Join the Student Newsroom for “The Future of Urban Mobility in Switzerland” Campaign (D/E)

In partnership with Impact Hub Zürich and NZZ Campus, we seek for writers, filmmakers, social media experts and event managers to build a six-month media campaign newsroom on the “Future of Urban Mobility in Switzerland”

ZURICH, Switzerland – How does a well-resourced, democratic and environmentally conscious country like Switzerland address the “Future of Urban Mobility”? Its increasingly entrepreneurial culture and cutting-edge research institutions produce smart electric  solutions and research on green logistics and responsible mobility customer insights, to name a few.

In a 6-month-long campaign, our Campaign Newsroom will cover local stories like these, as well as analysis of European mobility trends in Switzerland and portraits of influential individuals and changemakers, create an engaged community with social media, and organize public events in this space. All over Switzerland, these Student Reporters will interview, record, survey, investigate and tell the stories that will turn into relevant context to inspire and illustrate to others to learn from Switzerland’s urban mobility solutions.

Some campaign highlights include opportunities to contribute to the NZZ Campus Magazine and Website, university magazines and international media outlets. In addition, opportunities to participate in industry events and organize our Campaign Events.

The Future of Urban Mobility Campaign is launched in partnership with Impact Hub Zürich and is supported by AXA Winterthur. Editorial choice of journalistic angles within the campaign topic is independent from partners and sponsors.

The campaign is run in both German and English.

Apply until December 10!

More information here.

Author image

oikos International

posted October 30, 2013

This might be for you.

Alumni Dinner in Paris

If you are in Paris on October 18th, don’t miss the opportunity to meet oikos Alumni and enjoy a very nice dinner!

Where: Café de l’industrie, 16 Rue Saint-Sabin

Time: 20:00

Métro : Bréguet Saint-Sabin (ligne 5) ou Bastille (lignes 1, 5 et 8).

More information:

Author image

oikos International

posted October 8, 2013

This might be for you.

oikos Newsletter October 2013

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  L.M. Montgomery’s words aptly capture how we feel about October as well. This is a month of reflections and anticipations as we take stock of our endeavors and prepare ourselves for upcoming events. 40 PhD and post-doctoral students as well as 9 faculty have participated in our three young scholars academies on development, economics and entrepreneurship. Our alumni met in Zurich and Warsaw. And the oikos Case Writing Competition was expanded with the addition of a new “Sustainable Finance” track. In the next few months, we bring to you many more opportunities to engage with oikos. Come join us at the FutureLab, the Alumni Debates, and the celebration of oikos Prague’s 15th anniversary, check out our Fashion Webinars, submit a case to the oikos Case Writing Competition, or become a Student Reporter.

Read more

Author image

oikos International

posted October 4, 2013

This might be for you.

Sustainable Energy for Europe

Engaging workshops, controversial debates, nuclear reactor sightseeing, cultural activities and, of course, loads of energy! This was the conference  “Sustainable Energy for Europe” that was held in Warsaw on 12-15th September 2013.

The aim of the conference was to gather passionate individuals to discuss the challenges of both Polish and the European energy sector in the perspective of EU climate policy. The participants of the meeting came from numerous chapters from Europe which has made the meeting an international, multicultural event, where different experiences, views and opinions could be shared.

The opening debate on Thursday, “European Energy Mix Today”, highlighted Europe’s import dependency and strong reliance on conventional energy sources, especially on coal, that may stand in its way towards achieving the reduction targets. Tomasz Chmal, Sobieski Institute, presented energy poverty and increasing energy prices as possible results of current EU climate policy.  In his opinion energy efficiency and effectiveness in conventional energy sector will be a chance for “bright future of coal in Europe”. Also Marcin Bodio, CEEP  concluded that affordable and stable energy price achieved thanks to investment in coal industry will be an engine for economic growth in Poland.  In comparison, Andrzej Ancygier, Hertie School of Governance, stated that the instability of energy market could be overcome thanks to proper European policy that creates incentives to develop renewable energy sources and makes the change towards sustainable development possible.

