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Innovation & Standardisation Management


Admission requirements

Intended for all BA and BSc students registered for the minor Responsible Innovation.


The world faces grand societal challenges. One of these is climate change. Most scientists agree that the emission of greenhouse gasses leads to global warming. This makes climate more extreme. Climate change impacts ecosystems including biodiversity, and also impacts human society. In turn, each of these three impact each other, leading to disastrous self-reenforcing effects. In its report Climate Change 2022 – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) pleads for Climate Resilient Development. To make this happen, cooperation between governments, companies, and civil society is needed. Without innovation it will be impossible, and this innovation should be shaped in the form of standards. The concepts innovation and standardisation are core in this module. The assignments focus on their relevance for tackling the issue of climate change but the module addresses other areas of innovation and standardisation as well.

These other areas may relate to other grand societal challenges such as poverty, depletion of natural resources, housing and information security, and to more specific fields such as the Internet of Things (IoT), 5th generation networks, service platforms, the circular economy, energy transition and fair-trade products. These have in common that they trigger drastically changes in the way firms are innovating and combine business interests with societal dimensions. In their innovation process, companies have to cooperate with other firms because products and services offered by different companies get integrated in complex systems. Therefore, not only these products and services but also the interfaces between them and the entire system are to be innovated. This provides managerial challenges, also because innovation is not limited to the boarders of single organisations. And these innovative systems have societal implications. Negative externalities have to be mitigated. But even better: companies and other stakeholders can become a force of positive change by seeking positive societal impacts, such as storing rather than emitting greenhouse gasses.

Within complex systems, system elements are interconnected by means of interfaces. In general, such interface specifications should remain stable during a certain period in order to enable innovation at the level of the products, services or system elements they interconnect, so standards are essential. Though change is inherent to innovation, such stability via standards is needed as well, until this interface itself needs to be replaced by a substantially better one. Standardisation includes negotiation and decision-making processes within different cooperative and competitive settings.

The approach in this module will be learning by doing, without a written test, but with assignments instead. The assignments address standardisation and innovation in relation to climate change.

Course objectives

This course aims to provide you with basic knowledge, illustrated by a range of practice examples, about standardisation management and, next, its integration in responsible innovation management. This should enable you to develop and employ a strategy for an individual company, a supply chain or a branch of business on how to manage product or service innovation in combination with standards. After this course, you will be able to:

  • explain how standards support complex systems of processes, products and services;

  • illustrate standards’ roles in innovation of such systems and in improving sustainability;

  • distinguish between different ways in which standards can be developed;

  • formulate a strategy for a company to influence standards in a multi-stakeholder setting;

  • make concrete recommendations on using innovation and standardisation management to enable responsible innovation, in the context of grand societal challenges.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Research

  • Excursion

  • Role playing game

  • Attendance in this course is mandatory. In case of no-show, the tutor should be informed about your absence prior to the actual seminar session. Moreover, this course cannot be successfully completed by students that were absent more than twice.

Assessment method


  • Individual assignment

  • Group assignment


  • Individual assignment 70 %

  • Group assignment 30 %.


For the individual assignment, a resit is possible. However, then you have to take a new case. For the group assignment there is no resit option.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Scientific and professional papers, to be provided or indicated via Brightspace.

  1. De Vries, Henk J. & W. Pieter Verhagen. (2016). Impact of changes in regulatory performance standards on innovation: A case of energy performance standards for new-built houses. Technovation, 48-49, 56-68..
  2. De Vries, Henk J. (2008). Standardisation: A Business Science Perspective. In: Judith Schueler, Andreas Fickers & Anique Hommels (Eds) Bargaining Norms, Arguing Standards – Negotiating Technical Standards. (STT74). The Hague: STT Netherlands Study Centre for Technology Trends, pp. 18-32..
  3. El Osrouti, Fouad & Henk J. de Vries (2021) Dynamics of stakeholder involvement in standardisation: a longitudinal study. (Unpublished draft – not for distribution).
  4. De Vries, Henk, Albert Feilzer, Harry Gundlach & Jan Simons (2010). Conformity Assessment. In: W. Hesser, A.J. Feilzer & H.J. de Vries (Eds) Standardisation in Companies and Markets. 3rd edition. Hamburg: Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg, pp. 871-904.
  5. ISO (2018). Contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals with ISO standards. Geneva: International Organization for Standardization..
  6. Glasbergen, Pieter (2018) Standards and sustainable transformations – A governance perspective. (Unpublished draft – not for distribution).
  7. De Vries, Henk J., Paul Wiegmann (2017). Impact of service standardization on service innovation. In: Richard Hawkins, Knut Blind & Robert Page (Eds) Handbook of Standards and Innovation. Cheltenham, UK / Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, pp. 187-211.
  8. Eom, Doyoung, Paul Moritz Wiegmann & Henk J. de Vries (2022). Measuring Societal Impact of Standards. Unpublished draft – not for distribution.
  9. Van Zanten, Jan Anton & Rob van Tulder (2021). Towards nexus-based governance: defining interactions between economic activities and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 28, 3, 1-18..


Students need to register for the minor at their home university and for each individual course through My Studymap Login | Universiteit Leiden


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal

  • For practical questions, contact the minor coordinator Jarno Revelman de Vries Mail: