Nancy Bocken

Nancy Bocken
Maastricht University | UM · School of Business and Economics

PhD, MSc

About

163
Publications
345,779
Reads
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17,768
Citations
Citations since 2016
134 Research Items
17201 Citations
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Introduction
Professor in Sustainable Business at Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI). Recent areas of focus include: circular and sustainable business models; experimentation to close the 'idea-action gap' for sustainability and circular economy, and sufficiency oriented business approaches to slow consumption and resource usage. My recent 5-year European Research Council (ERC) project CIRCULAR X investigates experimentation with new circular business models.
Additional affiliations
March 2020 - March 2020
Maastricht University
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • Professor in Sustainable Business at Maastricht University, Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI; which is part of the School of Business & Economics)
September 2017 - February 2020
Lund University
Position
  • Professor
February 2014 - March 2020
Delft University of Technology
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Education
October 2008 - September 2011
University of Cambridge
Field of study
  • Department of Engineering - Focus on Radical Eco-innovation - Funded by Unilever

Publications

Publications (163)
Article
Full-text available
Sustainable business model innovation (SBMI) in large multinational corporations is increasingly perceived as a key driver for competitive advantage and corporate sustainability. While the SBMI literature acknowledges that corporations require dynamic capabilities to innovate their business model for sustainability, the role of organization design...
Article
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Lean Startup has been impacting how startups and incumbents innovate their business models. However, academic understanding of Lean Startup and the associated experimentation process is only emerging. Recent academic critique of Lean Startup by Felin and colleagues (in press) highlights the inadequate guidance provided for hypotheses generation; li...
Article
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Business model experimentation has been identified as a key driver for business competitiveness but is underexplored in the sustainability and circular economy spheres. What is business model experimentation for the circular economy? This study follows a two-step approach: a literature analysis followed by a qualitative practitioner study. Based on...
Article
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The impact of business model innovation (BMI) on business ecosystems, society, and planet is of growing theoretical and practical importance for strategic management. Increasing sustainability pressures warrant a better understanding of the impact of companies’ BMI through a more comprehensive analysis of innovation and its consequences. We discuss...
Article
Purpose To meet their ambitious targets for a circular economy, multinationals need to speed up their innovation efforts. This requires experimentation capability. But it is not clear what this capability entails, and how companies can build it. The purpose of this paper is to give companies guidance on how they might develop experimentation capabi...
Article
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Consumer-facing corporations have started setting ambitious circular economy goals. However, it is unclear what innovators in corporations do to help meet these targets. The literature on circular business model innovation (CBMI) has focused on business-to-business contexts, efficiency, and recycling, but lacks insight into the innovation activitie...
Article
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Sustainable business model innovation cannot reach its full sustainability potential if it neglects the importance of multi-stakeholder alignment. Several studies emphasize the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration to enable sustainable business model innovation, but few studies offer guidance to companies for engaging in such a collaborative pr...
Article
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The circular economy has become a popular paradigm in the business and policy spheres. It can support sustainable development by aiming to safeguard the resources to mitigate negative impacts on the climate and the environment and to sustain our current and future generations. Yet, despite progress with circular economy initiatives, there is a risk...
Article
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Business model innovation is increasingly seen as a key competitive factor in B2B settings. In this context, prototyping, experimentation, and piloting have gained prominence as agile and resourceful methods that can be employed in business model innovation pursuits. Yet, despite increasing interest in this area, and the growing number of large B2B...
Article
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Companies experiment with new circular service business models (CSBMs) to respond to environmental and competitive pressures. CSBMs help companies to conserve and reuse products and materials over time while providing unique customer service. Companies typically launch a business model in one country and then roll it out to others. This comes with...
Article
Circular thinking is a great potential for business development. How can companies implement circular business models? Examples of diverse models show how they can promote sufficiency to customers.
Article
Article published in Stanford Social innovation Review: Corporations can achieve greater environmental and financial performance by developing circular business models that apply the right practical strategies. To transition to the circular economy, corporations need to adopt a more holistic approach that includes the four circular business model...
Article
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Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) are products that have a short useful lifetime and are typically designed for single or limited uses followed by disposal. The disposable nature of FMCGs combined with ineffective waste recovery systems is causing global environmental problems. Various reusable packaging business models have emerged to tackle thes...
