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2019/2020  KAN-CCBLV1024U  Shoes for the Cobblers Children: Designing imaginative Business models

English Title
Shoes for the Cobblers Children: Designing imaginative Business models

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Third Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc and MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Sudhanshu Rai - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
  • Management
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 06/06/2019

Relevant links

Learning objectives
At the end of the course and reflected in the written exam report the student should be able to:
  • Show an understanding of a business model
  • Explain how to analyze a business model
  • Demonstrate how to build a business model
  • Demonstrate how to deploy a business model
  • Synthesize and deploy a business model
Course prerequisites
Students wanting to take this elective should have basic knowledge of economics, innovation theory and an elementary understanding of accounting principles. While economic and innovation theories are strongly desirable, understanding accounting principles will be useful.
Shoes for the Cobblers Children: Designing imaginative Business models:
Exam ECTS 7.5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Scientific paper
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Spring
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The students outline the conceptual product, the purpose of the product, which problem they solve and the business model that is designed to support the product. To substantiate these ideas students must be able to integrate theory, with their experiences from the class, with their reflections from the personal diary and references to the scrum report if and when required.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Assuming the cobbler has many children, with each of them diverse in their mannerisms and habits, lifestyles, world views, all needing shoes that fit their current disposition. How should the cobbler address making the shoes for his children? He needs to be sensitive to not only the physical design of the shoe, the making of it and the materials for the shoe. He also needs to be sensitive to the nature of his children, the season of the year and when do they need and use the shoe most. In effect besides the practical innovative challenge which is to develop a customized shoe for his unique children, he also has to incorporate the softer aspects of the nature, habits and preferences of his children regarding the kind of shoe they want and when they intend to use it; in which case the practical and tangible innovativeness of the cobbler needs to be combined with a good understanding of his children’s convenience, hopes and aspirations.


In a similar manner when we develop innovative products or services we need to look at the nature of the business model, its design should not be generic but specific to the product or services being developed. The question then is how to design products and services for the emerging economy that can help create new markets. The course explores the role of the business model in customizing and leveraging the innovation for the market so that customers are open to consuming the innovative product because the business models supports the product and is flexible enough to be customized to the needs of the consumer. Business models are critical to the success of innovation that is meant for the market therefore designing the business model becomes complex and critical if it is focused on customization allowing for agility and flexibility.


During the course we will also explore the diverse nature and types of business models so that students can get a perspective on the different types of business models that can be created to support the product or services, the context in which this course will be delivered will be the emerging economy.


The themes are as follows;

  • What is a business model, its purpose and utility during the innovation process
  • What is meant by designing a business model?
  • Identifying and understanding the components of the business model
  • Aligning the model with the product or services
  • What is customized business model, how is it different from agility
  • Prototyping business models
  • How integrated must the product and business model design be.
  • When and how to deploy the business model


Classroom activities

Due to its experiential nature, students will be encouraged to participate in classroom activities which will consist of lectures, workshops, group work, games and discussions. Just reading the literature prescribed may not be sufficient to understand how to build a business model.


While learning will ensue through immersion and experience in the classroom, students will use additional tools, like the scrum report, personal diary, literature references as a scaffold to support their learning experience in the classroom.


An important aspect of this class is group work during class hours. Since the class will be divided into groups we encourage students to be mindful and consider attending the classes as regularly as possible. Their participation in class activities will be beneficial to them as well as their group members.


In order to account for the experiences and reflections, the students will each maintain a personal diary. This diary should be initiated at the beginning of the course and written into after the end of every session in the evening. The diary should have the student’s reflections and learnings after every class, their doubts, understanding and excitements. This diary should be maintained throughout the course of the class and its content should be integrated into the final report dedicated to developing the business model.


Two students will be requested to volunteer to write the scrum report, the scrum report is a document reflecting the class activities, learnings of the students in class, limitations of the lectures at every stage of the process: some additional multimedia references should be included in the scrum report that could help the class better understand the subject matter of that specific class, hence the scrum report is the students documentation of their learnings, critiques and additional information.

Description of the teaching methods
The teaching methodology will take the format of workshop and seminars and is designed to be interactive, reflective and engaging. Contact hours will primarily focus on reflective thinking, critical appreciation and hands on experiential understanding of the business model design and development process through dialogue and analysis of learning by doing.

The process of the seminars and workshops will develop along two parallel trajectories; the first: the theoretical work where evaluation and analysis of the business model literature will be engaged. The second aspect of this course is the practice or the experience element. Here the student will get their hands dirty by engaging with innovation from scratch. This experience will be simulated across the entire course work in the class, while this is proceeding students will start identifying the diverse components of the business model, testing its efficacy in relation to the product or services they are conceptualizing during class workshops and seminars.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback will be given in real time during workshops, seminars during the class. Students are also welcome to contact me at any time during office hours subject to appointments.
Student workload
Preparation 128 hours
Teaching 30 hours
Examination 48 hours
Expected literature

Here are some indicative references, a fuller more comprehensive list will be provided one month prior to the course.


  • Christensen, C. M. & Bower, J. L. (1995): Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave. Harvard Busi-ness Review 73, no. 1 (January–February 1995): 43–53.
  • Clausen, T.H. and Rasmussen, E. J. Parallel business models and the innovativeness of researchbased spin-off ventures . The Journal of Technology Transfer. December 2013, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 836–849.
  • Elliot, J. E. (1980). Marx and Schumpeter on Capitalism’s Creative Destruction: A Comparative Restatement. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 95 (1), pp. 45-68
  • Berman, S and J., Kesterson-Townes, Lyn, Marshall, Anthony and Srivathsa, Rohini. The Power of Cloud. Driving Business Models Innovation. IBM Institute for Business Value. Strategy and Transformation. IBM Global Business Service, Executive report. February 2012, USA.
  • Shafer, Scott M, Smith, H. Jeff, Linder, Jane C. (2005)  The power of business models. Indiana University. Kelly School of business. Elsevier Business Horizons 48, 199-207.
  • Hart, S. L., & Milstein, M. B. (1999). Global sustainability and the creative destruction of industries. Sloan Management Review , 41 (1), 23-33
  • Govindarajan, Vijay and Trimble, Chris. The CEO’s Role in Business Model Reinvention. Harvard Business Review. Innovation. From the January-February 2011 Issue
Last updated on 06/06/2019