Masterclass Societal Transitions

21 May, 2019 - 13 Sep, 2019


You have missed the 2019 edition of Societal Transitions. Are you interested in taking part in 2020? Please leave your contact details here


Do you strive for societal change, but are you looking for knowledge and strategies to increase your understanding and impact? Join us this spring for the fourth edition of Societal Transitions: a 5-day masterclass in transition governance and transformative entrepreneurship that inspires you to drive systemic change.

Step back from your daily routines to connect with other motivated change agents. Increase your understanding of transition dynamics and the role of transformative innovation and gain a fresh perspective on your role and your work.

The Masterclass Societal Transitions, designed by Impact Hub Amsterdam and DRIFT Transition Academy, combines a critical and theoretical perspective on sustainability transitions, social innovation and entrepreneurship, with conceptual and pragmatic insights from transition management and entrepreneurial practice. We will also pay explicit attention to issues of power and empowerment. You will be taught by entrepreneurs, policymakers and researchers leading the transition to a better world, including Derk Loorbach – DRIFT, Erasmus University Rotterdam | Marjan Minnesma – Urgenda | Flor Avelino – DRIFT | Tatiana Glad – Impact Hub.

The Masterclass consists of five thematic modules, spread out over 5 days and 1 evening. In these modules you will learn to:

  • Apply system thinking
  • Analyze transition dynamics in your field
  • Identify relevant actors and power relations
  • Recognize societal trends and movements
  • Design a transition intervention
  • Construct your own transition narrative



A growing community of researchers and practitioners argue that our societal challenges ask for sustainability transitions: processes of fundamental transformation towards more sustainable and resilient societies. Across society, we observe how community initiatives, activists, entrepreneurs and policy-makers are working on innovative solutions to tackle societal challenges and enable societal transformation
But how do innovations contribute to systemic change? Under which conditions can innovation drive transitions towards more sustainable, just and fair societies? Howare innovations cultivated, empowered andscaled? What can we learn when we combine the insights of researchers and experienced social entrepreneurs, policy entrepreneurs and change makers, to set and encourage the change agenda within our own projects and organizations?
The Masterclass Societal Transitions provides the setting and tools to answer these questions by combining state-of-the-art research with deep critical reflection and applied action learning. We provide a diversity of perspectives to enable you to discover what fits you and your goals and to construct you own transition narrative.

For who?
The Masterclass is designed for a diverse combination of sustainability professionals, social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, researchers, policy- & decision-makers, civil servants and other changemakers. You represent a variety of contexts but share a strong commitment to being in a learning trajectory that combines intellectual input with active participation.
Participants of previous additions were active in the fields such as health care, design & communication, the cacao sector, community led change, transport, water and sanitation, higher education, funding and social justice.

The programme involves a series of interactive lectures, discussions and participatory methods. We encourage participants to apply concepts and insights in their own context and case work through feedback and relevant readings. For a detailed program, please see the brochure.

Introduction Webinar: 17th April 2019, 13.30 – 15.00 CET

Day 1 Tuesday May 21st, 9.00 – 17.30

  • Welcome & setting the scene with participant’s learning questions
  • Introduction lecture “Transition Theory and Transformative Social Innovation ”, with Flor Avelino
  • Action: Fieldtrip to local change initiative Refugee Company and working session with Fleur Bakker (founder & director of Refugee Company
  • Working session: applying transition theory to real life case.

