autumn 2023
SVF-3403 Blue Innovation for the Green Shift - 15 ECTS

Type of course

This course is eligible for students admitted to the Ocean Leadership master’s degree program. It is not available to any other category of students as a singular or elective course.

Course content

Although ocean systems and resources are in peril, threatened by a range of global challenges, there are reasons for hope. There is growing international commitment to ambitious sustainability goals; increasing acceptance of the serious and urgent need to address climate change; continual advancements in science, technology, and innovation; shifting social values; and a rising tide of voices calling for change.

While the second course in the program was dedicated to exploring the complex global challenges that affect the oceans, the focus in this third course is on creative problem solving through safe, sustainable, and responsible forms of innovation.

In this course, participants will expand on their abilities to collaborate across disciplines and sectors, analyze complex problems from a systems perspective, and learn how to facilitate creativity and innovation towards greater sustainability.

Participants will explore the potential for innovative social and technical mechanisms to address global challenges and learn about the legal and economic measures that promote, frame and steer these developments. This will equip participants with a social, technical, economic, and legal ‘toolbox’ for innovation for change.

Specific topics covered on the course include value mapping, business innovation and business models for sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship, the concepts of blue and circular economy, economic growth and environment, life cycle assessment (LCA), theories of transformative change, responsible research and innovation, and international and EU law and policy responses, including the EU Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plans.

The course will also familiarize participants with the importance of assessing and managing risk, uncertainty and safety in relation to innovation, and in doing so, places particular emphasis on issues of cybersecurity and identifying and managing risk in distributed digital systems.

In transmitting the theory and practice of innovation leadership, the course will give attention to building knowledge and skills related to the facilitation of creative processes, the value of diverse perspective for stimulating creativity and innovation and how to negotiate, mitigate and mediate conflicts that arise when different perspectives meet.

This course is experience-based with a strong focus on peer-learning. Participants will therefore be expected to reflect on, and experiment with, knowledge that they build within the context of their own work and share these experiences with the group.

Objectives of the course

The candidates who complete the course are expected to have achieved the following outcomes:


Upon completion of the course, participants will have developed:

  • understanding of the concepts of the circular economy and a sustainable blue economy
  • familiarity with the theory of transformative change
  • familiarity with central concepts and practices related to innovation and entrepreneurship
  • familiarity with various tools and business models for sustainable innovation
  • understanding of key concepts of risk, uncertainty, including computer security, such as familiarity with fundamental protection mechanisms and their applications
  • understanding of key concepts and perspectives on innovation leadership
  • familiarity with approaches that support creative processes, including knowing why and how to build creative diverse teams
  • an understanding of the role of law in triggering and steering innovation for change, and conversely, where law can be a barrier to change


Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • participate effectively in the planning and implementation of collaborative research or development projects
  • employ tools and facilitate approaches that encourage creative thinking and problem-solving in collaborative teams
  • create plans for how to integrate across different disciplines, sectors and/or levels of governance within the context of a particular innovation project
  • assess the performance of ocean governance systems in broad terms and identify opportunities for improvement through social or technical innovation
  • broadly map out the key actors and legal mechanisms that can promote, or hamper, innovation for change

General competence: 

Upon completion of the course, participants will have the ability to:

  • apply relevant knowledge and skills from ocean leadership in a collaborative innovation project
  • argue for good cyber security practices, including the importance of being alert to threats and vulnerabilities
  • experiment with applying ocean leadership practices in their own context
  • reflect on ethical issues that arise within collaborative processes engaging diverse actors and perspectives
  • integrate knowledge from different arenas in the analysis of a complex problem and the proposal of a creative and responsible innovation to help address this problem

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

The course is taught through a combination of (face-to-face) intensive sessions in which participants come together to learn, share experiences, practice skills, and integrate knowledge across domains, and online modules on topics of relevance that can be completed by participants asynchronously in their own time and at their own pace.

The intensive sessions run over 4.5 days, with one scheduled at the beginning of the semester and one towards the end of semester. These sessions will include keynote lectures and interactive seminars on course topics. During the first session, participants will form teams to collaboratively work on a problem-based project throughout the semester. During the second session, participants will have an opportunity to present and receive feedback on their collaborative projects.

Between the two intensive sessions, participants will complete online modules covering relevant knowledge, concepts and perspectives across the domains of leadership and ethics, law and governance, and information and ocean technologies. They will also collaborate actively in their teams to identify, analyze and explore the potential for innovative mechanisms to address selected ocean challenges. The program has ambitious learning goals and will require substantial amounts of high-quality work between the two intensive sessions. Online discussion forums will therefore be scheduled to support this, providing opportunities for participants to connect, discuss online learning materials, and/or obtain feedback on assessment work in development.

Teaching in both the intensive sessions and the online modules will engage a range of methods and materials and may include, for example, keynote lectures and interviews with renowned international experts, interactive exercises and activities, instructional videos and filmed talks, podcasts and readings, panel and roundtable discussions, and field site visits or virtual tours.

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More info about the coursework requirements

Work requirements:

Completion of all online modules; attendance at both intensive sessions; attendance of at least one online discussion session; submission of a reflection paper (written by individuals reflecting on their learning throughout the course, as well as the collaborative teamwork process and their role within it).

More info about the assignment

A teamwork assignment on a topic relating to blue innovation. The specific topic and teams will be determined during the first intensive session of the course. Teams will then work together on the assignment throughout the rest of the semester.

The assignment will be presented for assessment in two parts:

• A project presentation (prepared and delivered by the team during the second intensive session)

• A project document (prepared by the team and delivered before the close of semester)

The format (style, audience, etc.) for the project document and presentation may vary. The available options will be outlined and decided during the first intensive session.

Students will be asked to sign a code of conduct related to their participation in group work and are encouraged to work together to find solutions to any problems that may arise. Each part of the exam will receive a graded scale of 5 marks from A - E for pass, and F for fail. The presentation will make up 30% of the final grade, while the document will count for 70% of the final grade.

Re-sit examination

Re-sit: Students who receive an F for the assessment in this course are entitled to a re-sit.
  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 15
  • Course code: SVF-3403