towards sustainable, just and economically robust entrepreneurship
Finding and exploring a dynamic balance between ecology, society and economy is emerging as an essential element of entrepreneurship. A new economy is evolving where hybrid organizations and new innovative systems are unfolding as part of our learning process of connecting our natural, human and monetary systems. Combining the knowledge and skills of choreography, research and consulting enables me to see through the various dimensions of people and organizations in a way which is essential in order to find this new dynamic balance.

consulting, researching & choreographing
Co-creating a process of evolution in organizations
synergizing society, nature and economy
This is about finding out what you want and how to achieve it. It is about having a clear vision and a resilient strategy and most of all of people acting and stepping up to the plate. Getting there means coping with dilemmas posing almost insoluble contradictions such as how to reconcile ‘doing good’ and ‘doing well’, meaning and money or me and us. Answers can be found only in the spaces and tensions in between, by exploring these spaces, understanding them, working within them to establish natural relationships and relating them to the goals and values of a specific organization. There are no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answers here: it is up to every organization to define and realize its own alignment with its people, its particular environment and its own core business.

Rabobank, DSM, VMMa, Menzis, AVRO en TROS, Unilever, SIG, ABN AMRO, Drechtwerk, Belastingdienst, Hilverzorg, Wellant college, DOEN foundation, dob foundation, Wageningen UR, Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Milieu
developing a trail of thought through observation and relationship
Godelieve Spaas investigates entrepreneurs who reconnect competence with conscience. In her doctorate thesis, organizing fields: towards a breakthrough in social entrepreneurship, she describes a new cosmology of organising that denotes a coherent set of basic principles from which dynamic, diverse and connected ways of social entrepreneurial organising can emerge and develop their own unique shape. A corresponding methodology of organisational development, bringing in science, design, art and consultancy, supports further development and professionalization of organising fields. This original and thought-provoking work makes a valuable contribution to the academic community as well as members of the interested and informed public. This studies impact is self-evident in that it provides a rich schema to describe attractors that need to be valued to give rise to abundant social entrepreneurship.

By understanding what is going on, looking beyond the superficial and becoming aware of evolving trends, we can gain clues from the reality of the situation about to how to create or change organizations synergizing economy, ecology and society. With this in mind, research means observing throughout the system: surveying organizations in their environment, interaction within organizations and between different organizations, or between organizations, society and ecology. Research becomes interdisciplinary and includes the subjective as well as the objective. It encompasses the past, the present and the potential future in a bid to gain an overall perspective on diversity with all its attendant connections and contradictions. It leads to the generation of knowledge, looking closely enough to see the real situation and to sense the direction it is likely to evolve in.

read more about research in progress
a new economy | a new cosmology for organizations | system innovation 'het nieuwe veehouden'
a new economy
In collaboration with DOEN foundation
Doen logo

Research into all the potential variations of a new economy, focusing on the experiments that work, the dilemmas that arise at the interface between current and alternative economies, the factors needed to operate successfully in the new economy. And the changing field of play on which businesses operate.
The main shift compared with the current economy is that more, and different, players are entering the game. Society and the natural environment are becoming partners in the market. Organisations’ responsibilities are changing as a result: making a profit or adding value are moving aside to create room for new ecological and social objectives. The economic dynamic is altered too, with sharing and giving playing a role in addition to barter and exchange. And finally, impact and effect are measured not only in quantitative but also in qualitative terms. All in all, this means that organisations need different skills in order to succeed. A solid anchor of their own, a moral compass, is required to help navigate a course between the various players. Resilience and sensitivity to the environment are vital to be able to discern and respond promptly to fluctuations in surrounding circumstances.

Download the full report
research new economy (pdf in english)
onderzoek vormgeving nieuwe economie (pdf in dutch)

More about THE NEW ECONOMY on the DOEN website:
research designing a new economy (english) (dutch)

festival sur le niger - maaya entrepreneurship (pdf in english)

a new cosmology for organizations

More and more organizations are being called upon to assume social and ecological responsibilities in addition to their more entrepreneurial ones. This draws them into an economic dynamic that includes ecological en societal benefits (for example, blue and green economy, circular economy, peoples’ economy). Intertwining these responsibilities in the core activities of an organization has a huge impact on the way organizations perceive organizational strategy, structure, values and goals and the way they look at context. My research focuses on the organizational implications for commercial and not-for-profit organizations of (re)connecting with society and nature. It aims to develop new organizational design principles to support organizations in their transformation towards greater sustainability and social connectedness.