Book
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Businesses are striving for infinite growth but operate in a world with finite resources. Unsustainable linear business models lead to products that cannot easily be upgraded or recycled and are thrown away after a limited number of uses. This has led to numerous environmental and social issues, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and waste....
Article
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Purpose: How does a small business engage in boundary work to innovate its business model towards sustainability? We employ a boundary work lens to trace the endeavors of a small company to explore, negotiate and (re)align organizational boundaries in its multi-stakeholder network around new, sustainable value propositions. Design/Methodology/Appro...
Article
Given the gaps between EU ambitions regarding energy community development and the current reality of clean energy communities in Europe, we explore a research framework enabling viable multi- and interdisciplinary research into new clean energy communities. We offer a definition of new clean energy communities, discuss their potential for wider di...
Chapter
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Dominant unsustainable consumption patterns in developed countries have led to increasing climate and biodiversity issues. Through consumption-based accounting, at least 70% of the environmental footprint (carbon emissions, blue water extraction, resource use, land use) can be attributed to food, housing, the use of appliances and transport. Total...
Article
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Access-based product-service systems (AB-PSS) are business models that can potentially decouple the satisfaction of consumer needs from environmental impacts. Hence, they have been promoted for the circular economy. Their sustainability potential has not yet been realised because consumer adoption is lagging. Although this challenge has been studie...
Article
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Many companies have innovated their business models in their attempts to transition towards a circular economy. However, the label ‘circular’ does not necessarily mean better for the environment. How do companies measure the environmental performance of their business models? And as they alter them for a circular economy, how do they forecast the p...
Article
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The breaching of planetary boundaries and excessive extraction of natural resources requires a revisited approach to consumption and production. The concept of sufficiency, which advocates meeting human needs within the planetary limits by curbing excessive consumption levels, is gaining increasing attention. Businesses are drivers of consumption,...
Chapter
Full-text available
The circular economy has become a prominent core concept to drive sustainability transitions in business. However, there is still significant uncertainty associated with the implementation and impacts of the circular economy. Experimentation with circular business models is needed to understand which propositions work in practice and what the impac...
Article
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Digital technologies are considered to be an essential enabler of the circular economy in various industries. However, to date, very few studies have investigated which digital technologies could enable the circular economy in the built environment. This study specifically focuses on the built environment as one of the largest, most energy- and mat...
Article
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A growing interest in the circular economy concept has pushed the discourse in various management-related disciplines beyond established boundaries, with calls to better address how such a model may be developed in a world of global value chains. Still, the conventional linear economy model continues to dominate business, society, and research. Whi...
Article
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Academic and business interest in sustainable business models (SBMs) as a potential solution to pressing global sustainability issues has grown significantly over the past decade. Yet, to date sectoral progress on business model innovation has been insufficient to address much of the social and environmental harm caused by, or facilitated by indust...
Article
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Business models direct a firm’s activity to move in coherence with the objectives of the business. Current literature suggests business models can act as vital forces to facilitate sustainability transitions and highlights the urgent research call to understand the role of business model innovations in stimulating sustainability transitions. This p...
Chapter
Full-text available
The circular economy has become a prominent core concept to drive sustainability transitions in business. However, there is still significant uncertainty associated with the implementation and impacts of the circular economy. Experimentation with circular business models is needed to understand which propositions work in practice and what the impac...
Chapter
Full-text available
The current linear economy focuses on a 'take-make-use-dispose' paradigm, prioritizing 'volume-over-value'. Significant planning and experimentation are needed to understand how to develop new business models that are not only 'circular', but also desirable for people, technically feasible and financially viable. More insight is needed into the pra...
Article
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Purpose Circular business models can improve resource use in a financially and environmentally feasible way. However, companies struggle to choose among the vast variety of ways to achieve circularity within a business model. The purpose of this paper is to offer a pragmatic guide for making strategic decisions on circular business models. Design/...
Article
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The urban context is an experimentation space to accelerate the transition to a circular economy [...]
Article
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Circular oriented innovation aims to address sustainability problems such as resource scarcity, pollution and climate change by (re)designing industrial products, processes, business models, and value network configurations. Although the literature identifies collaboration as crucial for circular oriented innovation—due to the complexity, risk and...
