Climate challenge


  • Responsible:University of Oldenburg + BÜFA
  • Time: 1 semester (2020/21)
  • of students: 35
  • of business personnel: 10
  • of teaching personnel: 2


Main elements

  • The Climate Challenge Seminar is part of the master module „Innovation Management“. In the new challenge-based learning format, students develop sustainable innovative solutions that have the potential to contribute to BÜFA's strategy of carbon neutrality.
  • In the first part of the module, the basic theoretical concepts of innovation management are taught in an online lecture. The students have to solve two online assignments per lecture.
  • In the second part of the module, the Climate Challenge Seminar takes place. Student teams collaborate with company mentors to develop Climate Challenge Solutions for BÜFA.


What‘s new?


  • Lectures to discuss key concepts and frameworks related to innovation management
  • Introduction: carbon neutrality of companies


Climate Challenge Seminar

  • Challenges identified in the extracurricular "Green Business Idea Jam" are integrated into the seminar.
  • Student teams develop innovative solutions for BÜFA’s carbon neutrality strategy
  • Individual coaching session of the 7 student teams by lecturers and BÜFA staff
  • Writing of a term paper (Climate Challenge Solution Paper) that summarizes the process of the practical projects and derives general conclusions for the implementation by BÜFA



  • Short online assignments with reference to the respective lecture
  • Fact sheets with BÜFA Climate Challenges
  • Guidelines and criteria for pitches and term papers
  • Individual coaching sessions for the student teams
  • Online collaboration with business partners and students


Main outcomes

  • 35 students work in teams of 5 on the following challenges:
    1. Strengthening climate awareness among company employees (company site)
    2. Strengthening climate awareness among company employees (mobility)
    3. Innovative logistics solutions for the company
    4. Promotion of sustainability innovations by the company
    5. Regional company’s carbon offsetting project
    6. Digitalization of the company’s customer service processes
    7. Intelligent energy management for a new PV system of the company
  • Several Climate Challenge Solutions of the student teams are implemented by BÜFA.
  • Students and business partner get to know each other.
  • Business partner gets a new perspective on its carbon neutrality strategy.


Lessons learned & Future plans

  • Implementation of the seminar requires a high level of human resources on the part of the business partner.
  • Individual coaching offered by the teachers requires a high level of personnel involvement. Guiding questions for the coaching sessions could be developed.
  • The development of fact sheets for the individual challenges requires close coordination between the business partner and the teaching team.
  • Students team have been highly motivated and the business partner is very satisfied with the results. It is planned to continue with the new challenge-based learning format in the future.
  • If Climate Business Idea Jam and Climate Challenge are combined, there is a risk that the innovative ideas generated in the Green Business Idea Jam may not be suitable for the Climate Challenge seminar.


More information: Dr. Karsten Hürrelmann, University of Oldenburg (