Day 2 Wednesday May 22nd, 9.00 – 21.00

  • Interactive lecture: “Transition Governance & Change Dynamics”, with prof. dr. Derk Loorbach
  • Working session: X-curve exercise on transition dynamics & intervention opportunities
  • Interactive session: “Translocal Social Movements and Alternative Economies”, with Flor Avelino
  • Power in transition dynamics: an interactive experience, with Luc Opdebeeck, Formaat
  • Dinner & Provocation: Documentary + Discussion “How to Fix the World and Make Money” with Linda Vermaat and Erik Loots, TwentieFour

Day 3 Thursday May 23rd, 9.00 – 17.30)

  • Interactive lecture: “Power and Empowerment in Transition”, with Flor Avelino
  • Working session: Identifying Personal Power and Empowerment Potentials
  • Interactive lecture: “Entrepreneurship and Societal Transition” with Tatiana Glad
  • Working session: Critical dialogues on governance and entrepreneurship

Day 4 Friday May 24th, 9.00 – 17.30

  • Interactive Lecture: “Accelerating a Circular Economy: stories and learnings from practice”, Chris Monaghan, Metabolic
  • Deep Dive: applying learnings to your own work & peer-2-peer exchange
  • Synthesis & moving forward: harvesting and integrating learnings and key insights
  • Working session: Preparing learning case work in real-life contexts

Day 5 Sept 13nd, 9.00 – 17.00 + drinks until +/-18

  • Sharing and peer review of learning cases
  • Feedback & feedforward into a personal transition strategy
  • Interactive Lecture Transitions in Action, with Marjan Minnesma, director Urgenda
  • Public Talk & Drinks: Daring Strategies to Accelerate Societal Change, with Marjan Minnesma, director Urgenda.

Teaching team
The Masterclass Societal Transitions is taught by both academics and practitioners, all experts in a variety of fields, from sustainability to social entrepreneurship and transitions. The course is guided by Dr. Flor Avelino (DRIFT) and Tatiana Glad (Impact Hub). A digital reading package and learning case assignment is used during the course. Participants who complete the course will be granted a certificate from DRIFT’s Transition Academy, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
€2,741 (ex. BTW)  incl. lunches & 1 dinner
It is no longer possible to register for the 2019 edition. Are you interested in taking part in 2020? Please leave your contact details here

Are you interested in participating in the Masterclass Societal Transitions, but are the participation costs an uncrossable barrier for you? We believe that diversity is a crucial aspect for societal transitions and equally important in our learning environments and recognize that the participation costs are not affordable for everyone. That is why we offer two Wildcards: the opportunity to join our Masterclass free of charge for change makers with limited funds. Do you want to apply for the Wildcard? Please do so via this application form. Deadline for Wildcard Application: February 28. Did you apply and are you curious about the selection? We will send you an update before March 15.

The course takes place in and around the vibrant Impact Hub Amsterdam, located in the city of Amsterdam, home to many creative, cultural and innovative entrepreneurs. For more information on the directions, look at

More information
Download our brochure or get in touch with course coordinator Giorgia Silvestri if you have any questions.

Frequently asked questions
Please click below to expand:

Frequently Asked Questions


    • I am not working at a project at this moment, but I am looking for a new direction in my career. Does this masterclass provide for my needs and ambitions? It certainly does: the Masterclass Societal Transitions can offer you input and inspiration to give your career a new impulse, or to help early ideas grow and become more concrete.


    • How much time do I need to spend on this course? The Masterclass Societal Transitions consists of four parts: (1) Reading the recommended literature for preparation, (2) writing your pitch, (3) writing your learning paper and (4) attending the classes. If you want to get your ECTS credits, you need to spend a minimum amount of time on each part of the course (see question 4). If you don't want to get your ECTS credits, the investment of time is up to you. Our estimation is that a time investment of at least 24 hours (excluding classes!) is needed to make your participation worthwhile.


    • As an entrepreneur, I am not able to bear the participation fee. What are my options? Please contact our course coördinator Marijke de Pous ( or +31 (0)649869542) to discuss the possibilities. We are happy to think along!


  • Can I get ECTS credits for my participation in the Masterclass Societal Transitions? After full participation, every participant receives a certificate. It is possible to receive a letter of recommendation to, in which we provide advice on the number of ECTS this course represents. You can subsequently make an application for recognition of these ECTS at the responsible committee of your organisation. For more information on ECTS credits, please contact course coordinator Marijke de Pous.