Research
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"Circularity as the new normal" covers the basics of 'what is the circular economy?', the key resource strategies of slowing closing, narrowing and regenerating the loop; the European and Swiss context, as well as sector deep-dives. It also discusses the key circular economy challenges such as the rebound effect and the limits to recycling, and pot...
Article
Value creation and appropriation are much-studied processes in business and management fields. However, both academia and business practice have traditionally focused on how value is created and appropriated in the economic context and by economic actors. This overemphasis on economic logic has created institutionalized asymmetries in managing the...
Chapter
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Conference Paper
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Access-based product-service systems are frequently suggested as innovative business models that could enable sustainable consumption, by allowing consumers to access products' functionalities without purchasing the products. This can reduce the number of idle products and incentivise the providing organisation to extend product lifetimes through m...
Article
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Circular economy (CE) and sharing economy (SE) are much discussed concepts but potential links between them have not been examined systematically so far. The concepts’ popularity coupled with a lack of definitional consensus may hinder their potential to advance sustainability transitions. Hence, the first comparative bibliometric study of these tw...
Article
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Circular oriented innovation commonly requires collaboration. Yet, to date, circular research lacks empirical investigation into collaborative processes. Collaborative processes are, however, highly researched within strategic management literature, thus offering valuable insights. The purpose of this paper is to investigate, identify and order the...
Article
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Natural resource and climate change pressures are becoming increasingly urgent and businesses need to adapt their way of generating social, environmental and economic value, i.e. generating sustainable value (Epstein, 2018). This necessitates a clear focus on developing new technologies, products, services and business models that contribute to sus...
Article
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Access-based product-service systems (AB-PSS) allow consumers to use products for a fee and might support the transition towards a circular economy. This type of business model could decrease negative impacts of consumption by reducing the number of products needed; either by extending products’ lifetimes or by intensifying the use of products. Man...
Article
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Companies attempt to address global sustainability challenges through innovating products, services, and business models. This paper focuses on sustainable business model (SBM) innovations as a way to systemically transform businesses towards sustainability. It has been widely recognized that strategic approaches to using intellectual property (IP)...
Chapter
Nancy Bocken is Professor in Sustainable Business at Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI), Maastricht School of Business and Economics, at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. She is also Visiting Professor at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University, LUT University Finland and Delft Univ...
Article
This paper explores firm level perspectives for sustainability transitions by analysing the activity system of a firm from the transition management lens. While sustainable business model studies provide useful inputs for firms’ sustainability actions, their role in contributing to sustainability transitions over decadal time scales remains largely...
Article
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Circular business model experiments may help firms transition towards a circular economy. Little is known about how the participants of experimentation – entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, innovation managers – develop and test their assumptions during the experimentation process to achieve more circular outcomes. Using a design-science approach, we inv...
Article
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The intensification of industrial activity within an unsustainable development paradigm caused an alarming environmental crisis intertwined with societal problems on a global scale. Sustainable design theory contains an extensive body of knowledge on how these environmental and societal issues can be addressed by rethinking industrial products, pro...
Article
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Next to the redesign of industrial products and processes, sustainable business model innovation is a strategic approach to integrate environmental and social concerns into the objectives and operations of organizations. One of the major challenges of this approach is that many promising business model ideas fail to reach the market, which is neede...
Article
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A circular economy maximizes the value of material resources and minimizes greenhouse gas emissions, resource use, waste and pollution. We will posit that circularity needs to be understood as a property of a system (e.g., the mobility system of a city), rather than a property of an individual product or service (e.g., a car or a car-sharing servic...
Article
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Adopting a voluntary simplicity lifestyle (VSL) contributes to a change in consumption patterns towards more sustainable ones, which is urgently needed. This study defines the VSL as a voluntary reduction of income and consumption in exchange for more free time. Our research aims to contribute with more detailed VSL criteria. A literature review de...
Article
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Industrial symbiosis (IS) is a key paradigm for achieving circular economy among industrial firms. Achieving new IS projects often requires outside facilitation, and intermediaries can help solidify and expand existing IS networks. While various intermediary roles have been identified in the literature, less attention has been paid to the potential...
