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Innovating Health and Well-being through Entrepreneurship


Admission requirements

This course is an (extracurricular) Master Honours Class aimed at talented Master’s students. Admission will be based on academic background, GPA and motivation.


The novel coronavirus, and the disease it causes (COVID-19), poses a major societal challenge. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical conditions like cardiovascular problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness and have a higher risk to die from the disease.

All over the world drastic measures are taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which lead to unparalleled effects on almost everything. Immediate effects of the measures are already very noticeable; in fact, our daily lives have been turned upside down. The coronavirus has plunged a large number of countries into a crisis; not only economically, but also socially.

The spread and the measures taken to prevent the spread have a significant effect on wellbeing. Children don’t see their classmates at school, co-workers can’t gossip at the coffee machine at work, students don’t have class or practicals, relatives can’t give a hug to their loved ones living in care homes, etcetera. Social distancing and the protection of older and vulnerable people have made it very difficult for people to have relevant social contact and experience social wellbeing.

Your task is to tackle urgent challenges within the domains of health and wellbeing, and related to the current crisis. You can define these challenges yourselves.

During the course, you will work in multidisciplinary teams of 4 students to develop a solution to your chosen COVID-19 related problem using an entrepreneurial mind-set and design thinking. The course will take you on an 8-week journey. At the end of the course, you will need to deliver a solution that benefits health and wellbeing.

To enable participants to achieve this, they receive inspirational lectures about, e.g., changes in healthcare, lifestyle and prevention, healthy living, and wellbeing, as well as workshops on creativity, innovation, business modelling, and value proposition. Uniquely, by the end of this course, participants will have gone through all phases of a real-world innovation trajectory and they will have acquired the necessary skills- and knowledge-set to start entrepreneurial activities in health care.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • have gained scientific insights about chronic disease, prevention and lifestyle interventions, and wellbeing in health care

  • have gathered basic understanding of the innovation cycle for need-driven ideation and what this means in the context of health care (design thinking)

  • have practiced the innovation cycle according to a design-thinking cycle

  • have experienced comprehensive learning on developing a user-centric, demand-driven idea, validated by co-creation and repetitive interviews

  • have gone through development and manufacture methods (rapid prototyping) for iterative prototyping

  • be able to prepare a basic sustainable business model using business methods (business model canvas, value proposition canvas) for sustainable and market driven business cases

  • have learned soft-skills (presenting, pitch training, leadership and management) to communicate with stakeholders, investors and business partners


This class will start with an introduction session on Monday, April 12th.
Lectures will take place on Thursdays from 19.30-20.30 hrs in weeks 15-23.
On Mondays from 17.00-18.00 hrs there will be a Q&A.


Online and, if possible, partly on campus in Leiden.


Each week you will engage in the following activities:

  • 1 Q&A/Lecture about that week's main topic (TBD)

  • 1 session with your coach to discuss progress (schedule with coach)

  • 1 team meeting before your coaching session (schedule with team)

  • Work on your challenge and solution (discussion with team)

  • Individual reading/watching and journaling (own time)

Course load

This course is worth 5 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

  • Lectures: 11.5 lectures of 1 hour (11.5)

  • Seminars: 4 seminars of 1.5 hours (6)

  • Excursion: 1 excursion of 4 hours (4) (under precondition)

  • Practical work: 10.5 hours (10.5)

  • Self-study/teamwork: 108 hours


See syllabus.

Brightspace and uSis

Brightspace will be used in this course.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Master Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Reading list

  • Drucker PF (2007). Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Practice and Principles.

  • Blank SG & Dorf B (2012). The startup owner's manual: the step-by-step guide for building a great company. Pescadero: K&S

  • Brown T (2008). Design thinking. Harvard Business Review, 86(6), 84-92.

  • Brow, T (2009). Change by design: how design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. New York: Harper

  • Coughlin JF (2010). Understanding the Janus face of technology and ageing: implications for older consumers, business and society. International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society, 8(2), 62-67.

  • Drucker PF (2007). Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Practice and Principles.

  • McCormack B, Borg M, Cardi S, Dewing J, Jacobs G, Janes N, Karlsson B, McCance T, Mekki TE, Porock D, van Lieshout F & Wilson V (2015). Person-centredness - the 'state' of the art. International Practice Development Journal, 5 (Suppl.1), 1-15.

  • Fox J. (2012). The economics of Wellbeing. Harvard Business Review, 1.

  • Huijg JM, van Delden AEQ, van der Ouderaa FJG, Westendorp RGJ, Slaets JPJ, Lindenberg J (2017). Being active, engaged, and healthy: older persons’ plans and wishes to age successfully. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences, 72, 228-236.

  • Martin R (2009). The design of business: why design thinking is the next competitive advantage. Boston Mass.: Harvard Business Press.

  • McDonagh D & Formosa D (2011). Design for everyone, one person at a time. In: Kohlbacher F & Herstatt C (2011). The Silver Market Phenomenon, 91-100.

  • Osterwalder A & Pigneur Y (2010). Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. Hoboken: Wiley.

  • Sanders EBN & Stappers PJ (2008). Co-creation and the new landscapes of design, CoDesign, 4(1), 5-18 .

Other literature will be announced in class or via Brightspace.


Enrolling in this course is possible from 1 up to and including 14 February through the Honours Academy. The registration link will be posted on the student website of the Honours Academy.


Jolanda Lindenberg, PhD