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2013/2014  KAN-CM_E102  Designing Innovative Organizations

English Title
Designing Innovative Organizations

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Autumn, Second Quarter
Changes in course schedule may occur
Thursday 09.50-13.20, week 44-46, 48-50
Friday 12.35-16.05, week 47
Thursday 09.50-14.15, week 51
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Max. participants 40
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Daved Barry - MPP
Administrative contact: Karina Ravn Nielsen, LPF/MPP,
electives.lpf@cbs.dk, direct phone 3815 3782
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Management
  • Experience economy and service management
  • Organization
Last updated on 06-05-2013
Learning objectives
be more adept at applying the design methods and theories given in the course to a particular organization. Specifically, they should be able to:
1) understand and assess the innovation capabilities of a given organization
2) use these methods and perspectives to develop credible and compelling organizational design alternatives
3) suggest credible and compelling forms of design implementation
  • understand the different approaches to innovation-based organization design, how these approaches work in practice, and their possible benefits and costs—particularly “satellite” and “systemic” approaches.
  • be knowledgeable about how various organizations presented in the course—both private and public—have designed themselves for innovation, and how these designs do and don’t work
Designing Innovative Organizations:
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn Term and Autumn Term
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

Common knowledge holds that innovation is essential to organizational health and survival, a belief recently confirmed by large-scale, global studies that show strong causative relationships between organizational innovation, longevity, and long term success[1]. Getting to innovation requires a search for, and the incorporating of “valuable difference”— unusual ideas, processes, markets, operations, strategies. Yet, difference doesn’t sit well with organizational imperatives for predictability and continuity. As Rosabeth Moss Kanter[2]notes:
“At its very root, the entrepreneurial process of innovation and change is at odds with the administrative process of ensuring repetitions of the past. The development of innovation requires a different set of practices and different modes of organization than the management of ongoing, established operations where the desire for or expectation of change is minimal.” (p. 170)
Thus, while many business organizations are struggling to establish difference-driven processes in their organizations—changing reporting relationships, incentives, search strategies, and so on—most most of these initiatives soon fall apart or wither away. Organizational identity, culture, or structural inertia get the better of the effort. A few companies, however, have had more long term success: e.g., Boeing Moonshine, Disney’s Imagineering, Proctor and Gamble’s Clay Street Project, and Nike’s Innovation Kitchen are skunk-work-like approaches to establishing parallel innovative and creative capacities in traditional industries. Less obvious organizations like Maersk or the Danish tax ministry have also created such parallel structures.
If the challenge is how to develop the innovative organizations, a promising solution lies in design theory and practice. Creative companies like IDEO, Google, Alessi, 3M, and Lego are placing it at the center of how they do business. While design has historically been limited to areas like service and product design, these are now being supplemented by design-based approaches to strategy, new ventures, branding, organizational structure, operating processes (e.g. designing meetings), communication, job development, production, reward systems, and information systems—all in the service of designing innovative organizations.
The purpose of this course is to a) give students a general overview of how innovative organizations are designed, b) provide students with some basic organizational design skills for innovation, and c) provide an opportunity for problem-based learning, where design knowledge and skills are applied to an organizational design project.

[1]cf. Keller, S. and Price, C. 2011. Beyond performance: How great organizations build ultimate competitive advantage. London: Wiley.
[2]Kanter, R. M. 1988: “When a thousand flowers bloom: Structural, collective, and social conditions for innovations in organizations.” In B. M. Staw and L. L. Cummings (Eds) Research in Organizational Behavior, 1988, V10, 169-211, London: JAI Press.
Teaching methods
The course is distinguished by its use of a studio pedagogy, which stresses hands-on making, experimentation, prototyping, and demonstration—all done during class time and partly outside of class. Imagine a design studio devoted to creatively solving business problems—this is the core idea. Students work in small design teams to create imaginative solutions (which are reviewed and critiqued by practitioner guests).
Further Information
This course is part of the minor in Design Strategy
Expected literature
(subject to change)

