Masterclass Societal Transitions

26 Oct, 2020 - 30 Oct, 2020

Do you work on societal change and do you want to boost your knowledge and strategies for transformative impact? Stay tuned for the fifth edition of Societal Transitions: a 6-day masterclass in transition governance and transformative entrepreneurship that inspires you to drive systemic change from within and beyond your organization.
Due to the corona-crisis, we had to reschedule our popular Masterclass Societal Transitions. The new course dates have been set for Monday 26th to Friday the 30th of October. The comeback day will take place in January 2021. As the situation around Corona is highly uncertain even with regard to the fall, we are looking into designing a fully online course that could serve as a back-up in the event that is needed. We will reopen the registration once the comeback day has been confirmed. Do you want to stay up-to-date? Leave your details here and we will send you a message as soon as the new program is online.
Below you can find the original Spring program, to give you an impression of the course – or read this blog by alumnus Carmen da Silva Wells or this  interview with trainer Luc OpdeBeeck! Any questions? Please contact course coordinator Giorgia Silvestri.
Program Spring 2020
The Masterclass Societal Transitions, designed by Impact Hub Amsterdam and DRIFT’s Transition Academy, combines the latest scientific research on sustainability transitions, social innovation and entrepreneurship with pragmatic insights and experiences from transition management and entrepreneurial practice. Special attention is paid to issues of power relations and processes of empowerment, including the paradoxes and dilemmas underlying change. Our speakers and facilitators are action researchers, entrepreneurs and changemakers who are specialised in understanding and accelerating transformative change in diverse fields of work, including climate change, energy, agro-food, inclusiveness & participation, sustainable urbanism and circular economy .

Step back from your daily routines to connect with other motivated change agents and gain a new perspective on your mission and role in leading change.

Transition Learning in Action
A growing community of researchers and practitioners argues that our societal challenges ask for sustainability transitions: processes of fundamental transformation towards more sustainable and resilient societies. Across society, 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? How are innovations cultivated, empowered and scaled? 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 strategy.

Learning outcomes
During the Masterclass 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 strategy

For who?
The Masterclass is designed for a diverse combination of policy-& decision-makers, sustainability professionals, network leaders, researchers and other changemakers. You represent a variety of fields, ranging from energy, food and circular economy, to inclusivity, participation, health and education, and/or holistic perspectives on sustainable and just cities and regions. You share a strong commitment to being in a learning trajectory that combines intellectual input with active participation and learning from and with each other.
Masterclass Societal Transitions Learning in Action

The masterclass integrates a diverse set of modules that combine interactive lectures, guided discussions and participatory exercises. The course consists of a 5-day + 1 evening intensive in May 2020, a final day in September 2020 and intervision webinars and case-study work over the summer. We challenge participants to apply concepts and insights in their own context through a transition case-study and intervention to be experimented with between May and September. 


Day 1 – Monday 18th of May 2020  – 09:00-17:30

  • Sharing learning questions
  • Interactive lecture “Introduction to transition thinking” with Dr. PJ Beers (Lecturer New Business Models for Agriculture & Food Transition at HAS University of Applied Sciences) (tbc)
  • Interactive multi-level constellation
  • Field trip to local change initiative. (Location to be confirmed. Previous editions included visits to The Ceuvel and the Refugee Company

Day 2  + evening – Tuesday 19th of May 2020  – 09:00-21:00

  • Interactive lecture “Transition governance – urban transition cases in  Rotterdam & Amsterdam” with prof. dr. Derk Loorbach (director DRIFT) 
  • X-curve exercise on transition dynamics & intervention opportunities
  • Tour of the Impact Hub and 3 social enterprises
  • Interactive lecture: “Entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and ecosystems for change” with Tatiana Glad (director Impact Hub Amsterdam) 
  • Transition Dinner with Joris Lohman, co-founder of Food Hub and Lecturer European Food Business on Food Systems in Transition.

Day 3 – Wednesday 20th of May 2020 – 09:00-17:30

  • Interactive lecture: ““Shifting power dynamics in social innovation and transitions – examples from energy” – Dr. Flor Avelino (Researcher DRIFT & academic director Transition Academy)
  • Power dialogue on power dynamics in your own field & work
  • “Experiencing &  changing power relations through Theatre of the Oppressed” with Luc Opdebeeck (Director Formaat)
  • “Empowerment of people, movements and networks for sustainable & just transitions” with Dr. Flor Avelino & Giorgia Silvestri (Researcher & facilitator DRIFT & UrbanA) 


Day 4 – Thursday 21st of May 2020 – 09:00-17:30

  • Quiet day for reflection & working on learning question & case-study, incl. reading, writing, walking and peer-to-peer learning. 

 Day 5 – Friday 22nd of May 2020 – 09:00-17:30

  • Interactive lecture: ““Interactive Lecture: Transitions in Action: Daring Strategies to Accelerate Societal Change”, with Marjan Minnesma (director Urgenda) 
  • 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
  • Optional drinks & dinner

Intervision Webinars  – 1-3  webinars in June, July and/or August (dates to be discussed with participants)

Day 6 – Friday 11th of September 2020 – 09:00-17:30

  • Sharing and peer review of learning cases
  • Feedback & feedforward into a personal transition strategy
  • Interactive Lecture followed by Public Talk & drinks. Speaker to be confirmed. Speakers in previous years included: Marjan Minnesma (Urgenda), Jan Rotmans (DRIFT) and Eva Gladek (Metabolic) 

Darin Strategies to Accelerate Change Marjan Minnesma
The course fees for the 2020 edition of Societal Transitions are:

  • 3995,- for corporate / government / public sector
  • 3241,- for NGO’s / small organisation / freelance/individual

Early-bird fees (valid when you apply before January 15th 2020):

  • € 3395,- for corporate / government / public sector
  • € 2755,- for NGO’s / small organisation / freelance/individual


The course price includes full participation, lunches, drinks and one dinner. Upon successful completion of the course participants will be granted a certificate from DRIFT Transition Academy, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

*All prices listed are excluding VAT of 21%. 


Registration proceeds via our online registration form. Early Bird fees are applicable up until the 15th of January.  

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
Please get in touch with course coordinator Giorgia Silvestri if you would like more information or have any questions.