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Sustainable market transformation strategies to understand and tackle the big, complex sustainability challenges of our life time

Changing the Game reveals insights and strategies that enable you to tackle the biggest sustainability challenges of our generation.


Sustainability problems are becoming more alarming every day. In this face of this crisis, the biggest threat is complacency. Business-as-usual is no longer an option. We must change our economies in fundamental ways so we can live within the planetary boundaries and social dimensions.


For decades we have been warned about climate change, loss of biodiversity and social injustice. In response we have spent billions of dollars to ‘fix’ these problems, but they only get bigger and bigger. Why is this happening?


It is happening because we are only fighting the symptoms. We are looking for easy solutions. We are not changing the underlying market forces that created these outcomes in the first place.

YOU HAVE TO change the Rules of the Game!

In their ground breaking book Changing the Game, Lucas Simons and André Nijhof share the insights and practical strategies they acquired during years of sustainability consultancy, training and work in academia. Their new book addresses perhaps the most important questions of our era:


Why do we have these enormous and complex sustainability challenges, and how do we solve them in a structural way?


By applying the approach from the bestselling book Changing the Food Game to the economy at large, Simons and Nijhof arrived a crucial insight: due to their magnitude and complexity, sustainability challenges all appear different. The reality is however they are all very similar as they are all caused by the same underlying market failures. They explain these failures based on four cause-and-effect chains, which are called system loops. And since these loops are the same in all markets, the solutions to the market failures are very similar in every market and sector as well. They explain how you can solve these systemic failures by understanding and recognizing the phases of market transformation and how each phase calls for different interventions and actions by different stakeholders. After that it is simply a matter of getting organized in the right way and understanding your role in this process.


What’s more, Changing the Game is not just theory. With the help of 35 co-authors and experts, Simons and Nijhof have applied this approach to eight markets covering the full spectrum of the economy. As a result, you can see how the same patterns and phases occur in all markets.

“Whether you work in the corporate world, in government, in banking & finance, in civil society, in science and technology, if you are a student or a concerned citizen and consumer – if you are concerned about where the world is going, you need this book.”

By using the unique eight-step approach explained in Changing the Game, you can understand what is causing the problems you are facing. You will also understand the current phase of your market or sector and who needs to do what to move it to the next phase. After reading this book, you can become a change-maker who can initiate, facilitate and drive positive change.


Because the sustainability challenges we are facing are big and complex, Changing the Game has been written to be understandable for readers in every sector. Anyone who is interested in and passionate about structural change can understand the main principals of market transformation that are explained. After reading Changing the Game you will understand the theory and how to use the eight-step method in practice.


The book challenges you to apply these eight steps yourself. Understanding is not enough; it is only by taking action that we will achieve results. We need more people who don’t just talk about change, but actually become change-makers. After reading this book, you can go to work in your current situation to change the rules of the game.

5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 6 reviews)
Very good0%


Theoretical masterpiece for practical application

March 31, 2021

Applying this framework to practical problems took my research to the next level.

Sebastiaan Aalbers - TU Delft, Ballast Nedam

Changing the Game is a deeply inspiring book

March 29, 2021

Which is a big compliment for one which so acutely describes the unsustainable way we live. As the authors say, “You cannot be successful in a world that fails”. They then lead you on a path to the solutions and how you can collaborate. The book provides a detailed analysis of 8 market sectors. It describes the dynamic behind the problems and how each stakeholder can contribute given where the sector finds itself in a 4-phase model.

By creating understanding, the authors give you the conviction and clarity to intervene.

Helena Wygard, Be Water Consulting

The book is of great value with its insights on transition.

March 24, 2021

Working on Health & Care in the Nederland I see how the game needs to be changed, now more than ever. Understanding the phases from other sectors helps me in thinking, but more important for doing. Sustainable change happens by doing and learning together. For a healthy future!

Karen van Ruiten - SDG3 coordinator of Alles is Gezondheid

By far het beste boek dat ik in een tijd heb gelezen over (de problematiek bij) de transitie naar meer duurzame waardeketens

March 22, 2021

Het model biedt inzicht en perspectief voor verandering in de transitie van de maakindustrie

Erica Goedhart - Denkwerkers

Highly insightful and practical

March 15, 2021

Very insightful and practical for analyzing and improving sustainable change from within the sector

Rogier ten Kate, Program Coordinator at Durham College, Canada


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“Study this system and use it. Become part of the solution. We need you to help us change the rules of the game.”

The book Changing the Game
consists of 5 parts:

Part I:
What are the sustainability challenges of our generation? Here we take a step back and look at the big picture – the complex sustainability challenges that we face as a society.
Part II:
What is the real problem? This is an important question that we should ask ourselves much more often. This part explains that the problem we see is actually not the problem we need to solve. Instead of looking at the outcome of the game, we look at the rules of the game.
Part III:
How do we deal with the underlying causes of sustainability problems? How do we change the rules of the game?
Part IV:
How does this work in practice? In this part we analyze eight different sectors and markets. In this part of the book, we asked 35 experts to apply the theories and models described in Part III to their respective sectors. The results are stunning. It is fascinating to see how the same patterns, the same loops and the same phases appear again and again.
Part V:
How can I apply these models to my own working environment? Once you understand the patterns of sustainable market transformation in other sectors, this will trigger the question of how you can apply this knowledge to your job, voluntary work or other role. How can you become a change-maker who focuses on changing the rules of the game in your sector or market?

The book "Changing the Game"
in ten sentences:

The biggest challenge of our generation in the next 30 years is to become sustainable: to live within the planetary boundaries and the social dimensions.
Our current sustainability problems are not random events; they are the natural and expected outcomes of four system loops that together create these outcomes.
The four loops are the rules of the game. And as long as these loops are in place, we will get the same outcome every time.
This means there are no simple solutions to these sustainability problems. More projects, pilots, charities or subsidies will only treat the symptoms, not the underlying causes.
If you want a different outcome, you have to change the rules of the Game.
This means that we have to let go of our old ways of thinking and acting and adopt new, more systemic change strategies.
Systemic change – or sustainable market transformation – goes through four phases of maturity. In each phase, different stakeholders need to take different types of action.
The winning strategy to change the rules of the game and accelerate change requires knowing who should do what and when, and knowing when certain actions have outlived their usefulness.
Solving the biggest sustainability challenges of our lifetime is therefore not just a matter of more money, more campaigns and more technology, but more importantly becoming better organized and having better leadership in the system.
We call on you to lead sustainable change. We believe that the most important work today is both highly systemic and deeply personal.


Lucas Simons has been involved in business and sustainable leadership for more than 20 years.
He founded NewForesight Consultancy and SCOPEinsight and directed is rapid growth during in the last ten years, along with several other organizations and initiatives.

André Nijhof (1969) is professor of Sustainable business and stewardship at Nyenrode Business Universiteit.
Since January 2016 he has held a chair at the Center for Entrepreneurship, Governance and Stewardship at Nyenrode.

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