Masterclass Societal Transitions

26 Oct, 2020 - 22 Jan, 2021

Do you work on societal change and do you want to boost your knowledge and strategies for transformative impact? Register now for our popular masterclass Societal Transitions: a 6-day course in transition governance and transformative entrepreneurship that inspires you to drive systemic change from within and beyond your organization. Sign-up closes 27 September!

Corona update

Due to the coronavirus, this year’s edition will take place, on location, from 26-30 October 2020 (intensive days), adhering to Dutch government guidelines. The comeback day will be on the 22nd of January 2021. If the October dates have to be rescheduled again due to coronavirus developments, we will give a full refund to those who cannot attend the new dates. If you have to cancel last minute due to health reasons, we will find a suitable solution together with you (full refund or other).


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 October 2020, a final day in January 2021 and intervision webinars and case-study work in between. We challenge participants to apply concepts and insights in their own context through a transition case-study and intervention to be experimented with between November and January. 


Day 1 – Monday 26th of October 2020  – 09:00-17:00

  • 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)
  • 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 27th of  October 2020  – 09:30-21:00

  • 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 28th of October 2020 – 09:00-17:00

  • 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 29th of October 2020 

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

 Day 5 – Friday 30th of October 2020 – 09:00-16:00

  • 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 Nov – Dec – Jan to support participants in their case work (dates to be discussed with participants)

Day 6 – Friday  22nd of January 2021 – 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 July 22nd 2020):

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

*All prices listed are excluding VAT of 21%. 


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. 


Registration proceeds via our online registration form and can be completed 27 September the latest. Please note that in the event that the in person masterclass can not take place due to Corona we will plan new course dates and give a full refund to all those who can no longer attend. If you yourself are no longer able to attend in relation to Corona, we will find a suitable sollution. A full refund will remain one of the options.

We are also developing ideas for a fully online course for 2021 that could serve as an alternative (with a different spread and tariffs).


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.

To get an impression from one of our alumni, read this blog by alumnus Carmen da Silva Wells or get to know one of our trainers through this  interview with Luc OpdeBeeck!