PhD research at the University of South Africa, Pretoria (website)

Catherine Odora Hoppers holds one of the Sarchi chairs in South Africa.
Her mission is to reconnect science with society. (website)

system innovation: het nieuwe veehouden
In collaboration with Wageningen UR

‘Het nieuwe veehouden’ is a programme to foster innovation run by Wageningen University and Research Centre, Syntens and LTO.
Livestock farmers and their advisers develop innovative farming concepts in which ecological, social and economic goals go hand in hand with animal welfare. The design workshop helps business owners, working in partnership with others, to develop and implement those business concepts. The design workshop is a temporary platform where everyday practice, networks and old and new knowledge and experience come together to fulfil the ambitions of sustainable businesses, the hopes of concerned citizens and the guidelines laid down by the government. Working together on each person’s design is the basic principle of the design workshop. Working together with other business owners, advisers, experts, facilitators and people of different mindsets. Together, because two heads are better than one and because with this approach it is possible to:
  • combine multiple perspectives, opinions and fields of expertise
  • plan and underpin decisions taken to develop a sustainable business plan
  • think through the impact of decisions along the whole length of the chain
  • obtain the assistance and input of internal and external parties at an early stage
  • extend the range of potential solutions to dilemmas, setbacks and other problems in planning and implementation

Working together on each person’s design because innovations are only successful if they suit the business owner, his values, his business and the context in which he operates.

The design workshop approach is founded on two pillars:
a co-creation process in which every stakeholder contributes expertise, experience and ideas in such a way that the resulting combination generates concepts that could not have been developed without those different inputs.
an approach in which sub-level innovations (technology, farm management, earnings model, feed, etc.) are interconnected to produce a synergy that leads to overall sustainability with a win-win impact for the whole system: farmer, citizen, animal and environment.

Read more about:
Het nieuwe veehouden (website in dutch)

Ontwerpateliers - Voor ondernemers en adviseurs die een verschil willen maken in duurzaam ondernemen (pdf in dutch)

Het nieuwe veehouden: Ontwerpateliers - Uitgebreide versie, november 2012 (pdf in dutch)

Artikelen voor 'Nederland van Morgen'
(Onderdeel Nationale Omgevingsvisie (NOVI))
Waarom leren en samenwerken met voorlopers voorwaarde is voor transitie,
januari 2016 (pdf in dutch)

Waarom verhalen van mensen ertoe doen, juli 2016 (pdf in dutch)

Composing and inventing models and stories
at the edge of research, imagination and the every day
Acting from a place where ecology, nature and society come together in a single domain requires new models and new stories. Suggesting balanced compositions, sharing experiences through stories and co-creating new inventive models are all pathways to finding bridges between economy, ecology and society and enabling the creation of a composition that links all three in a new organizational reality. Creating integrated systems, shifting the emphasis away from economics as the be-all and end-all, and using experience, skill and imagination allow the bridges and links to emerge and create a frame of reference for a different organizational dynamic and movement.


Maaya entrepeneurship
the entrepreneurial model of the Festival sur le Niger (read the pdf)

Het vier krachten model
in cooperation with Dagmar Baumann
(go to the website, or download the complete book in pdf, both in Dutch

Het talent van Afrika (read the pdf, in Dutch)

Weten door niet weten
in cooperation with Els van Noorduyn (read the pdf, in Dutch)
(Els van Noorduyn website)

Nieuw Leiderschap
in cooperation with Els van Noorduyn (visit the website, in Dutch)

Spiritualiteit in leiderschap
in cooperation with the Societeit, an initiative with Ellis Oudendijk
(watch it on youtube, Part I & Part II, in Dutch)
(Ellis Oudendijk website)

The world is in motion / Nieuwe vormen van ondernemen
(read the pdf in English or in Dutch)

Unieke situaties vragen om uniek handelen (read the pdf, in Dutch)

Naar een economie van betekenis
lecture held on April 14, 2014 (read the pdf, in Dutch)

Betrouwbare overheid, betrouwbare netwerken, juli 2016 (read the pdf, in Dutch)


Creating Change / Godelieve Spaas consultancy bv
+31 6 53166685

My skills lie in my ability to invent, rearrange, suggest and create, drawing on the different worlds I have moved in as a dancer, a social scientist and an organizational developer. As an insider in the worlds of art, science and entrepreneurship, I am able to combine these worlds, gathering inspiration, concepts and knowledge from each and transposing them from one realm to the other, and to pave the way for others do the same.

I seek to operate beyond the assumption that sustainability impairs the profitability of organizations. If we dig deep enough and are creative enough, we can enter a space where added value is created through interdependence. What stories there are to be found where the three (ecology, society, economy) all benefit from and interact seamlessly with each other. My aim is to increase diversity in organizational and entrepreneurial models and realities with a view to the development of a fairer, more sustainable and robust entrepreneurial space.

By listening to as yet unheard stories and walking untrodden paths, we allow interdependent systems to reveal themselves, to be identified and interpreted and to become a platform for action in everyday organizational reality. Intertwining the worlds of understanding, creation and implementation fosters a greater awareness of what is possible and enables specific companies, non-governmental organizations and governments alike to take concrete steps in the field of organisational development.


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© all text on this website by Godelieve Spaas. All rights reserved. Parts may be used with written consent from the author.
© all paintings on this website used with kind permission of Dagmar Baumann (visit website)
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