Our theory of change

shifting the iceberg

The iceberg model is a framework to understand systemic change – and it can also show how our initiatives contribute to a transformation in the world out there. oikos has a history of diving deep & touching people at the level of beliefs and values – and fueled by this, initiating truly transformative change in the re-design of system structures like the curriculum.

Our work at oikos International is focused on supporting and tending our change agent community for exactly these reasons.
We empower and encourage student change agents in their development and actively co-facilitate shifts in the way curricula are structured and developed, while fostering a strong support network that enables all of this.

How do we want to live, lead and learn together for a thriving, sustainable tomorrow?

A LEAP for a new era of leadership

Our leadership initiatives equip students & their allies with what they need to facilitate change in their local environment. LEAP equips participants with knowledge, tools, capacities, and the mindset to become conscious, collaborative leaders who move society towards sustainability and the well-being of people and planet.

Change happens where we are – in our universities

To support youth in becoming sustainability leaders, education has to enable students to have a better understanding of themselves, their fellow humans and the world. The curriculum as a tangible structure is a good place to start removing obstacles and designing more human-centred, sustainable spaces.

Together we get further

Our community makes us stronger! Together with youth from across the globe, we foster a vivid, intercultural support network. Learn more about the spaces where we host each other & how we accompany the journeys of our local groups, the oikos Chapters.


LEAP Youth is our leadership development initiative that inspires youth to become more responsible and sustainable in their decision making. Over a 9 month journey, participants dive into the most daring questions in life – Who am I? What is my purpose? What impact do I want to have on people and the planet? Together, they develop skills & capacities to become positive change agents in their communities and our world.

LEAP Researchers

We invite Early Career Researchers from inside or outside the oikos community for a 9-month program that focuses on participants’ personal development and capacity building, alongside providing support in the field of research & teaching. Together, the group shapes a perspective on transforming education and prepares to face the challenges in their institutions, as allies to our students. Learn more here.


The LEAP Life is our self-organized platform for life-long learning around leadership. It is coordinated & initiated by our LEAP alumni: Everyone contributes with a diversity of formats, participation and feedforward. A true playground to continue supporting each other in our personal development.

LEAP Tools

Create your own self-paced leadership journey that is adapted to your needs! We made all of our resources available for our chapters & partners. Learn more here.

oikos Camp

oikos camp is an on-site gathering for teams working on projects related to sustainability in economics and business education. At Camp, teams have a chance to develop their skills and focus on their projects, while getting inspired by their peers and making use of the cross-pollination of ideas.

oikos Academy

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more soon

Curriculum Change Squad

The CC Squad is a monthly online gathering for chapter members and other students working on curriculum change at the local level. They share experiences, ideas, and resources. Our conversations alternate between theoretical (Doughnut Economics, Degrowth, etc) and methodological/strategic topics (how to do a student survey, how to encourage participation online, etc).

Positive Impact Rating

The Positive Impact Rating (PIR) is a business school rating conducted by students and for students. Students coordinate a rating survey that asks students 20 questions in seven relevant impact dimensions. oikos chapters actively use the tool in their work on campus.

International Chapter Conference

The International Chapter Conference is an annual on-site conference, hosted and developed by one or a small group of local chapters. oikos International supports the chapter team and contributes to the program with community-building activities that help the participants to connect and get inspired for the opportunities within the network

Chapter Pathways

Our chapters are accompanied on their journey through the semester, both by their fellow chapters and oikos International. Chapter Pathways enables us to accompany each chapter individually, yet together through a core journey (semester kick-off, regional calls, semester reflections), 1-on-1 check-ins and the possibility to get a chapter coach.

oikos Squads

Our Squads are the perfect opportunity to connect with other international students and start a conversation, project, or any other format in the fields you are interested in. Squads are self-organized and can use other oikos International platforms to come together (eg. oikos Camp)

Leading in Complexity

Change-oriented leadership is relational, non-hierarchical and contextual with an ecocentric perspective (Goffee and Jones 2009). It was found to be essential to develop creative, construc-tive solutions to our complex organizational and societal issues (Senge 2015, Bendell et al. 2017). There is a need to foster this kind of leadership to guide society in addressing the sustainability challenge and recover the health of our planet (Koskela and Goldman Schuyler 2016). Through our own leadership, our programs and local initiatives, we foster this kind of leadership with oikees all over the globe. The collective experiences hold the community together – for over 30 years.

What are student change agents and why do we want to support them ?

The common definition of change agents or sustainability leaders (used interchangeably) aligns with our own understanding: They are ‘’people who through their own initiative […] engage in complex societal issues with an aspiration to contribute to systemic change on some scale level: in local communities, regions, countries, the global society” (Jordan 2011, 48). The value-based actions of our students follow the aim of collaboratively fostering visions and taking action towards sustainability and resilience. oikos creates spaces for people to step into this way of seeing the world and put it into practice. We nurture the leaders of tomorrow.