Course Syllabus

Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Europe A

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Innovation and Entrepreurship program at DIS Copenhagen

Semester & Location:

Spring 2019 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:

Southern Sweden & Dublin 

Major Disciplines:

Business, Entrepreneurship, Leadership Studies

Faculty Members:

Mikael Fuhr

Program Director:

Susanne Gaul Hovmand - sgh@dis.dk

Program Coordinator:

Adeline Reiser - are@dis.dk

Program Assistant:

Ali Cohen - aac@dis.dk
Time & Place:

Thursdays, 14.50 - 17.45, F24-302


Course Description

✏️  Blog for our class

📸  Google Photos for our class

Links to the Danish startup community: #CPHFTW, TheHub, Event calendar, Another event calendarCrunchbase (not Danish)

 

This core course is aimed at students interested in learning tools and skills required to succeed as entrepreneurs — and in applying these tools in a real-life project.

You will work in teams (expect a fair amount of group work!) on your own business challenge, get advice on process and tools from experienced mentors, inspiration from cases and academic visits and hands-on experience tackling the challenges faced by real-life entrepreneurs.

You will assume an entrepreneurial and innovative mindset. You will employ modern methods like Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas, Design Thinking, Value Proposition Design and Customer Journey Mapping.

Initially, you will identify a problem in need of a solution by looking at customer needs. Through an intensive process you will then build hypotheses about your solutions, customers etc. and validate these hands-on by conducting interviews and building explainer videos, websites or other representations of your hypotheses.

You will work toward pitching your business idea to real investors and entrepreneurs.

You will get exposed to some of the main Danish and Irish players within entrepreneurship, including startups in knowledge-intensive industries. The course will be a great opportunity to build a strong network in the northern European startup scene, seen as an up-and-coming global region for startups, especially in IT and pharma.

 

Learning objectives

  • Learning methods for identifying customer needs and continuously getting feedback on solutions
  • Developing a Business Model for a startup venture
  • Building a Minimum Viable Product (prototype) and testing it with customers
  • Preparing and delivering an effective pitch of your business idea
  • Understanding that entrepreneurship is an inherently dynamic process that requires a balance between planned focus and flexibility and gaining the tools to better manage such a process
  • Understanding that failure is inevitable in entrepreneurship and in innovation… but a great source of learning and inspiration
  • Through the study tours getting an understanding of the role and interplay between different actors on the entrepreneurial scene (Entrepreneurs, Science parks, Venture capitalists, Incubators/Acceleration programs, Policymakers)
  • Actively engaging in the entrepreneurship and innovation communities in Denmark, Sweden and Ireland.

Please check these tips for thriving in the course. And check our blog, Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Faculty: Mikael Fuhr, mikael.fuhr@dis.dk

Architect and Industrial Designer. Extensive experience in strategic design, innovation, communication and leadership. Design manager and project manager in DSB (Danish State Railways), Head of Design Vision Lab, Director of Design in DSB, Founder of FUHR.

DIS contacts

Susanne Hovmand, Program Director, sgh@dis.dk

Adeline Reiser, Program Coordinator, are@dis.dk

Literature list

  • Ries, Eric: The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, 2011 (primarily chapters 1-6 and 8)
  • Kawasaki, Guy: The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything, 2004
  • Osterwalder, Alexander, et.al.: Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers and Challengers, 2010
  • Osterwalder, Alexander, et.al.: Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want, 2010
  • Constable, Giff: Talking To Humans
  • Cases and articles TBA
  • Course blog for cases, comments and clips: http://entrepreneurshipinnovation.tumblr.com

Core course week

This week is entirely dedicated to the core course and all other electives will be put on hold. The purpose is to have an intense focus on the course through workshops as well as a 3-day study tour to Southern Sweden.

Objectives of the core course week:

  • Build a strong bond among the students and an ease in sharing the ideas that will be the foundation of the projects for the remainder of the course.
  • Inspire the student teams through interaction with key actors on the entrepreneurial scene in Copenhagen and in Southern Sweden
  • Get an in-depth understanding of the structure of the high-tech entrepreneurship sector in Scandinavia, including the role of policymakers, science parks and business accelerator schemes and well as the venture capital market in the region.
  • Have workshops aiming at developing a first business model iteration for the projects.
  • Get exposed to Design Thinking through a workshop to enhance innovation and creativity.

