Dr. Lukas Figge

Dr. Lukas Figge is a Lecturer in Strategy & Entrepreneurship at the department of Organisation & Strategy. Next to that, he supervises theses on corporate sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation. Lukas is involved in the MaastrichtMBA programme as coordinator of the Executive MBA Sustainability & Business Ethics module.

A PASSIONATE PILGRIM

In addition to academic degrees in Economics (BSc), Public Policy (MSc) and Sustainability Science & Policy (PhD) – all from UM – Lukas holds a qualification as Consciousness Coach and is a passionate mindfulness practitioner. Furthermore, he is an avid pilgrim who walked on the Camino de Santiago every year since 2013.

 

In the past, Lukas worked as a social entrepreneur and trainer with rootAbility, empowering sustainability intrapreneurs at universities across Europe. As a result of his PhD research, he published various articles on the sustainability of globalisation.

 

We would like to introduce Lukas to you via this Q&A. Let’s meet Lukas!

WHY MAASTRICHT?

”I first came here (from Germany) in 2007 to study International Economics. The international environment and the small-scale PBL teaching model was really attractive to me. At first, I thought I come here for the Bachelor and then will be off, but again and again I stayed here – for the Master, PhD, for my wife and the teaching position I am doing now.

 

I still appreciate the international environment, the PBL and the academic environment at UM in general – I think I would not have stayed in academia in Germany, which has a very different culture. I also really like the city; it is very beautiful and provides an excellent quality of life (except maybe the parking, and at times it gets too busy and crowded).”

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT THE SBE FACULTY?

”I coordinate and teach a variety of courses at the Department of Organisation, Strategy and Entrepreneurship. This year for instance: Business & Politics in Europe, Social & Environmental Entrepreneurship, Innovation in Emerging Economies, Organisational Behaviour and Business Innovation & Sustainable Development.

 

Furthermore, I supervise thesis and internship students and I am the SBE member of the UM working group on Global Citizenship Education.”

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A LECTURER?

”I love innovating education, and educating people about innovation and of course also sustainability. At the end of day, this topic to me is an existential one – how do we (want to) live in relation to nature and to other humans?

 

Part of the answer is that I just love learning myself, and the best way to keep learning is by teaching.

 

What fascinates me about designing and implementing education is this underlying question: how can I inspire people to learn about important topics that will hopefully make a difference in their lives? And how can I support them in their learning journey? At the end of the day it is all about serving for other people to learn and grow.”

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE WITHIN THE MBA PROGRAMME?

”So far, I have done individual sessions in the introduction programme and the LDT. Together with Boris, Pia and Jarrod, we have now brought the Sustainability module to Maastricht, which previously took place at Cologne Business School. While I had to re-think the approach for the whole week, I contacted the external professors and I also deliver some content myself.”

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR LESSONS OF THE SUSTAINABILITY & BUSINESS ETHICS MODULE?

”This brings us to my sessions. First, we will dive into the global context; my main contribution here will be the frameworks to comprehend the global ecological boundary conditions, in which we operate as humans. I believe that this needs to be the starting point of the week.

 

In the second session, I will introduce the students to Cultural Theory, a framework or rather typology that I found tremendously useful in understanding the social and cultural complexity around sustainability. Last, we will explore together what the notion of personal responsibility means to each of the students. This is a tough question to which everyone needs to find their own answer.”

WHAT ARE THE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES AND INNOVATION CHALLENGES FOR REALISING THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS?

”Both are huge. The science about the global (environmental) challenges is pretty clear: we need immediate action, and every day it is getting more urgent. The impact of ecological degradation is becoming increasingly real, just think of the heat waves in Europe last summer, and what is happening in Australia now. Also, I think and hope that society is shifting and I think that this will only increase over the next 5-10 years. I mean, even if we stay within 1.5 degrees, which seems very unlikely, we will experience huge consequences, such as a 90% loss of coral reefs…

 

About the SDGs: I think it is a little overhyped, which on one hand is good, since it creates legitimacy to act sustainably. But one important question is also: what comes after 2030? What if we do not put in the efforts that are necessary? How will business need to adjust? How can business thrive and make a difference in times of ecological collapse? I am not saying that this will happen, but I think it is a question that the business community needs to start thinking about.”

WHERE ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF PROFESSIONALLY?

”Tough question. Maybe finishing the PhD even though it was still quite some work to do after my contract ended, and the biggest part of me just wanted to walk away. I was emotionally done with it at the time, but I kept going nevertheless.

 

Overall, I am proud of my teaching results over the past 1-2 years. I struggled the first year – I was too worried about getting good results, looking good, but I only got mediocre results. And at a certain point I asked myself: “how should I appear as a teacher to get the best out of my students?” And then something changed.”

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE SOMETHING PERSONAL WITH THE READERS?

”When my contract ends at SBE in August 2021, I plan to travel around the world with my wife for a year or more to work in local projects around permaculture, marine conservation, education for sustainable development, ecological restoration and sustainable tourism. We are looking at South-East Asia and Latin America.”

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