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Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Spring, Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Lars Bo Jeppesen - Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics (INO)
Administration: Mie Maahr Hegelund, INO, mmh.ino@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Management
Last updated on 10-09-2014
Learning objectives
At the end of the course students are expected to:
  • - understand the current debates around the digital economy, community based innovation, strategy and management in these contexts.
  • - explain how digital changes are transforming the business landscape.
  • - be able demonstrate knowledge of relevant theories by explaining their assumptions, causal dynamics and processes
  • - understand and analyze the determinants and the processes of community-based innovation and specify success and failure factors.
  • - understand how to manage digital change in existing firms as well as in entrepreneurial ventures
  • - understand and discuss the different ways in which companies (incumbents as well entrepreneurial ventures) can build business models that allow them to leverage the potential of external contributors (of innovation, data, and effort in general)
  • - discuss ethical issues, complexities and hurdles surrounding these models and devise strategic action plans to overcome them
  • - use case method to apply insights to assess real business challenges
  • - develop an understanding of working with crowds and communities through hands-on exercises related to real business issues.
Home assignment - written product:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Report
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Spring Term and Autumn Term
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

Innovation increasingly takes place through communities and platforms driven by “crowds” of developers and problem solvers. At the same time their outputs and products of the crowd contexts have come to shape the daily life of many of the world’s inhabitants.

The digital economy has brought with it a transformation of the business landscape with implications for existing firm, entrepreneurial ventures, and individual workers. In some of the most dynamic sectors of the modern economy, such as, apps for smartphones, video games, media content, scientific and technical problems solving, companies’ overall performance already rely on individuals located outside the organization to become crucial sources of ideas, modules, tasks, and procedures.

                      In their attempts to leverage these sources of innovation it is now quite common for companies employ more open forms of innovation, and try to “orchestrate” innovative communities and platforms. While these “open approaches” have rapidly diffused, creating a wealth of opportunities, it is obviously crucial how companies manage to access and leverage crowds. New strategies are needed.

                      From this point of departure, the course will develop the conceptual foundations, frameworks and methods for analyzing the relationships between communities and firms. The focus will be on firm responses to outside communities’ development activities, inside community processes and dynamics, how to access and leverage innovation communities, how to manage and strategize in this context, and how to foster communities and platforms as well as create related fitting business models.

Teaching methods
The course will employ a variety of teaching forms, including lectures, interactive case based sessions, hands-on exercises, and guest lectures by practitioners.
Expected literature

Boudreau K, Lakhani K. 2013. Using the crowd as an innovation partner. Harvard Business Review 91(4): 60-69, 140.


Burtch et al 2013: An Empirical examination of the antecedents and consequences of contribution patterns in Crowd-funded markets, Information Systems Research 24, 3: 499-519


Fosfuri-Giarratana-Roca, Community-focused Strategies, Strategic Organization, 9(3): 222-239. 2011.


Jeppesen, LB & Frederiksen, L 2006, 'Why Do Users Contribute to Firm-Hosted User Communities?: The Case of Computer-Controlled Music Instruments' Organization Science, 17 (1), pp. 45-63.


Muñiz Jr, A.M., O’Guinn, T.C., 2001. Brand Community. Journal of Consumer Research 27 (4), 412-432.


Shah and Tripsas, 2007, The Accidental Entrepreneur: The Emergent And Collective Process Of User Entrepreneurship, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal 1, 123-140


Varian, Hal, Beyond Big Data. http:/​/​people.ischool.berkeley.edu/​~hal/​Papers/​2013/​BeyondBigDataPaperFINAL.pdf


von Hippel, 2005 Democratizing Innovation, MIT Press, Chapter 7



Threadless: The Business of Community: Lakhani, Karim R., and Zahra Kanji.  Harvard Business School Video Case 608-707, June 2008


From Community to platform Lakhani, Karim R., Harvard Business School Electronic Case, Spring 2014


TopCoder (A): Developing Software through Crowdsourcing Lakhani, Karim, D.A. Garvin, E Lonstein, Harvard Business School Case 2010.

Last updated on 10-09-2014