Long Study Tour: Dublin

The core course study tour will take you to Dublin, which prior to financial crisis became a hub for entrepreneurial activity primarily in high-tech sectors. Today, despite the downturn, Ireland is still one of the leading European countries in terms of entrepreneurship – and home to Google’s and Facebook’s European headquarters. According to the Global Entrepreneur Monitor report 2010, Ireland has the highest ranking of all innovation-driven economies in terms of innovation among early-stage entrepreneurs. Furthermore, Ireland’s relative rate of entrepreneurial activity remains high compared to peer EU-15 countries. In 2010 Ireland ranked 2nd of thirteen EU-15 countries.

The objectives of the study tour to Dublin are:

  • Getting acquainted with the institutional set-up that contributed to establishing Ireland on the world entrepreneurship map.
  • Meeting with a number of successful start-up companies and entrepreneurship communities that will share their experiences with the student teams.
  • Getting inspiration that can be transferred to the specific projects that the student teams are working on.

Grading

Engagement

 

20% (indiv.)

Paper and presentation: Describe your Business Model Canvas + Activities in Customer Discovery and Customer Validation + Market Analysis

 

15% (team)

Development and presentation of Minimum Viable Product

 

15% (team)

Investor Pitches (final + ‘training’ pitches)

 

15% (team)

'Journey’ and Reflection Paper: Describe and reflect on process used developing business idea and customer interactions

 

35% (indiv.)

 

Grading (expanded)

This class is based on identifying a problem, coming up with solutions and turning that into an actual viable business. You must, therefore, have a strong drive to learning by doing rather than passive studying. This can be quite a challenge if you are used to more ‘traditional’ lecture-based courses. Please do not select this course if you are only expecting to study articles and take tests, if you are expecting the instructor to be lecturing all the time, or if you do not wish to apply your ideas in a real-life setting. This course demands that you engage with real customers and turn an idea into a viable business. The only way to achieve that is by actually DOING IT! 

The class focuses on short lectures followed by multidisciplinary teamwork with close supervision. In this way, you learn to utilize existing and new knowledge in collaboration with students from various backgrounds.

Individual grades for team assignments may be applied. The policy is that late assignments are not accepted.

Engagement (20% — indiv.): This class requires a high level of motivation and active participation in class, outside of class and during the study tours. Attendance is mandatory. To get a good engagement grade the following must be done:

  • Collaborating well with your team and delivering constructive feedback in your team
  • Providing and receiving feedback from your peers and all other parties that your encounter during the course
  • Participating actively in class activities
  • Preparing properly for every class, i.e. doing all the required reading and assignments
  • Identifying and sharing relevant, interesting articles etc. with class (e.g. on our blog)
  • Actively seeking out startup events, participating in the local startup scene and sharing with class
  • Being willing to step out of your comfort zone, to dare and to try new approaches.

Business Model Canvas + Customer Discovery/Validation + Market Analysis Paper (15% — team)

FORMAT: Written 1.000 words paper + Team presentation (featuring all team members)

This paper must elaborate on three topics:

Business Model Canvas: Explain the process and considerations of developing your Business Model Canvas (at its current stage).

  • Focus on process, describing primarily how you make a BMC and secondarily what your BMC looks like.

Customer Discovery and Customer Validation: Describe your team’s activities in the Lean Launchpad Customer Development steps of Customer Discovery and Customer Validation, where you prepare your hypotheses of a Business Model and then take that hypothesis to potential customers for validation.

  • Describe primarily how/which ways you interacted with customers (at your current stage) and secondarily what you learned from customers that significantly influenced or changed your business idea. Successful Customer Discovery does not imply that the customers necessarily agree with you. There is much value in learning what the customers do not want and making the appropriate adjustments.

Market Analysis: Having solid domain knowledge vastly improves a given venture’s chances of success. In this context, domain knowledge does not have to be extremely technical, but rather a good and analytical knowledge of the market that you intend to go into. You are not required to display an absolute knowledge of the market since it is an early stage paper. You are however required to show an understanding of the basic drivers of your particular market/industry. As the semester progresses this initial understanding will be strengthened as you learn more about the market and its related customer needs:

  • What is the competitive landscape like?
  • What are the trends that are changing the industry/market?
  • What opportunities can you spot in this changing landscape?
  • Give an approximation of the size of the opportunity, i.e.how large is the target market?

The paper must be visual and structured to be easy to overview: Include illustrations, diagrams etc. and use headlines, sub-headlines etc to structure and prioritize the content.

