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2019/2020  KAN-CINTO3004U  Innovation Strategies in a Digital World

English Title
Innovation Strategies in a Digital World

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Ben Eaton - Department of Digitalisation
Main academic disciplines
  • Information technology
  • Innovation
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 04-06-2019

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: After completing the course students should demonstrate:
  • Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and frameworks concerning digital innovation and innovation strategy
  • Knowledge and understanding concerning the relationship between innovation and information systems, at organizational and societal levels
  • Ability to identify key challenges of digital innovation in a global economy
  • Ability to analyze and critique cases concerning digital innovation in business and public sector, using appropriate course frameworks
  • Ability to discuss theoretical issues of digital innovation
  • Critical evaluation of state-of-the-art theory concerning digital innovation and innovation strategy
Course prerequisites
Basic understanding about business and strategy
Basic understanding about digital technology
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved: 1
Oral presentations etc.
Students must complete a group project in teams of about 5 individuals, where groups will develop a case study describing and explaining the digital innovation strategy of a Danish or an international organization using concepts from the course.

At the end of the course, each group must develop a presentation (max 10 PowerPoint slides) summarizing their case study. They will upload and submit this presentation as well as presenting their case in class. The presentation will be given by the whole group, and will provide material for their individual exam assignment. This activity is compulsory and must be approved in order for individuals to participate in the exam.

If a student cannot participate due to documented illness, or if a student does not get the activity approved in spite of making a real attempt, then the student will be given one extra attempt before the ordinary exam. The extra attempt will require handing in a written report of 10 pages on a topic assigned by the course instructor.
Innovation Strategies in a Digital World:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
The re-take exam will be similar to the ordinary exam; Individual home based assignment, open book, based on writing up the students interpretation of their group's case study of a Danish or International organisation's strategic approach to digital innovation.
Description of the exam procedure

Individual home based assignment based on writing up the students interpretation of their group's case study of a Danish or International organisation's strategic approach to digital innovation.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Digitalization is disrupting whole industries, changing the nature of our work and the way we live our lives. At the heart of this is digitality, or the characteristics of digital technology, which profoundly change our capacity for innovation. The ambition of this course is to help us understand why this is the case, the changing role of traditional innovation theory in the context of digitality and the importance of new digitally focussed theory in explaining innovation. The course broadly divides into three areas which considers 1) digital innovation at the level of an industry; 2) the formulation of digital innovation strategy at the level of the company; 3) the implementation of digital strategy at the level of the company. The course aims to help students advance their careers by enabling them understand, critique and positively influence organisational digital innovation strategy.


The course will consist of twelve 4-hour sessions. The first 10 sessions will be split into two equal parts: a two hour lecture, and a two hour workshop for teams to develop case studies as group projects. The final 2 sessions will be used for teams to present their group projects.


In the 10 lectures, a combination of lecture-mode instruction and case discussion will be used to enable students to identify and describe characteristics, concepts, theoretical frameworks, and principles of digital innovation and innovation strategy.


In the 10 workshops, students will work in teams developing case studies of digital innovation in Danish and international organisations. The group project enables students to develop knowledge and skills in describing opportunities, challenges and consequences for digital innovation in organisations.

Description of the teaching methods
The first 10 sessions will be split into two equal parts: a two hour lecture, and a two hour workshop for teams to develop case studies as group projects. The final 2 sessions will be used for teams to present their group projects.

Students are expected to take active part in the development of workshops, in order to capture the most current trends and developments in the area. Developing, in groups, suitable exercises and content for one workshop is mandatory for course completion.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students will be working with their case studies throughout the course and will get continuous feedback on their work during the workshop sessions. Feedback on case studies will be given collectively and to groups during these sessions. I key point for the feedback is the possibility to write a broad proposal outlining the case study the group wish to develop. This would encompass a plan outlining the company they intend to study, the RQ, their plan for data collection and an outline idea of what parts of the course they intend to use to address the project.

Specific questions will be addressed during time set aside during class, and at the office hours.
Student workload
Preparation for class 86 hours
Lectures 28 hours
Workshop 20 hours
Exam and preparation 72 hours
Total hours 206 hours
Expected literature

The literature can be changed before the semester starts. Students are advised to find the final literature on Canvas before they buy the books.


