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Innovation, Co-Creation and Global Impact

In an increasingly interconnected world, young minds can act on innovation much faster than before. Discover your potential to develop meaningful ideas with global impact.

This minor teaches you how to turn your ideas into reality. In this minor you will develop scientific knowledge across different disciplines, focus on the development of skills and build confidence by getting things done. In a team of students with different backgrounds, you will search for new, untested ideas, and develop an initiative that has impact on society. Your team is challenged to develop a business plan and to set up a crowd-funding campaign. With that funding you will design your own experiment to test the assumptions underpinning your idea. Finally you will learn how to scale your start-up to a global level.

his minor from the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs aims to educate, coach and train a new breed of entrepreneurial thinkers We encourage students to go beyond what is considered ‘routine’ today. Hence, during the minor you will develop an entrepreneurial skills set and attitude and learn how to apply academic knowledge in practice. You will be coached by a mentor working in practice; we are proud to announce that amongst others Siemens, Bird&Bird, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Municipality of The Hague and the FMO Development Bank are contributing to this minor.

The after-movie of the final presentations of last year’s minor can be found here:


Sjoerd Louwaars


Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Block 1

Complex Societal Challenges 5
Creating a Start-up 1 5
Entrepreneurship and Innovation 5

Block 2

Skillslab - Professional and personal development 5
Scaling for Global Impact 5
Creating a Start-up 2 5


You can register for this minor in Usis, code: 6000MICGN. It is not possible to follow only one course, as the minor is a consistent package of courses designed to help you build your knowledge in a logical and connected order.

Exceptions are made for students who have to choose electives of 15 ECTS. In this case, students have to register for the individual courses – Complex societal challenges, Entrepreneurship and innovation, Create a start-up 1 (15 ECTS) which take place in the first quarter of the first semester, the Usis codes will be announced shortly.

More information on the minor and its specific courses will be available in the e-guide from May 1 onwards. If you have questions, please contact Sjoerd Louwaars at


  1. Kick-off Day at 2 September During this day teachers will explain their courses, and – more exiting – we will kick start the minor with a key note of Willem te Beest, Executive Board of Leiden University and a panel discussion with expert entrepreneurs from the public and private sector.

  2. Crowd-fund your project In the first ten weeks you will develop a plan and a budget, you will also learn how to apply creative problem solving skills. Additionally, you will follow lectures on research methods and data collection – this is the academic embedding of your action research project. You will set up a crowd funding initiative, and find seed investments to execute your project.

  3. Academic and business coaches During the programme, your team will be coached by an academic and business coach. The business coaches work at Siemens, Bird&Bird, Nationale Nederlanden, Municipality of The Hague and the FMO Development Bank, they will help you to translate your academic knowledge into practical applications.

  4. In depth knowledge and experience Prof Zwijnenberg (Life Sciences), Dr. Ulrich Mans (Information Technology) and Prof Griffiths (Social Integration) are excited to help you to execute your project and make a difference in society! You can choose to take up challenges that they propose, or you can come up with your own “wildcard” project.

  5. Summit at 27 January At the grand finale, you will present your idea that your team has developed with like-minded entrepreneurs, policymakers and business people. After ten weeks putting your plan into action, you will present it to a jury. Willem te Beest (Executive Board Leiden University), Martijn Aslander (Inspirational speaker), Bas van Abel (Fairphone) will be part of the Jury.

Target group

We aim at students who are passionate about solving societal challenges and problems. The course encourages students to think about the financial aspects of potential solutions as well. Students will be guided to test their ideas and critically assess the underlying business models. The following common features describe our target group:

  • Societal conscious: you have a vision to solve social challenges or problems in the community;

  • Entrepreneurial spirit: you are open minded with a flexible and proactive attitude;

  • Process orientation: you are searching for inclusive change through incremental thinking;

  • Value-driven: you have a wish to contribute to financial, ecological and social sustainability;

We are looking for a high diversity of interests and backgrounds, in order to have strong cross-disciplinary teams with higher and more effective innovation capacity!

Mode of Instruction

The programme includes three modes of instruction, we distinguish so-called Theorylab, Thinklab and Actionlab components –each part is built on a combination of all three ‘labs’. The Theorylab focuses on the scientific academic underpinnings. Thinklab sessions offer insights on how to link theory to practice: in the context of finding workable solutions to societal challenges. During the Actionlab students design, develop, deliver and evaluate a prototype intervention and are coached in agile team work .

  • Theorylab
    Theory is mostly transferred on an individual level through readings, podcasts, film, etc. . In addition, blended learning opportunities are exploited. A small selection of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs, see below) are also part of the Theorylab.

  • Thinklab
    Consists of interactive workshop sessions with an academic and/ or practitioner. Students are stimulated in a group setting to deepen their understanding of the theory asdiscussed in the Theorylab. These sessions provide local case studiespresented by (guest) lecturers from academia and practice.

  • Actionlab
    This mode of instruction evolves around simulations, case study and real life exercises. In teams, students embark on a quest learning experience. Each will identify a societal challenge. During the entire course period students will analyse and create a prototype, validate initial assumptions and finally present a concrete initiative.