A clear proof that the shift towards sustainability is possible was visible during the Thursday’s Project Fair. While giving the elevator speeches on their projects, the participants had to compete for the audience attention to get to the final round. The Project Fair happened in “Strych na Wróble” (“The Attic for Sparrows”), that is on one hand a co-working place, on the other hand an atelier for all kind of artwork like photography or theatre.

The next morning of Warsaw conference was dedicated to the National Centre for Nuclear Research in Swierk. The visit was divided into two parts. The first one was a lecture devoted to the nuclear physics and energy, working of the reactor and research conducted by the Centre. The second and the most exciting part of our visit in Swierk was of course sightseeing of a nuclear reactor followed by passionate discussion on the future of nuclear energy.

oikos Warsaw organisers did their best to provide high quality vegetarian food. Lunches and dinners were prepared by “Vegavani”, a family business specialised in vegetarian catering. The owner’s passion for vegetarian cooking made the company be the oldest and most experienced company in the industry. The products were preservative-, colorant- and egg-free; they were chosen to take care of  health and good mood, so essential for integration.

During the third day of the conference, the participants continued discovering the topic of energy. The morning session was devoted to oncoming oikos Winter School followed by Yurii Moroz, representative of Society of Petroleum Engineers,  organisation serving managers, engineers, scientists worldwide in the segment of the oil industry. He was challenged by the question of finding common denominator between conventional and sustainable energy, which turned out to be a perfect introduction to the Saturday’s debate.

Session “Sustainable Energy”, was devoted to the challenges of the climate and energy policy. Daria Kulczycka, Conferation Lewiatan, speaking on behalf of energy producers, called for balancing political and business objectives: security, sustainability and competitiveness. In her opinion, only coherence of national policies combined with diversification of energy supply and smart development of technology instead of blind investment in smart grids based on subsidies is a recipe for economic growth and job creation in Europe. Continuing the topic of investments in energy sector, Kuba Gogolewski, BankWatch, attempted to define sustainable energy sources in light of investment decisions of international financial institutions. He argued that improvement of energy efficiency and increasing the share of renewable energy in European energy mix are indispensible to ensure that economic growth is combined with social equity. Also Beata Maciejewska, Green Institute, called for the equity and energy democracy. She discussed the role of consumers who thanks to energy transformation should evolve into prosumers.

The passion for making a difference appeared during workshops prepared by oikos members. The first case study on Saturday was prepared by oikos Paderborn and devoted to the turnaround in energy policy in Germany (“Energiewende”) with a special focus on the case of wind energy. After an excellent introduction to the topic led by chapter members, the participants were invited to work in groups and define a development strategy for the energy sector that will meet the goals both of business representatives and policy makers. Representatives of the teams were asked to take part in a fishbowl discussion about onshore and offshore wind farms. Team work continued during the second Saturday’s workshop, when oikos Vienna wanted students to critically assess Austrian Best and Worst Cases of Renewable Energy Production. After a presentation of astonishing investment ideas in the country’s energy sector, participants were divided into four groups. Three of them formed teams responsible for developing projects aimed at implementing sustainable solutions in hydroelectric plants whereas the fourth one established the Financial Committee that was to assess their applications for funding. The participants learned to distinguish key features that decide about successful implementation of such projects.

In the evening the participants were invited to a club in forgotten and mysterious district of Warsaw – Praga, where one can still see pre-war architecture. In the atmosphere of memories and history, oikos Warsaw was happy to greet a considerable group of Alumni that agreed to join the participants of the conference in the evening to talk about old good times.

Sunday started with a lesson on creativity and team work. Besides the roles of engineers and authorities, the participants also tried their luck in managing news and newspaper editing. During the workshop “Energy Sector: Hot & Controversial” oikos Prague inspired the students to search for information and create magazines bringing hot news of the energy sector.

During the closing debate, “European Energy Mix Tomorrow”, green energy postulate came back when Dariusz Szwed presented his vision of 100% renewable energy for Europe. In comparison, Andrzej Chmielewski, Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, depicted nuclear power as an only  chance for Europe to develop at the time of shrinking energy resources. Both ideas were confronted by Miroslaw Duda,  the Energy Market Agency. He discussed technological obstacles in Polish power grid that limit possibilities to quick changes of the coal based infrastructure in the power industry and ensure security of supply based on renewable or nuclear power.

