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2022/2023  KAN-CCBLV1039U  Designing Imaginative Business Models

English Title
Designing Imaginative Business Models

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 15 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 15
Max. participants 35
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 25-05-2022

Relevant links

Learning objectives
At the end of the course and reflected in the written exam report the student should be able to:
  • Demonstrate the importance of business model within innovation theory
  • Show an understanding of what constitutes a business model
  • Synthesize and deploy a business model based on the immersed experience in India
  • Critically reflect about the efficacy of deploying a business model in the real world and its impact on the business
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. Students from all master programs are invited to apply.

Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved (see section 13 of the Programme Regulations): 1
Oral presentations etc.
Participation in the entire immersion experience - including submission of report and oral presentation of findings - in India
Designing imaginative Business models:
Exam ECTS 15
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, see also the rules about examination forms in the programme regulations.
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Report
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 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 Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The examination will consist of a written product followed by an oral exam based on the written product submitted individually where 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. This written product must contain learnings and reflections from the immersion experience, and their classroom activities. Students must be able to integrate theory, with their personal diary, scrum report and activities from the classroom to illustrate their learnings, clearly demonstrating their understanding of what a business model is and its role within innovation theory, explore and explain business model constitution, How to deploy a business model and reflect about how to deploy the business model in the real world. The written product is a synthesis of all activities undertaken in this course, it must reflect the rich experiences and insights the students have had during this course. The product is an illustration of the students learning reflected in this integrated presentation.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

To sign up for the course a 1-page motivational letter must be send to: disp-blc@cbs.dk   no later than the 1st of May 2022 at 17.00 for the 1st registration round and 14th of June at 23.59 at the latest for the 2nd registration round.

This motivational letter is the qualifier and seats will be allocated based on the convincing nature of the motivational letter. This is because the seats are limited and the intensity of experience challenging.  The key point to be addressed in the letter is why should you be given this opportunity? How will you make the best use of this opportunity? Remember to sign up for the course through the online registration at the same time you send in the letter.


Assuming an entrepreneurial intent begins with an aim to take advantage of an opportunity identified by the entrepreneur: he needs to determine the nature of the opportunity and efficacy of his assumptions. How he plans to take advantage of the state of the art in organizing for business, designing for generating value/ revenue. He needs to acknowledge his customers are diverse, in their mannerisms and habits, lifestyles, world views, all needing services that fit their current disposition. How should the entrepreneur address this diversity in the opportunity he notices. He needs to be sensitive to not only the physical design of his offering, the making of it and his value proposition for his service. The entrepreneur needs to be contextually embedded to the state of the art and the market for resources and materials. Posing a practical challenge requiring him to develop a customized offering, incorporating the softer aspects of the nature and preferences of his customers? In effect the product is shaped by the nature of his customers, their behavior and lifestyle. How to design novel business models that supports products and services that can help create new markets.


The course explores and creates a learning environment in which students can appreciate the importance and role of the business model in customizing and leveraging value. Business models are critical to the success of an innovation, hence learning how to understand and design a business model is critical for the growth of a business.The approach to business model will emerge from the context where the course is being taught, in relation to the Nordic 9. Linking innovative business models in this region to the world at large. The course has two components, the classroom activities in Copenhagen and an experiential part in India, where students will be exposed to real life challenges in developing business models. This will allow the student to embed themselves in a real business for a period of three weeks. India provides a vibrant as well as a challenging context to the task of understanding how business models can be designed for success. The Indian immersion can take place in relative safety and ease as the working language is in English and the context is known. The economic ecosystem is liberal and the business mechanics are internationally aligned in terms of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems. 


The themes are as follows.

  • What is a business model, its purpose and utility during the innovation process
  • What is meant by business model design?
  • How do innovators deploy business models?
  • How to understand theoretical value and apply it in the real world?
  • Making a case for a business model.
  • Identifying and understanding the components of the business model
  •  Aligning the model with innovation theories?
  • How to use immersion to reflect about innovation theory in practice?
  • When and how to deploy the business model?


Classroom activities

The classroom activities will take place in Copenhagen in an interactive, workshop mode. The activities will consist of lectures, workshops, group work, games. The class will be divided into groups, therefore 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 to their group members. Just reading the literature prescribed may not be sufficient to understand how to build a business model.  During this period focus will be given on understanding the components of business models, its contexts, and the notion of value it can bring to the business. Emphasis in the classroom will be given to a theoretical understanding of a business model, focusing on learning how to frame the business model as a deployable artifact.


To capture learnings from both the classroom and later from immersion in India, 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. The diary should have the student’s reflections and learnings after every class, their doubts, understanding and insights. This diary should be maintained throughout the course of the class.


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 relevant to the topic helping 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, including points not understood during the course of the class.



Further comments:

  1. The course can only run if a minimum of 25 students are enrolled. This will be assessed shortly after the deadline for enrolment. 
  2. Students are required to draft a motivational letter when enrolling.
  3. Students need to cover the costs of flight and accommodation, food, transport etc. during the immersion experience. This is estimated to be around DKK 10.000 in total (4-5000 DKK for the air ticket, 3-5000 DKK for accommodation, food, insurance, vaccinations, visa and local transport).
  4. The immersion experience takes place in India.



If the three weeks immersion is cancelled due to Covid-19, we will do the immersion locally in Copenhagen based on the same principles and ideas and during the same three weeks as allocated for the immersion experience. Students will be required to immerse themselves in companies that are startup and struggling. The focus of the intervention group will be to look at the business models of their companies, using literature and class experience. The work will need to be either off line or online depending on the companies and the intervention group’s agreement with the companies. In line with the original proposal, reflection will then be online every day, after the groups work at the company. The reflection session will be in the evening. If students have a company they want to do their immersion in, which is not part of the list of companies for immersion;  they are welcome to suggest the name of the company to the teacher in advance for smooth running of the course.


3-week immersion experience in India


Part 1

  • 5 lectures in Copenhagen before immersion and one summing up lecture in Copenhagen post immersion.

Part 2 Immersion

  • Travel to Hyderabad Via Delhi or Mumbai, which ever is cheaper.
  • Company introduction. Company dialogue, question and answers
  • Company visits, on location work, including feedback and personalized attention
  • Feedback and personalized attention.
  • Cultural events
  • Reflection sessions

Some useful links from previous immersion experiences




Description of the teaching methods
The teaching methodology will take the format of workshop, seminars and on location immersion and reflection sessions designed to be interactive, reflective, and engaging. Lectures (workshops and seminars) will primarily focus on reflective thinking, critical appreciation, and hands on experiential understanding of the business model literature. Focusing on the idea of business model development process and its deployment through dialogue and reflection.

An important part of this elective is the immersion aspect of the teaching methodology. How to apply their theoretical knowledge to the practical real-world scenario, during the three weeks of immersion students will reflect, appreciate how to adjust, redesign and modify what they have learnt in theory about business model and apply it to the real world. The focus during the immersion will be in trying to capture the challenges of the empirical context, show immersive resilience by adopting the theoretical understanding of what a business model is to practical challenges in continuing to support the innovative practices of the companies they are embedded.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback will be given in three forms, the first being group feedback during class workshops and seminars. The second, personal feedback sessions during the immersion period. The third, collective feedback to the entire class during the reflection sessions each evening during the immersion process. Feedback is a critical part of the design of this course and it will be provided regularly during the entire duration of the course.
Student workload
Preparation 128 hours
Teaching 30 hours
Examination, including immersion experience 254 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 25-05-2022