Dr. ir. Kersten, W.C.


Wouter has so far enjoyed a diverse career of jobs in the academic, research, profit and non-profit sectors. For most of his career he held two jobs in parallel. This continuous immersion in different environments simultaneously has ensured that he has no single way to look at the world, but can switch and imagine and see the value of different viewpoints.

Since 2012 he has been working part-time at TU Delft, since 2016 that is arranged as part-time PhD position for the topic "Context Variation by Design", or in other words, intentional design for diversity. It is a design approach that is particularly useful when addressing large scale social challenges with diverse local manifestations.

Previous research jobs included ones at RIVM, Tilburg University and WRR, with topics ranging from greening the financial system, accelerated climate change, labour migration and communication after calamities.

He has (co) authored several dozens of articles and book chapters.

Beside his academic positions Wouter has always worked in parallel in non-academic settings as well, including as innovation manager (initiating social enterprises worldwide), and supporting others in be(com)ing professionally curious through The New ABC. In 2019 he started working for Platform31, on the theme of the Circular Society and Sustainability, where his PhD work is actively used.


  • 2016 – 2020
    PhD, Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
  • 2002 – 2003
    MSc Environmental Science, University of Greenwhich
  • 1990 – 1996
    MSc Industrial Engineering and Management, University of Twente 


  • 2019 – present
    Project leader Sustainability and Circular Economy at Platform 31
  • 2018 – present
    Chief Curiosity at The New ABC
  • 2012  present
    Researcher at Delft university of Technology, since 2016 also as PhD Candidate, thesis completed in 2020
  • 2005 – 2017
    Research and Innovation manager at Enviu (www.enviu.org)
  • 2003 – 2009
    Various research functions, RIVM, WRR, Tilburg University
  • 1996 – 2002
    Telecom Consultancy and Project leader, Logica BV

Specialisation / field of research

  • Design with Diversity
  • Context Variation by Design

Lectures and/or coaches students in

  • Complexity in design
  • Creativity 
  • Sustainable Business Models
  • Product Service Systems

Involved in research projects


Global environmental policy handbook, 2nd edition

Frank Wijen (ed) (contribution to 1 chapter)
ISBN: 978 18 4980 312 0

Published in 2012

Sustainable Development Drivers

Kees Zoeteman (ed) (co-author on 2 chapters)
ISBN: 978 08 5793 489 5

Published in 2012

Livinggreen Scientific Conference proceedings

Wouter Kersten (ed)
ISBN: 978 94 6186 168 9
PDF available online

Published in 2013

Innovation for Sustainability

Chapter 16: Wouter Kersten, Jan Carel Diehl, Jo van Engelen
Editors: Nancy Bocken, Paavo 
Ritala, Laura Albareda, Robert Verburg
ISBN:  978 3 319 97385 2
Available online

Published in 2019

"Acknowledge complexity by designing for diversity, with intent."