Centre for Financial Innovation

Collaborative Organizing for Grand Challenges

Inaugural Lecture Lori DiVito PhD

13 Jun 2022 15:53 | Centre for Economic Transformation

On 7 June, Lori DiVito, lecturer Collaborative Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the AUAS, presented her inaugural lecture. The CIE professorship focuses on the collaborative paradigm in economic transformation and looks at entrepreneurial and innovation processes from a collaborative rather than a competitive perspective.

The Collaborative Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) professorship is linked to the Center for Economic Transformation, a platform that focuses on new economic thinking in innovation and entrepreneurship. This is necessary in response to the major ecological and social challenges we face.

In her speech 'Collaborative Organizing for Grand Challenges', Lori Divito indicated the levels at which collaborating organizations can innovate and act. The CIE differentiates between the ecosystem level and the partnership level.

Lori DiVito: ‘An ecosystem can be understood as a group of cooperating companies that depend on each other. Ecosystem change requires many changes within the system that take place simultaneously. That is why cooperation is so important!

At the partnership level, diverse organizations with different objectives and interests form coalitions or partnerships to achieve shared goals and ambitions by sharing strengths, resources, risks and responsibilities. An example is the Alliance for Responsible Denim , a project from 2016-2018 that brought denim brands and suppliers together to address sustainability and circularity in denim production.


DiVito and team members are currently researching multi-stakeholder collaborations aimed at a circular transformation in the textile industry in the project Collaborative Networks for Sustainability (CoNeSu) . The research focuses specifically on the fashion industry as it is one of the least sustainable industries.

Looking ahead and creating impact with research

Divito also mentions the impact the CIE wants to make, beyond the research itself. For example, by engaging in dialogue with students and practitioners. And by engaging in academic debate, like during the upcoming CIE Conference on 25 November .

Finally, DiVito makes an appeal to everyone, following the inspiration of economist Kate Raworth:

“Calling all economic rebels: humanity’s future depends on you. Yes, really. Because, unless we transform the economic and public debate, we stand very little chance indeed of thriving in this century.”

Guests from the professional field

After the lecture there was time for a discussion with colleagues from Lori's field:

  • Gwen Cunningham Textiles Lead, Circle Economy and Lead in Sustainability & Circular Economy, National College of Art & Design, Dublin, Ireland
  • Claire Teurlings Lead Circular Economy, Amsterdam Economic Board
  • Erin Leitheiser Associate Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, BSR Business for Social Responsibility, Copenhagen
Lori DiVito helds her lecture