Minimum Viable Product Presentation (15% — team)

FORMAT: Slide deck + presentation (8 min. total, featuring all team members):

  • Give a quick update on your customer development process
  • Explain your choices in connection with your MVP and the way you are planning to use it in your interactions with customers
  • Demo a live MVP (e.g. explainer video, landing page, website, app dummy or a physical prototype if applicable)

You will be graded on efforts to build something that can generate feedback from customers. Your demo in class is the first version... and it can be flawed. The more ways you can produce in order to generate feedback via MVP’s, the better. Experimentation and boldness is highly encouraged and expected.

The MVP is the version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort’ (Eric Ries)

Investor Pitches (15% — team)

FORMAT: Slide deck + final pitch to a panel of professional entrepreneurs and investors. ‘Training’ pitches during the course may count towards this grade as well. The pitch should be delivered in max. 4 min. You will be judged on the content of pitch and presentation skills.

Your pitch should include the following. Regard the list as the pitch content, not necessarily individual slides:

  1. Company name and purpose
  2. Problem — Jobs/Gains/Pains
  3. Solution — Value proposition
  4. How it works
  5. Market analysis (incl. ‘Why now’)
  6. Business model
  7. Team
  8. Financial projections

‘Journey’ and Reflection Paper (35% — indiv.)

FORMAT: Written 1.500-word paper (+10% extra is acceptable)

Describe (verbally and visually) the ‘journey‘ — step by step — that you have been through in the course and reflect on key moments. Think of this as if you were teaching what you have learned to a third person:

  1. A description of the process you used in developing your startup
  2. Key insights from your customer interactions that helped validate and tune your idea
  3. A summary and reflection about which steps/methods of the entire process worked well for you (and your team) and which should be improved next time... and how. Discuss processes or methods (potentially even some not covered in this course that you have studied elsewhere).
  4. Appendix: A log of conducted interviews (for your team). Starting the week after Core Course Week a quota of interviews — face to face or via Skype — must be conducted every week. Also, include the tests you do with your MVPs.

The paper must be 'visual' and structured to be easy to overview and engaging to read: Include illustrations, diagrams, photos etc. and use headlines and sub-headlines to structure and prioritize the content.

Pre-course survey (individual, mandatory, not graded)

The Entrepreneurship & Innovation course expects you to try to turn an IDEA into a potentially viable business. Getting that idea obviously starts with spotting a PROBLEM in need of solutions.
Therefore you have a mandatory task before we meet in class: Identify a PROBLEM that you have stumbled across which made you think: Someone should really do something about this!’. Fill out this Typeform explaining what the problem is, who is affected by it and what the benefits would be given a clever solution.
Do not come up with any ideas for solutions yet — just the PROBLEM!
The problem you describe is only a first draft which you will develop further, so do not worry if yours does not sound perfect.
In our first class, we will form teams based on your interest in the different problems. Therefore, not all problems will be used. You are free to pick amongst all the problems presented. You do not even have to pick your own problem. That means two things: If your problem does not get any ‘partners’, then be ready to get passionate about another problem. And if your problem does get partners, then do not be overprotective of ‘your’ problem, but be open to your new partners’ input.
Here are two examples to inspire you:
  • ‘Food is a major expense and with health being more of a concern today, the health movement has caused people to take a trade-off between bad health and saving money. Could we create a service that will allow people to know the health benefits and differences between types of foods, while they are shopping? The benefits would be saving money, improving one's health and educating people about food.
  • ‘Interning at different corporations is a huge part of maturing and learning about what students want to do with their lives. Is there a way to make interns learn from each other's experiences so that students can make smarter professional choices? The benefits would be networking, potential mentoring, learning, friendships and students' perspectives at different companies all over the world.
A heartfelt piece of advice from former students of this course: Pay attention to this phase! Identify good problems now! Then choose one in the first class that you really care about. Your choice matters because it's what you will be working on for five months!

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:

DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia - www.DISabroad.org

Schedule: Schedule is subject to change if necessary with as much notice as possible.

Class Policy on Audio and Video Taping and Distribution: Any audio or video recordings produced during this class, as well as any recordings posted to online class sites such as Canvas, may not be exchanged or distributed for commercial purposes, for compensation, for posting on social media sites, or be used for any other purpose other than for study by students enrolled in this class. In addition, distribution or sharing of course materials (including instructor PowerPoint slides) may constitute copyright infringement.

Course Summary:

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