Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

Volker Hoffmann: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2016

Name Prof. Dr. Volker Hoffmann
FieldSustainability and Technology
Nachhaltigkeit und Technol. D-MTEC
ETH Zürich, WEV J 412
Weinbergstr. 56/58
8092 Zürich
Award: The Golden Owl
Telephone+41 44 632 05 40
Fax+41 44 632 10 45
DepartmentManagement, Technology, and Economics
RelationshipFull Professor

351-0778-00LDiscovering Management
Entry level course in management for BSc, MSc and PHD students at all levels not belonging to D-MTEC.
This course can be complemented with Discovering Management (Excercises) 351-0778-01L.
3 credits3GF. Hacklin, M. Ambühl, S. Brusoni, E. Fleisch, P. Frauenfelder, G. Grote, V. Hoffmann, P. Schönsleben, D. Sornette, J.‑E. Sturm, G. von Krogh, F. von Wangenheim
AbstractDiscovering Management offers an introduction to the field of business management and entrepreneurship for engineers and natural scientists. The module provides an overview of the principles of management, teaches knowledge about management that is highly complementary to the students' technical knowledge, and provides a basis for advancing the knowledge of the various subjects offered at D-MTEC.
ObjectiveDiscovering Management offers an integrated learning system, which combines in an innovate format a set of lectures, an advanced business game simulation and a set of group exercises involving industry speakers (ranging from leading venture capitalists to executives at established corporations). Unlike more traditional courses, the learning model for Discovering Management involves 'learning by doing'. While the 13 different lectures, in-class discussions and assigned readings provide the theoretical and conceptual foundations, the experiential learning outcomes result from the interrelated group activities: 1) the interactive case studies and exercises, 2) the business game simulation.
By discovering the key aspects of entrepreneurial management, the purpose of the course is to advance students' understanding of factors driving company success, where success is understood as a broad construct including financial return, employee, customer and supplier satisfaction as well as social and ecological responsibility.
Discovering Management is designed to suit the needs and expectations of Bachelor students at all levels as well as Master and PhD students not belonging to D-MTEC. By providing an overview of Entrepreneurial Management, this course is an ideal enrichment of the standard curriculum at ETH Zurich. No prior knowledge of business or economics is required to successfully complete this course.
ContentThe lectures for Discovering Management are designed to broaden the participant's understanding of the principles of entrepreneurial management, emphasizing the interdependence of various specialties in the development and management of a firm. For this reason, the lectures are structured on the basis of a coherent business model and will be presented by the respective area specialists at D-MTEC.
The lectures broaden the view and the understanding of technology by interlinking it with society. Corporate sustainability, for example, introduces economic, ecological and social issues that are relevant to all engineering disciplines. Practical examples stimulate the students to assess these issues and be aware of their responsibilities as engineers. Technology and innovation management, to mention a second example, focuses on the interplay of technical and organizational change, and how these often neglected interactions explain why many new technologies are never used. It fosters the students' ability to see the business and social consequences of their 'technical' decisions.
Critical skills will be trained by the case study exercise, a participant-centered learning activity, which provides students with the opportunity to place themselves in the role of the decision maker, as they learn more about the specific case and identify the challenge they are faced with. Students will be presented real case scenarios by industry guests from established corporations and will have to critically analyze specific issues. The case study exercise will provide an insight into the context of a managerial problem-solving and enhance the participant's appreciation for the complex tasks companies deal with.
Discovering Management attempts to overcome the limitations of traditional teaching curricula of management in technical universities, which often merely focus on transferring specific skills to students, e.g. planning or forecasting. In response to the new challenges for entrepreneurial decision-making, students will be offered the opportunity to actively engage in an advanced business game simulation; a business game that establishes a link between business management theory and business management in practice. The simulation presents a realistic model of a company and provides participants with the opportunity to quickly gain the lasting effects of practical experience in a risk-free environment. All this provides a valuable learning platform to integrate the increasingly important development of the skills and competences required to identify entrepreneurial opportunities, analyze the future business environment and successfully respond to it by taking systematic decisions, e.g. critical assessment of technological possibilities.
Prerequisites / NoticeDiscovering Management is designed to suit the needs and expectations of Bachelor students at all levels as well as Master and PhD students not belonging to D-MTEC. By providing an overview of Business Management, this course is an ideal enrichment of the standard curriculum at ETH Zurich.
No prior knowledge of business or economics is required to successfully complete this course.
363-1060-00LStrategies for Sustainable Business Restricted registration - show details
Limited number of participants

Registration will only be effective once confirmed by email from the organizers.
1 credit1SV. Hoffmann, A. Brophy
AbstractIn this course, students will learn to critique strategies for sustainable business through exploring case studies on three main themes: integrating sustainability into business strategy, new business models for sustainability, and the energy sector transition and sustainable business.
ObjectiveAfter the course, students should be able to:

Understand and explain sustainability challenges facing companies;
Critique sustainability and related strategies;
Evaluate decisions taken by managers;
Suggest alternative approaches;
Develop action plans;
Critique and reflect on strategies for sustainability in their own organisations.

Students will also learn to apply a range of strategy concepts to sustainability challenges, including reputation, leadership, organisational structure and culture.
ContentAlthough many companies now report on their sustainability actions, few successfully integrate sustainability into their business operations. In this seminar, we will cover three main themes that examine different types of strategies for sustainable business:

1. Integrating sustainability into business strategy
2. New business models for sustainability
3. Energy sector transition and sustainable business

The course will be taught using case studies. The case studies will allow us to explore from multiple perspectives (e.g. stakeholder, institutional, managerial) why developing strategies for sustainable business is so complex, how and why businesses respond in the ways that they do, how existing sustainability strategies could be improved, as well as what it means to be a leading sustainable business. Case study materials will be distributed before the sessions, as well as guidelines on how best to efficiently and effectively prepare for case study discussions. The sessions will be interactive and will include large and small group discussions.

Under each of the three themes, we will discuss in detail recent sustainability problems faced by a range of different companies. For example, we will investigate why and how Patagonia tried to encourage customers to buy less clothing rather than more. We will look at how TerraCycle developed its entire business model based on waste. And we step into the shoes of RWE's CEO Peter Terium as he grapples with ensuring a profitable and sustainable future for the German utility.

Our case discussions will help each of you to apply strategy concepts to real-world sustainability problems and will also serve as a basis for thinking about sustainability in your own organisation.
LiteratureCase study materials and guidelines for analysing cases will be provided to participants by email several weeks before the seminar.