Energy is a sector which has a huge impact on the economy, the environment and the whole society. We were focused on EU climate policy, CO2 emissions and sustainable energy mix. The speakers have shown many sides and different views of conventional, nuclear and renewable energy. The participants prepared fantastic workshops which pictured not only the energy sector of their countries.  The topic was approached in many ways and from different perspectives, which has shown how multidimensional and complicated the energy sector is. Nevertheless, not only presentations made the partakers interact with each other. The project fair, the theatre performance workshop or the nuclear reactor trip created a pleasant atmosphere of creativity and openness. “Sustainable Energy for Europe” was a combination of knowledge and entertainment; it was an opportunity to share previous experiences, make new memories and plan the forthcoming future at the same time.

We strongly believe that in the future voices of the passionate individuals calling for sustainable energy will be as loud as the exclamation “three, two, one… oikos!” that filled the Aula at the closing of the Sustainable energy for Europe conference.

Dominika Czyz, Marta Dajcz, Aleksandra Kask,
oikos Warsaw.

Author image

oikos International

posted October 2, 2013

This might be for you.

Reflecting on Hybrid Ventures in the Swiss Alps

By Guillermo Casasnovas, PhD Candidate, University of Oxford and Bogdan Prokopovych, Assistant Professor, University of Rhode Island.

Hybrid ventures are organizations that combine conflicting goals and missions, adopt contradictory practices, and are often guided by incongruous values. Hybrids are all around us.  They are micro-finance organizations that promote economic development of underserved communities, public universities that seek to commercialize science, or staffing agencies hiring people with disabilities.  These organizations bridge two worlds by combining logics of family and commerce, economic development and market, profession and business.

DSCF3981During the last week of August 2013, the oikos Young Scholars Entrepreneurship Academy brought together 12 young scholars who study hybrid organizations in the picturesque village of Filzbach in the Swiss Alps.  Most of us landed in Zurich after several hours on a plane, got on a train heading southwest, and then rode a bus that took us up the hill to our hotel. If you have an image in your mind of what a village in the Swiss Alps should look like – high mountains, beautiful lakes, a lot of green, and some houses and cows here and there – that was definitely it.  The organizers’ choice of venue suited the purpose of the academy well; besides being a successful commercial venture, Hotel Lihn is a hybrid: it has been training and employing individuals at risk of exclusion.

The scenery was spectacular and fit for fruitful reflections; the faculty leading the workshop were engaged and thought-provoking.  Claus Jacobs and Florian Ueberbacher, from the University of St. Gallen, were the perfect hosts.  They arranged a well-balanced program and created a pleasant environment for thoughtful and critical discussions.  Filipe Santos, from INSEAD, offered his experience as a renowned organizational scholar, as well as his theoretical approach to social entrepreneurship and his grounded knowledge about the challenges faced by hybrid ventures.  Anne-Claire Pache of ESSEC, a leading expert on hybrid organizations, shared her findings about Work-Integration Social Enterprises in France and her journey to transform rich empirical data into top-journal publications.

DSCF3896DSCF3764Academy participants’ research projects represented a variety of methods and empirical approaches to studying hybrid organizations.  Their papers and research projects ranged from collective action to social investment, from legitimacy to corporate social entrepreneurship, and from social venture archetypes to field-level development. Whether the context was Indian microfinance, American shellfish, venture philanthropy funds, or accessible housing in the UK, the common trait was to understand how and in what contexts hybrid organizations can succeed.

DSCF3828The seminar pushed us to think out-of-the-box and to go beyond definitions of what is and what is not a social enterprise or a hybrid venture.  Instead, we looked at field, organizational, and individual-level features and mechanisms that help explain the characteristics of these organizations, the specific challenges they face, and their role in society.  We also had a chance to test our scholarly knowledge on real-world examples by spending half a day at The HUB in Zurich. At this incubator space for social entrepreneurs, we learned about strategic decisions and challenges faced by organizations working on issues such as wild bees and social awareness.  We offered our help by recommending specific paths of action.  Finally, chats over coffee, hikes through the beautiful Alps, and a boat trip on the Wallensee provided ample opportunities to get to know each other on a personal level and forge long-lasting relationships.

Author image

oikos International

posted October 1, 2013

This might be for you.