  • Anderson, P. and Tushman, M.L., 1990. Technological discontinuities and dominant designs: A cyclical model of technological change. Administrative science quarterly, pp.604-633.
  • Argyres, N., Bigelow, L. and Nickerson, J.A., 2015. Dominant designs, innovation shocks, and the follower's dilemma. Strategic Management Journal, 36(2), pp.216-234..
  • Baldwin, C.Y. and Clark, K.B., 2003. Managing in an age of modularity. Managing in the modular age: Architectures, networks, and organizations, 149, pp.84-93.
  • Clark, K.B., 1985. The interaction of design hierarchies and market concepts in technological evolution. Research Policy, 14(5), pp.235-251.
  • Dosi, G., 1982. Technological paradigms and technological trajectories: a suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change. Research Policy, 11(3), pp.147-162.
  • Eaton, B., 2016, January. The Dynamics of Digital Platform Innovation: Apple's Strategy to Control Modular and Architectural Innovation in iOS. In System Sciences, 49th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (pp. 1287-1296). IEEE.
  • Faulkner, P. and Runde, J., The social, the material, and the ontology of non-material technological objects.
  • Ghazawneh, A. and Henfridsson, O., 2013. Balancing platform control and external contribution in third‐party development: the boundary resources model. Information Systems Journal, 23(2), pp.173-192.
  • Hanseth, O. and Lyytinen, K., 2010. Design theory for dynamic complexity in information infrastructures: the case of building internet. Journal of information Technology, 25(1), pp.1-19.
  • Henderson, R.M. and Clark, K.B., 1990. Architectural innovation: The reconfiguration of existing product technologies and the failure of established firms. Administrative Science Quarterly, pp.9-30.
  • HIPPEL, E., 1988. The sources of innovation. Oxford University Press
  • Jacobides, M.G., Knudsen, T. and Augier, M., 2006. Benefiting from innovation: Value creation, value appropriation and the role of industry architectures. Research Policy, 35(8), pp.1200-1221.
  • Kallinikos, J., Aaltonen, A. and Marton, A., 2013. The Ambivalent Ontology of Digital Artifacts. MIS Quarterly, 37(2).
  • Langlois, R.N., 2002. Modularity in technology and organization. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 49(1), pp.19-37.
  • Lieberman, M.B. and Montgomery, D.B., 1998. First‐mover (dis) advantages: retrospective and link with the resource‐based view. Strategic Management Journal, 19(12), pp.1111-1125.
  • Suarez, F.F., Grodal, S. and Gotsopoulos, A., 2015. Perfect timing? Dominant category, dominant design, and the window of opportunity for firm entry. Strategic Management Journal, 36(3), pp.437-448.
  • Tilson, D., Lyytinen, K. and Sørensen, C., 2010. Research commentary—Digital infrastructures: The missing IS research agenda. Information Systems Research, 21(4), pp.748-759.
  • Tiwana, A., Konsynski, B. and Bush, A.A., 2010. Research commentary—Platform evolution: Coevolution of platform architecture, governance, and environmental dynamics. Information Systems Research, 21(4), pp.675-687.
  • Ulrich, K., 1995. The role of product architecture in the manufacturing firm. Research Policy, 24(3), pp.419-440.
  • West, J., 2003. How open is open enough?: Melding proprietary and open source platform strategies. Research Policy, 32(7), pp.1259-1285.
  • Yoo, Y., Henfridsson, O. and Lyytinen, K., 2010. Research commentary—the new organizing logic of digital innovation: an agenda for information systems research. Information Systems Research, 21(4), pp.724-735.
  • Yoo, Y., Lyytinen, K.J., Boland, R. and Berente, N., 2010. The Next Wave of Digital Innovation: Opportunities and Challenges: A Report on the Research Workshop 'Digital Challenges in Innovation Research'.
  • Zittrain, J.L., 2006. The generative internet. Harvard Law Review, pp.1974-2040.
Last updated on 04-06-2019