insight into these viewpoints is important to make sensible decisions and to be able to design products that are both technologically and socially relevant and acceptable.
The aim of the Minor 'Companies and innovation' is to offer students insight into how economics, law, ethics and safety and risk considerations impact technological developments and innovation as well as responsibilities of companies. This focus on important social issues such as safety and security, ethics and economics (corporate social responsibility and risk-conscious innovation) make the minor relevant, attractive and challenging for enterprising students, students interested in the management of organizations and for students wishing to overall broaden their horizon.
What do you learn?
The main objectives of the minor are:
- Understand and apply the basic building blocks of (corporate) business administration (Management, Finance/Marketing, Logistics, Production);
- Analyse organizational business processes, i.e. to be able to identify relevant organisational, technological and market factors that influence innovation, their success and failure;
- Provide a broad juridical framework within which technological innovative products can be framed and judged;
- Analyse and manage risk and safety (or security) issues that organizations have to deal with, e.g. product safety, occupational health and safety (OHS), privacy, etc.;
- Reflect on corporate responsibility of (innovative) companies from an ethical perspective;
- Apply knowledge and insight from course modules in a realistic business game;
- Study social responsible, technological innovation within a company through a case study; i.e. develop, write and present a business plan to an expert panel for an innovative product including market and business-economic analyses, pertinent juridical considerations, risk analyses and ethical reflections.
Additionally, the minor provides students with:
- A broad view on economical, juridical, ethical-philosophical and safe boundary conditions (within as well as outside a corporation) that provide limitations as well as incentives for innovation by companies;
- Cooperation, communication and practical skills to work in an interdisciplinary team together on a solid business plan for an innovative product of their own choice;
- A basis for responsible entrepreneurship;
- Encounter various experts in the field of safety and risk, economics/ business, marketing, innovation/ invention, etc.
- Foundations of Business Administration (2 ECTS) (Q1)
- Business economics, choice of technique and innovation (5 ECTS) (Q1)
- Responsible management of risk and safety (5 ECTS) (Q1)
- Technology and law (5 ECTS) (Q2)
- Technology, Innovation and ethics for companies (3 ECTS) (Q2)
- Business game (4 ECTS) (Q1 + Q2)
- Integration course, incl. foundations (6 ECTS) (Q1 + Q2)
Example previous case studies
- SaveWave, a portable flare for windsurfers
- Easyserve, a self-stabilising serving tray
- Callcase, integrated earplugs for a mobile phone
- Measalt, a salt mill to handle salt daily doses
- Bambox, a foldable lunchbox of sustainable materials
- Bikefinder, identify your bike with a wireless key
- Pullbin, a bin within which garbage can be pressed firmly together
- Bike-evolution, a crankcase lock and remote identification for e-bikes
Enterprising and creative students, students interested in the management of organizations and for students wishing to overall broaden their horizon.
NB. Some courses (Integration course, Business game) of this Minor are taught in Dutch.