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Digital Innovation

  • Teacher(s):  
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits:
  • Schedule: Spring Semester 2021-2022, 4.0h. course (weekly average)
      WARNING :   this is an old version of the syllabus, old versions contain   OBSOLETE   data.
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Over the past decades, a number of innovative companies have made headlines because of their ability to leverage digital technologies to change what business they do and how they do that business. While companies such as Amazon, Airbnb, or Alphabet each are a well-known poster child of the digital innovation movement, more and more industries are on the verge of digital disruption (Yokoi et al. 2019). This development seems further accelerated by a set of specific characteristics that digital technologies bring to the table (e.g., Brynjolfsson and McAfee 2014; Fichman et al. 2014; Nambisan et al. 2017), each of which capable of impacting and transforming what we know about what innovation is and how it works.

With innovation often recognized as an enduring driver of organizations’ ability to generate value sustainably, future managers, entrepreneurs, and policy makers need to be aware of the impact that digitalization has on innovation of both products and processes. Against this backdrop, the lecture Digital Innovation provides you with an opportunity to understand and explore the impact of digitalization on innovation and build a fundamental set of key competencies to generate and manage digital innovations in increasingly digitalized societies.

Once you have successfully completed this course you have the knowledge and skills to …

  • explain how digitalization impacts products and processes
  • identify different objects of digital innovation
  • innovate in a digital context and manage digital innovation projects
  • evaluate the ethical implications of digitalization
  • apply relevant conceptual knowledge to real-life cases

These learning goals capture a rich set of skills and capabilities relevant to a broad range of professions and industries. In the context of this lecture, innovating in a digital context is expressly not thought of as the responsibility of IT or technical experts. Quite to the contrary, the lecture is open to and addresses all of an organization’s functional facets and thinks of digital innovation as an important core competency of successful future professionals and organizations—also beyond the world of business alone. In this spirit, the course will enable and empower you to embrace digital innovation as an integrative interface competency, which allows you to bring together digital technologies, your organizations’ capabilities and resources, and as yet undiscovered or unsatisfied customer or market needs to build superior digitally-enabled business models.


To achieve these goals, the course Digital Innovation is structured around two modules that provide complementary content and teaching methods.

Module 1 introduces key concepts, ideas, and skills relevant in the context digital innovation. The module specifically focuses on exploring the meaning of ‘the digital’ and how digitalization changes extant concepts of innovation. The module provides a balanced foundation of background knowledge as well as personal and managerial skills to enable you to handle digital innovations in practice. This module leverages a mostly lecture-based format to convey the necessary foundational knowledge and provides you with opportunities to get involved – both individually and in groups – through a series of smaller exercises and open discussions on the key materials.

Module 2 leverages the enablement provided in Module 1 and empowers you, as part of a small team, to become a digital innovator. As a team, you go through the process of designing a digital innovation yourselves. The lecture defines a set of steps to guide you through the process such that you and your team will gradually work through the stages of digital innovation while applying the thinking, models, and concepts we discussed in Module 1. We will also be working in a common context (to be revealed before the start of Module 2) in order to be able to provide feedback on each other’s work. Module 2 will strongly rely on teamwork in smaller breakout groups to provide you and your teammates time to work on your ideas.


There is a total of 18 readings that are mandatory for Module 1 of this class. Module 2 will selective introduce additional literature to support students' digital innovation projects. For details on the course literature, please consult the full-text version of the syllabus to be shared on Moodle.


The course is taught in English in its entirety. A sufficient command of English in both spoken and written communication is an essential prerequisite for participation.

Furthermore, having attended the undergraduate course “Introduction to Information Systems” (or equivalent) is highly encouraged.

Other than that, the course does not require you to have completed any prerequisites other than those that apply to the MSc IS program overall. In particular, no specific technical skills or experiences are required and the course is open to students from a wide variety of backgrounds.


First attempt

Without exam (cf. terms)  

The evaluation in this class is based on an individual exam and a group assignment:

  • 40% individual exam (mid-term, take-home exam)
  • 60% group assignment


Without exam (cf. terms)  

Retake evaluation in this class is based on an individual assignment and a group assignment (details specified in the full-text syllabus):

  • 40% individual exam (take-home exam)
  • 60% group assignment

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