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2020/2021  KAN-CCBLV1033U  Harnessing Heterogeneity, Community and Individuality in Human Development for Sustainable Innovation

English Title
Harnessing Heterogeneity, Community and Individuality in Human Development for Sustainable Innovation

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for BSc and MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Maria Figueroa - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Globalisation and international business
  • Intercultural studies
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 29-06-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Develop an understanding of how the heterogeneity of human development intersect with economic issues and their effect on promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship in the developing world
  • Identify and consider the unique challenges as well as commonalities faced by individuals and communities in specific localities across the globe, and how specific innovations may be identified to harness these differences to achieve climate resilience and sustainable development outcomes
  • Identify and consider the impact of the racialized history of development institutions and development discourse, and their impact on contemporary development policy
  • Integrate heterogeneity in community and individuality specific issues and sensitivity to racial issues into business plans to offer more specialized and individualized solutions.
  • Identify ways of measure impact investment opportunities and apply the Gender Lens Impact Investing approach (GLII) discussed in the course to reflect critically on both their own business plan and its development process.
  • Identify the role of social innovation and social entrepreneurship to tackle community-based approaches and gender specific solutions.
  • Critically analyze relevant cases of economy, society and global inequalities: work, employment, migration, poverty, gender and sustainable development and the climate and ecology inclusive solutions.
Harnessing Heterogeneity, Community and Individuality in Human Development for Sustainable Innovation:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Group exam
Please note the rules in the Programme Regulations about identification of individual contributions.
Number of people in the group 2-4
Size of written product Max. 30 pages
20 pages if there are 2 persons in the group, and 25 pages if there are 3 persons. The grade given will be individual. If granted an exemption, students writing alone will have to hand in 10 pages.
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Sustainable development, the improvement of natural ecosystems to enhance absorption of greenhouse gases and the provision of innovative solutions that build resilience to vulnerable groups to mitigate and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change all require harnessing innovations that depart from and impact communities and individuals in different ways.  Among businesses, decision-makers and investors seeking ways for implementing the Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement Climate Goals there is increasing recognition of the need to understand the communities they are based in and incorporate gender and race into investment analysis and development policy. A failure to understand the significance of heterogeneity of communities and relationships can interfere not only with the fulfillment of policy objectives but also sustainability and effective climate action prospects. In this class, we will work to explore a variety of country and regional case studies to understand how conditions of community and individual race, income, and gender heterogeneity across different global regions impacts the prospects for individuals and groups to participate in the creation of innovative entrepreneurial activities. 


This course consists of four modules. The first two modules cover scholarly and policy debates about the relationship between human, social, environmental and economic development respectively. The first module covers feminist and postcolonial scholarship on development, women’s relationship to the economy and environment (including the centrality of reproduction and reproductive health), and the significance of the historical legacies of race and racism in the origins of major development institutions for the legitimacy and effectiveness of these institutions today. The second module will consider the intersectionality of race and gender in development, for example, through a focus on the labour of low-income women in the global South and its place within development approaches.


The third module covers a series of country and regional case studies that draw attention to different issues at the intersection of community, individuality and development. These might include community based approaches, :individual gender dynamics in a specific locality; access to resources; survival strategies; reproduction/fertility and population; ethical human relationship with the environment; cultural tensions between development practitioners and the recipients of development aid. The course will include examples and cases from all continents to demonstrate how heterogeneity in community and individuality impacts innovative solutions across the globe.


The fourth module turns to practice, and considers alternatives to mainstream development and investment models that have the potential to be more inclusive and sustainable on community and individual approaches across diversity lines. These will include impact investments and gender lens impact investing and participatory development. These models and others will be examined to consider both their implications for generating financial gains as well as specific social and environmental beneficial effects.

Description of the teaching methods
There will be a combination of lectures drawing on different disciplines and presentations with active student participation. Each session will be divided between a one-hour lecture on the session topic, and a period of discussion (during the first three modules) or group activity (during the fourth, practice-oriented, module). This will ensure a balance between the dissemination of key information by the instructors and the opportunity for participatory collaborative and blending forms of learning.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback will be offered as follows: 1. in class usually at the beginning and end of each lecture there will be an open Q&A session; in addition to feedback offered in interaction with students during class and following group exercises during class time 2. as students work in their final group written report. 3. during office hours for all the faculty involved in this course.
Student workload
Teaching 30 hours
Preparation 128 hours
Examination 48 hours
Total 206 hours
Expected literature
  1. UNDP 2019 Human Development Report published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) the United Nations Development Programme 1 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017 USA

  2. Moellendorf, D. (2016). The moral challenge of dangerous climate change: Values, poverty, and policy. Cambridge University Press

  3. Victor, D. G., 2011: Global Warming Gridlock : Creating More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet. Cambridge University Press, 358 pp.

  4. Ramos-Mejía, M., M. L. Franco-Garcia, and J. M. Jauregui-Becker, 2018: Sustainability transitions in the developing world: Challenges of socio-technical transformations unfolding in contexts of poverty. Environ. Sci. Policy, 84, 217–223, https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1016/​j.envsci.2017.03.010.

  5. Averett, S.L., Argys, L. M., and Hoffman, S. D. The Oxford handbook of women and the economy, New York : Oxford University Press, (2017)
  6. The Women, Gender & Development Reader, 2nd Edition edited by Nalini Visvanathan, Lynn Duggan, Nan Wiegersma and Laurie Nisonoff, London and New York: Zed Books (2011).
  7. Yvonne A. Braun and Assitan Sylla Traore 2015 “Plastic Bags, Pollution, and Identity: Women and the Gendering of Globalization and Environmental Responsibility in Mali.” Gender and Society 29(6)863-887.
  8. Sylvia Chant and Caroline Sweetman 2012 “Fixing women or fixing the world? ‘Smart economics’, efficiency approaches, and gender equality in development.” Gender & Development 20(3):517-529.
  9. Naila Kabeer 2005 “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Critical Analysis of the Third Millennium Development Goal 1.” Gender & Development 13(1):13-24.
  10. Christina Abraham (2015) “Race, Gender and ‘Difference’: Representation of ‘Third World Women’ in International Development,” Journal of Critical Race Inquiry, 2(2): 4-24.
  11. Kai Chen (2013) “Race, Racism and Development: Interrogating History, Discourse and Practice,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 36 (7): 1256-1257.
  12. Sarah White (2002) “Thinking Race, Thinking Development,” Third World Quarterly 23(3): 407-419.
  13. Uma Kothari (2006) “An agenda for thinking about ‘race’ in development,” Progress in Development Studies 6(1): 9-23.
  14. Kathryn Moeller (2019), “The Ghost Statistic that Haunts Women’s Empowerment,” The New Yorker, January 4, 2019.
Last updated on 29-06-2020