Required Readings:
Austin, R., Friis, K., Sullivan, E. 2006. Design: More than a cool chair. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.
Austin, R., Nolan, R., O’Donnell, S. 2007. Boeing Moonshine Shop. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.
Bason, C. 2010. Innovation labs: Giving innovation a home. Excerpt from Bason, C. Leading Public Sector Innovation. Bristol: Policy Press.
Boyd, B., Cook, J., and Steinberg, M. 2011. In studio: Recipes for systemic change. Helsinki: Sitra Publishing.
Brown, Tim. 2008. Design thinking. Harvard Business Review, June Issue: 1-9.
Dyer, J., Gregersen, H., Christensen, C. 2009. The innovator’s dna. Harvard Business Review, Dec.: 1-8.
Fayard, A. and Weeks, J. 2011. Who moved my cube? Harvard Business Review, 89(7/8), Jul/Aug: 102-110.
Groves, K. and Knight, W. 2010. The Clay Street Project. In I wish I worked there!: A look inside the most creative spaces in business. New York, NY: Wiley.
Hargadon, A. B., & Douglas, Y. 2001. When innovation meets institutions: Edison and the design of the electric light. Administrative Science Quarterly, 46: 476–501.
Hargadon, A., & Sutton, R. 2000. Building an innovation factory. Harvard Business Review, May-June: 157-166.
Hipple, J., Hardy, D., Wilson, S., Michalski, J. 2001 (Nov). Can corporate innovation champions survive? Chemical Innovation, V31(11): 14-22. http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/archive/ci/31/i11/html/11hipple.html
Kanter, R. M. 1988: “When a thousand flowers bloom: Structural, collective, and social conditions for innovations in organizations.” In B. M. Staw and L. L. Cummings (Eds) Research in Organizational Behavior, 1988, V10, 169-211, London: JAI Press.
Salaman, G., Storey, J. 2002. Manager’s theories about the process of innovation. Journal of Management Studies, 39(2): 0022-2380.
Van de Ven, A., Polley, D., Garud, R., Venkataraman, S. 1999. The Innovation Journey (Introduction). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Verganti, R. 2006. Innovating through design. Harvard Business Review, Dec.: 114-122.
Vincent, Lanny. 2005. Innovation midwives: Sustaining innovation streams in established companies. Research Technology Management, 48(1).
von Stamm, B. 2004. Innovation: What’s design got to do with it? Design Management Review, 15(1): 10-19.

Secondary (Optional) Readings:
Austin, R., Devin, L. 2004. Successful innovation through artful process. Leader to Leader, Spring, 32: 48-55.
Barry, D., Rerup, C. 2006. Going mobile: Aesthetic design considerations from Calder and the Constructivists. Organization Science 17(2): 262-276.
Boland, R and Collopy, F. 2004. Managing as Designing. Stanford Univ. Press
Daft, Richard. 2007. Organizational Theory and Design (Parts 1 & 2). Southwest Publishing.
Goffee, R., Jones, G. 2007. Leading clever people. Harvard Business Review, March: 1-9.
Laursen, K., & Salter, A. 2005. Open for innovation: The role of openness in explaining innovation performance among U.K. manufacturing firms. Strategic Management Journal, 27: 131-150.
Luecke, Richard; Ralph Katz 2003. Managing Creativity and Innovation. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
McKendrick, D., Wade, J. 2009. Frequent incremental change, organizational size, and mortality in high-technology competition. Industrial and Corporate Change, 19(3): 613-639.
Perrons, R., Richards, M., Platts, K. 2005. What the hare can teach the tortoise about make-buy strategies for radical innovations. Management Decision, 43(5/6): 670-690.
Peters, T. 1990. Get innovative or get dead, Part 1. California Management Review, 33(1): 9-26.
Peters, T. 1991. Get innovative or get dead, Part 2. California Management Review, 33(2): 9-23.
Rasmussen, J., Kramp, G., Mortensen, B. Prototyping design and business. Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces, June: 22-25.
Sutton, R. 2001. The weird rules of creativity. Harvard Business Review. September, 79(8): 94-103.
Verganti, R. 2011. Designing breakthrough products: How companies can systematically create innovations that customers don’t even know they want. Harvard Business Review, October, 89(10): 114-120.
von Hippel, Eric 2005. Democratizing Innovation. Boston, MA: MIT Press.
Last updated on 06-05-2013