Article
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Collaborative innovation is necessary to explore and implement circular economy strategies. Yet, empirical investigations into such collaborations are scarce. It is unclear whether the circular context creates differences or represents adaptions within how collaborative innovation is conducted. We draw upon strategic management and open innovation...
Article
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The sharing economy has become prominent in the policy, business and academic discourse as a way to achieve greater levels of resource efficiency in sustainability transitions. An example is carsharing, which is regarded as a potential lever for change in sustainable mobility transitions. In this article we, apply the “ecologies of business models”...
Chapter
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Die Produktlebenszeiten vieler Produktkategorien, von der Haushaltsgeräteindustrie bis hin zur Elektronik und Bekleidung, haben sich im Laufe der Zeit verringert. Neue zirkuläre Geschäftsmodelle müssen Strategien zur Verlangsamung, Schließung und Verengung von Ressourcenkreisläufen beinhalten und gleichzeitig ein besseres Leistungsversprechen als d...
Article
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Food is an essential part of our daily lives, but simultaneously, it is a major contributor to environmental issues. The growing world population and changing diets are expected to further exacerbate the negative impact of food production and consumption. This article explores how sufficiency business strategies, focused on moderating consumption l...
Article
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The circular economy may help firms to maximize the value of their material resources and minimize the overall resource use, waste, pollution and emissions of their business activities. Implementing a circular economy program requires radical changes in product, business model and ecosystem innovation. Most research on circular oriented innovation...
Article
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Cities have for a long time been key actors in sustainable urban development, and in recent times, also for the sharing economy, as they provide a fertile breeding ground for various sharing initiatives. While some of these initiatives build on existing practices and infrastructures such as public libraries and repair workshops, others require the...
Article
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Faced with mounting challenges and pressure from governments, NGOs, investors, and employees to be more aware of the environmental and social impacts of business activities, many companies are attempting to tap into the creativity and entrepreneurial potential of their employees, encouraging them to develop new products, services, or business model...
Conference Paper
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Introduction Concerns about the societal and environmental impact of how companies operate have generated increasing interest in more sustainable ways of doing business (Porter & Kramer, 2011). Research and practice from the past decade show that a Sustainable Business Model Innovation lens is suitable to embed sustainability into firms’ objectives...
Article
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Design for Sustainable Development refers to the application of a design process to solve a problem related to sustainability, such as creating a pair of shoes that can be recycled or managing waste collection in a large city. Since the origins of this concept in the 1960s, Design for Sustainable Development has been evolving, gradually broadening...
Conference Paper
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Solar photovoltaics (PV) has experienced tremendous market growth and has large potential in the urgently needed transition towards a low-carbon energy system. The continued growth of the sector will, however, evoke new sustainability challenges with regard to efficient material use as well as end-of life management of PV products. The aim of this...
Chapter
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Business model innovation for a circular economy has become core to contemporary sustainability research and practice, but does it go far enough? While circular economy initiatives have closed and narrowed resource loops to some extent, overall consumption continues to rise offsetting much of the benefits. A further paradigm shift is necessary, goi...
Article
Paper presented at Academy of Management but currently under review.
Conference Paper
Climate change, a grand challenge of our time is threatening to be a runaway problem. Solutions for climate change would require coupling of technological and social innovation. Such coupling can be enabled by open innovation for unlocking new frontiers of climate solutions. In this symposium we will discuss how open innovation may usher a new para...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Design for Sustainable Development refers to the application of a design process to solve a problem related to sustainability, such as creating a pair of shoes that can be recycled or managing waste collection in a large city. Since the origins of this concept in the 1960s, Design for Sustainable Development has been evolving, gradually broadening...
Chapter
This chapter introduces the concept of Sustainable Business Models. It starts with a brief overview on the concept of business models more generally, followed by explaining business models for sustainability, or synonymously, sustainable business models. This is followed by the linkages between the sustainable business model concept and the Sustain...
Chapter
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Business model innovation for sustainability offers responsible managers a practice that enables the (re-)consideration of how they care for and deliver value to stakeholder constituents, and deliver positive solutions to key sustainability challenges such as climate change, biodiversity and poverty. In this chapter we seek to provide an overview o...