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2019/2020  KAN-CCMVV2612U  Managing product development and innovation

English Title
Managing product development and innovation

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 80
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Claus Varnes - Department of Marketing (Marketing)
Please find contact information for Student Hub, student Guidiance Services etc. on My.cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation
  • Management
  • Organisation
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 11-02-2019

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The students will develop their competences in analyzing complex issues and an ability to focus on managerial dilemmas. Many decision-making situations in the student’s future career will challenge an evaluation of what is relevant and irrelevant. We hope to expand this competence with the focus on managing innovation that contains many strategic challenges and where an overemphasis on type of innovation, for instance, can be devastating for the other.

More specifically, the student will after the course be able to
• Assess the strategic role of innovation in companies and the historical perspective on the development of various technologies
• Define different types of innovations and managerial challenges related to those, especially the distinction between incremental and radical innovation
• Classify different management technologies for management of innovation in operations and in general, and being able to explain the concepts, their objectives, and application in practice.
• Distinguish between different views on the market-customer-technology relationships and the implications for company strategies and management of innovation activities.
• Improve any company's innovation efforts for increased performance
Managing Product Development and Innovation:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-4
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Definition of number of pages:
Groups of
2 students 5 pages max.
3-4 students 10 pages max

Note that the exam is a group exam. If you are not able to find a group yourself, you have to address the course coordinator who will place you in a group.

Students who wish to have an individual exam might be able to write a term paper in the course. Please see the cand.merc. rules for term papers for more information.
Assignment type Project
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
15 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Re-take exam is to be based on the same report as the ordinary exam:

* if a student is absent from the oral exam due to documented illness but has handed in the written group product she/he does not have to submit a new product for the re-take.

* if a whole group fails the oral exam they must hand in a revised product for the re-take.

* if one student in the group fails the oral exam the course coordinator chooses whether the student will have the oral exam on the basis of the same product or if he/she has to hand in a revised product for the re- take.
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The purpose of this course is twofold. First, we analyze how productivity can be increased via the right management tools. Generally, the success rate is 50 percent for both new products and a bit lower for new services. This constitutes a problem as many resources are allocated to nonprofitable activities. Hence, we will discuss how this can improved with tools such as portfolio management, voice-of-customer, Quality-Function-Deployment (QFD), KANOs design features, team composition, cross-functionality and the design of the Innovation Process, among others.  

However, as the second point, we embrace complexity and discuss the dilemmas in using these tools; do we imagine that we reduce uncertainty as we know more or are increasing ambiguity? Dilemmas are omnipresent in management practice and we will attempt to put them into the open learning space during the course to equip you as much as possible to the so-called ‘real life’ of innovation management. Hence, we will meet guest lectures that talks openly about solutions but also the difficulty in using and implementing them. Here, we shall use different theories from organizational theory and sociology to understand what qualifies as useand implementation. 

We will employ a textbook that is solutions-oriented and use journal articles to problematize. Another important point is that you will take part of a meta-theoretical journey where we will touch upon systems theory, contingency theory, decision-making theory, Actor-Network Theory, and others, to challenge the assumptions many scholars make about Innovation Management. Within the perspective of contingency theory, we will discuss the innovation process as market orientation (Stage-Gate) vs. customer orientation (Agile), but also the hybrid situation in which companies so often find themselves in practice.

The title of the course, indicates that the turning point is new products and services, but we will also address business models as another innovation type together with process innovation. The title of the course could therefore be more appropriately be labeled “Managing complexNew Product Development and Innovation”.

I am looking forward to seeing you. I always aim to create a ‘hyggelig’ learning environment. My strategy is to enable reflections to happen by being analytical in the class-room.


Please be aware that this course is also a part of a minor in Process and Innovation Management

Description of the teaching methods
Teaching is a combination of lecturing, group work and presentations, and student and teacher driven discussion. The teaching style is very informal to accelerate learning.

We will use two textbooks and continously contrast the perspectives in each book. This presents a good opportunity (also for the exam) for the exam to discuss similarities and dissimiliraties between the two books.

As a quarter course, we will have long days, but I will do what I can to make it interesting and inspiring. I have good experience with inviting people from coporate life to give us their hints to solving the dilemmas.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback will be provided during group presentations and continually throughout the interacting in class.
Student workload
Teaching 27 hours
Preparation 153 hours
Exams and exam preparation 26 hours
Further Information

This course is part of the minor in Process Management and Innovation, but students can choose this course independently.


Expected literature


  • Goffin and Michell (2017), Innovation Management

Some of the articles from the curriculum (changes may occur):

  • Brown, S. L. & Eisenhardt, K. M. 1995, "Product Development: Past Research, Present Findings, and Future Directions", The Academy of Management Review, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 343-378.
  • Cooper, R., Dreher, A., (2010) “Voice-of-Customer Methods: What is the Best Source of New-Products Ideas?”, Marketing Management 19 (4): 38-43.
  • Goffin, K., Varnes, J.C., van der Hoven, C., Koners U., (2012), ”Beyond the Voice of the Customer. Ethnographic Market Research” Research Technology Management, July-August.
  • Christiansen, J. C. and Varnes, C. J.: (2009): "Formal rules in product development: sense-making and use, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 26, pp. 502-519.
  • Christiansen, Birgitte Blomberg and Birgitte HollensenCo-constructing the brand and the product, International Journal of Innovation Management, (2009), Vol. 13, No. 3, (with J).·
  • Christiansen, J. C. and Varnes, C. J.: (2007): "Making Decisions on Innovation: Meetings or Networks?", Creativity and Innovation Management Journal, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 282-298.  
  • Bentzen, E., Christiansen, J.C., and Varnes, C.J. (2011): "Decision maker’s attention and quality of information at NPD meetings", Management Decision, Vol. 49, No. 3.
  • Christiansen, J. C. and Varnes, C. J.: (2008): "From models to practice: decision-making at portfolio meetings", International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, special issue: Best practice project portfolio management, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 87-101.
Last updated on 11-02-2019