Thesis subject

Enhance the impact of business innovation interventions

Do you still use a Nokia Cell Phone? Or a photo camera with film in it? Have you ever sent a fax message? It is quite likely that you have responded with 'no' on all three questions. Despite the fact that all these things were more or less standard less than 15 years ago. These examples stress the importance of business innovation. If you don’t change your business model while the world around you is changing, then you are not likely to stay in business. Or in the spirit of Darwin: 'It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.'

Within LEI, part of Wageningen UR, there is a bunch of ‘deviant’ people who joined forces in a group called the LEI Business Innovation Approach (LEI-BIA). This group has taken up the challenge to support farmers, horticultural growers and other parties in the food supply chain, in order to make their business models more explicit and to ‘seduce’ them to experiment with alternative business models.

So far we as a group have applied a learning-by-doing approach, by conducting various case studies in different sectors in the Netherlands and abroad. We now want to move to a higher level of learning by explicating our interventions and assessing its impact in the field.


Further development of LEI-BIA by explicating its interventions, assessing its impact in the field, and use this information to strengthen its learning process


  • Participation in a business innovation trajectory in practice
  • Explication of our Business Innovation Approach by desk study and by interviewing our group members and program manager
  • Identify indicators and develop a framework to monitor and evaluate the impact of LEI-BIA in practice
  • Make recommendations on how to strengthen the learning process of LEI-BIA

Experiences gained

  • Preparation of a proposal
  • Business modelling in practice
  • Developing a monitoring and evaluation program
  • Writing an MSc thesis (and if possible a conference paper)


Period: Negotiable
Duration of the research: A minimum of 3 months
Location: Mostly in Wageningen, partly in The Hague
Language requirements: For most of our case studies Dutch is the most convenient language, yet we also have international case studies in which English is required
Allowance: The monthly allowance for an internship is about 295 euro. Additional travel expenditures will be covered.