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2023/2024  KAN-CCMVV2321U  Entrepreneurial Experimentation: Risk Literacy and Heuristics

English Title
Entrepreneurial Experimentation: Risk Literacy and Heuristics

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
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
Course coordinator
  • Timo Ehrig - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Management
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 16-02-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
After the course, it is expected that the participants can:
  • describe and explain a set of core theoretical insights from research on how entrepreneurs can cope with risk, uncertainty, and experimentation
  • apply such coping strategies successfully in entrepreneurial and corporate settings
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
The student must get approval for 1 out of 2 assignments in order to attend the ordinary exam.

Both assignments are written in a group but is evaluated individually. The group members must prepare a statement that outlines each individual's contribution to the assignment. The assignment is evaluated internally on a pass/fail basis. The purpose of the assignments is to provide students feedback concerning their ability to use the competencies gained in the course.

The student will not have extra attempts to get the required number of compulsory activities approved prior to the ordinary exam. If the student has not received approval for the required number of compulsory activities or has been ill, the student cannot participate in ordinary exam. Prior to the retake the student will be given an extra attempt. The extra attempt is a 10 page home assignment that will cover the required number of compulsory activities. If approved, the student will be able to attend retake. Please note that students must have made an effort in the allocated assignments thoughout the course. Students that do not participate in the assignments (no show/U) are not entitled to the extra assignment and will have to wait until the next ordinary exam to complete the course.
Entrepreneurial Experimentation: Risk Literacy and Heuristics:
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
Release of assignment Subject chosen by students themselves, see guidelines if any
Duration 2 weeks to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
The assignment for the re-exam is the same as for the initial exam. If the student fails the ordinary exam the course coordinator chooses whether the student will have to hand in a revised product for the re- take or a new project.
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Most of today’s entrepreneurial decisions must be made facing deep uncertainty. We can no longer straightforwardly evaluate known risks but need to re-learn relations that characterize business environments. New decision patterns have to be learned rather quickly, for instance, in the new inflationary environment.
We have far less control over the outcomes of our decisions and need tools for coping with the next unexpected big change. How can we not just cope with, but even harness and turn deep uncertainty into a benefit for us? The unique contribution of this elective is to apply insights from cutting-edge research (Gigerenzer, Taleb, Gambardella) into successful strategies for coping with deep uncertainty in actual cases of the elective students. We will start with learning tools to improve our risk literacy. Using this as a solid basis, we will explore tools to cope with deeper forms of uncertainty. In particular, a wave of recent contributions shares the idea that strategists can generate knowledge under uncertainty by acting like scientists (Gans, Stern, Wu, 2019; Camuffo, Cordova, Gambardella, & Spina, 2020). We will operationalize this idea and learn to formulate hypotheses about concrete business developments and test them using simple heuristics or experiments.
Thus, the course contains a significant experiential element where students can learn via cases that may affect their actual decision-making in 2023 and 2024. These hands-on experiences will then be reflected through academic literature and in-class case discussion. The final exam combines these theoretical and case elements.
The course will emphasize open discussions and will use a mixture of theory and case studies to engage students in the classroom. To have an optimal mix between theory and practice, 11 lectures of each 2 hours will be accompanied by 9 case presentation sessions of 1 hour each. Topics and readings for each session are published as course outlines via Canvas.

Description of the teaching methods
The eleven lectures are to a large extent literature-based and will also incorporate short cases to discuss some of the challenges of entrepreneurial experimentation. We intend to engage in a dialogue-based teaching approach. Thus, to gain the most benefit from class sessions students should be prepared to take an active part in class discussions and to prepare the readings thoroughly.

We boost the interactive components of the course by incorporating case presentations of students. Students will form groups to present cases that are assigned in the first two lectures. Each student will be responsible for one slide in a case presentation. This slide is the mandatory assignment that must be passed to get admission to the final exam.
Feedback during the teaching period
The design of the course follows a proactive feedback philosophy by ex-ante mirroring the exam. Students are repeatedly exposed to learning objectives and exam sub-tasks. In particular, students will receive detailed feedback after their case presentation (the mandatory assignment). Moreover, we will discuss writing samples of the students in class to give students a clear idea on how their final exams will be graded.

In related preparation sessions, students can ask for detailed feedback on their performance. Hence, they have opportunities for feedback all along the course, and well before they enter the actual exam. Parts of the final lecture are used to recap material, provide overarching feedback, and invite detailed student questions.
Student workload
Classroom 30 hours
Classroom preparation (readings, cases) 76 hours
Case Research and Presentation 50 hours
Exam 50 hours
Expected literature

Camuffo, A., Cordova, A., Gambardella, A., & Spina, C. (2020). A scientific approach to entrepreneurial decision making: Evidence from a randomized control trial. Management Science, 66(2), 564-586.

Gans, J. S., Stern, S. & Wu, J. (2019). Foundations of entrepreneurial strategy. Strategic Management Journal, 40(5), 736-756.

Ehrig, T. & Schmidt, J. (2019) Making biased but better predictions: The trade-offs strategists face when they learn and use heuristics. Strategic Organization, https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1177/​1476127019869646

Gigerenzer, G. (2015). Risk savvy: How to make good decisions. Penguin.

Gigerenzer, G., & Brighton, H. (2009). Homo heuristicus: Why biased minds make better inferences. Topics in cognitive science, 1(1), 107-143.

Taleb, N. N. (2012). Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder (Vol. 3). Random House Incorporated.

Last updated on 16-02-2023