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2022/2023  KAN-CINTV2021U  Designing Digital Business

English Title
Designing Digital Business

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 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
Max. participants 90
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Ben Eaton - Department of Digitalisation
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 03-08-2022

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students are expected to fulfil the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or omissions
  • Relate the key characteristics of digital technology to new business initiatives.
  • Create a "proof-of-concept" of a business initiative that draws on digital technologies
  • Reflect and defend a specific solution to a business problem using design thinking methodology introduced in the course
  • Identify issues related to the sustainability of specific digital business initiatives
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
Compulsory home assignments
In order to qualify for the final exam, students need to have one mandatory assignment approved.

The mandatory assignment is a portfolio of group work that documents student group work over the semester (maximum 15 pages), and it is expected that students report all steps of their work on a proof-of-concept using tools, frameworks, and ideas covered in class to explain the design of a digital business initiative. Specifically, portfolios are expected to contain the following elements: i) the chosen case, ii) a short description of the business idea developed by the group. iii) all relevant material the group has worked on during the interactive workshop sessions incl. test cards, learning cards, business model, value map, etc.

If a student cannot hand in 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: (max. 15 page individual home assignment that shows that the student has covered the course material and applied it to a case description.)
Designing Digital Business:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 48 hours to prepare
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 final exam is a 48hr take home assignment that is written individually. As part of the assignment, each student will answer a number of predefined questions that relate to the case they have worked on with their group over the semester. 

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Digitalization is the new reality for most organizations. Accelerated technological change, increasing complexity, and intensifying competition are the major forces that leaders must cope with in today’s business. Hence, business as usual is dead in the digital age and radical innovation is needed to ensure future growth in organizations. Consequently, businesses must shift from a ‘know it all’ to ‘learn it all’ mindset and leverage digital technologies. However, implementing digital business initiatives is not straight forward. Regardless of whether a firm is established or starting up, delivering digital products, transforming a process, or integrating skills and roles needed for digital transformation is non-trivial for most organizations.


Against this backdrop, the purpose of this course is to provide a design thinking mindset for the students. This course offers a series of hands-on tutorials around the implementation of digital business initiatives. The objective is for students to acquire the skills and tools necessary to assess and execute the delivery of digital business initiatives. The course will enable students to convert potential ideas into scalable business models by building, and testing solutions. This course will teach you the art of validating digital business model’s desirability, viability and feasibility – through systematic and practical thinking based on gathering tangible evidence.



Key topics and techniques include, but are not limited to:

  • Design Thinking and Business Innovation
  • Business Model Design and Process 
  • Ideation and Business Prototyping
  • Value Proposition Design and Customer Discovery 
  • Experiment Techniques and Customer Insights 
  • Business Model Mechanics and Patterns
  • Innovation Risks
Description of the teaching methods
The course comprises of 10 sessions of workshops and lecture elements. Sessions are based on a mix of on campus and online lecture material and hands-on learning in interactive workshops with support and guidance. The lecture elements will introduce analysis techniques which will then be applied to a specific problem during the interactive workshops. The course thus iterates constantly between explanations and hands-on exercises, with a focus on a pragmatic approach to delivering a business solution using digital technologies. Students will learn and apply concepts and ideas in a highly interactive and engaging format. Students are expected to cover lecture material as well as actively participate in discussions and in-class activity.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students receive feedback through the following mechanisms:
All group receive feedback during discussions with lecturers in the interactive workshops. Additionally, students have an opportunity to present a work-in-progress to receive feedback on their idea half-way through the course. All lecturers are available for feedback during consultation hours in person or remote.
Student workload
Online lectures 20 hours
In-class instruction: interactive workshops 30 hours
session preparation and reading 32 hours
working on group projects 100 hours
exam incl. individual preparation 24 hours
Total 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 any material.


Research Articles:


Blank (2019) Why Companies Do “Innovation Theater” Instead of Actual Innovation, Harvard Business Review
Hagiu and Altman (2017), Finding The Platform in Your Product, Harvard Business Review
Johnson M. W. et al., (2008), Reinventing Your Business Model, Harvard Business Review
Knight et al. (2020), Design-Led Strategy, How To Bring Design Thinking into the Art of Strategic Management, California Management Review
Magretta, J. (2002) Why Business Models Matter, Harvard Business Review 
Osterwalder, A. (2015), The C-Suite Needs a Chief Entrepreneur, Harvard Business Review
Swahney et al (2006), The 12 Different Ways for Companies to Innovate, MIT Sloan Management Review
Thompson et al. (2020), Why Innovation’s Future Isn’t (Just) Open, MIT Sloan Management Review
Van Alstyne, M. W. et al. (2016), Pipelines, Platforms,and the New Rules of Strategy, Harvard Business Review

Book (Chapters):

Hukal, P., and Henfridsson, O. (2017). “Digital Innovation – A Definition and Integrated Perspective,” in The Routledge Companion to Management Information Systems, R. D. Galliers and M.-K. Stein (eds.), Routledge, pp. 360–369.

Steve Blank (2012), The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company


Stickdorn and Schneider (2016), This is service design thinking: Basics – Tools – Cases
Five principles of service design thinking, p. 24 – 46 (12 pages) 

Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur (2010), Business Model Generation, Wiley:London


Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur (2014), Value Proposition Design, Wiley:London


Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur (2019), Testing Business Ideas, Wiley:London


Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur (2020) The Invincible Company, Wiley:London


Last updated on 03-08-2022