Meet the Team: Iteke van Hille

25 Apr 2024 13:35 | Entrepreneurship

Who are the researchers of the Research Group Entrepreneurship and what do they do? In this series, we introduce you to one of the researchers from the Research Group! This time Iteke van Hille. Iteke deals with multi-sector (public, private and non-profit) collaboration for sustainability and is driven to make impact for practice with her research. She gets excited when she can bring different visions and interests together. When Iteke is not at work or busy with her family, she prefers to play the piano and basketball!

Thesis and dissertation award

Iteke studied sociology and then did a research master in Social Research at the Free University, where she wrote her thesis on cross-sector collaboration for sustainability in the timber sector. After first being employed in the field of sustainable trade for a while at “IDH, The Sustainability Initiative,” she returned to research. She received a research talent grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and decided to pursue a PhD. Here she opted for best of both worlds by linking her PhD track to the organization IDH.

Iteke wrote her dissertation on the role of conveners as initiators of cross-sector partnerships (CSPs) to strengthen sustainable development in international supply chains. Conveners are people or organizations who try to initiate those partnerships. Her dissertation writing did not go without merit either; she received the William C. Frederick doctoral dissertation award from the Social Issues in Management (SIM) division of The Academy of Management for it!

Making impact with practice-based output

The main theme in her career is making an impact. Although she did end up in academia, that does not mean she has abandoned her intrinsic motivation to contribute something practical. That is also the reason she enjoys working at the HvA, where in addition to academic output, the delivery of concrete insights for practice is precisely what is important. She achieves this by publishing in practice-oriented journals that are also read by professionals, such as Policy and Society and Holland Management Review. Iteke also is participating in the mentoring program of The Impact Scholar Community. This is an international community of organizational scientists and educators who conduct research to solve “real-world” problems. The mentoring program consists of mentoring from respected scholars with the goal of getting impactful and diverse research published in leading journals.

Inspire to do sustainable and social business

Iteke divides her time between two research groups. For the research group Collaborative Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE), she works on the Collaborative Networks For Sustainability (CONESU) project. In the CONESU project, she investigates how organizations work together to set in motion the transition to circular textiles. Here she co-developed the Collaborative Value Monitor,a tool conveners can use to monitor how partners are capturing value from their participation in a collaboration and that is currently being piloted in the field. She is also developing a Theory of Change (Toc) card set for a workshop that helps formulate a partnership's impact strategy. Most importantly, she is committed to ensuring that her research produces hands-on outputs that practitioners can use.

However making impact is not only about translating research into practical output, but also through educating students

“However making impact is not only about translating research into practical output, but also through educating students,” Iteke explains. The insights from the CONESU research have also been translated into the course “Organizing for Sustainability Transitions” that Iteke teaches together with Jakomijn van Wijk in the Master Global Sustainable Business Management. This master is a joint degree of the HvA and Northumbria University.

At the Research Group Entrepreneurship, she is doing research on Regenerative Business Models together with Linda Drupsteen-Sint and Claudia Cuypers and colleagues. This is about companies that not only want to prevent damage to nature and biodiversity, but also want to reverse previously done damage and turn that into a business model. An example of such a company is Wilder Land, which makes food products from the crops it plants to promote biodiversity. She and colleagues developed a framework on the definition of Regenerative Business.

At the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), she also teaches and supervises theses. She values that the AUAS encourages students to do sustainable and social business and it also feels like her responsibility to continue to encourage that!