Course Syllabus

Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Europe

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Semester & Location:

Summer 2022 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course

Core Course Study Tours:


Major Disciplines:

Business, Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship



Faculty Members:

Mikael Fuhr (current students please use the Canvas Inbox)

Program Director:

Susanne Goul Hovmand - 

Time & Place:

Weekdays vary so check Canvas' calendar  — F24-302

Course description

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This core course works much like an incubator program. It is aimed at students interested in learning the tools and skills required to succeed as entrepreneurs — and in applying these tools in a real-life project.

You work in teams (expect a significant amount of group work including outside of class hours!) on your own startup. You get hands-on experience tackling the challenges that all entrepreneurs face and you receive advice from experienced mentors as well as inspiration from visits to startups and scaleups. 

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

Initially, you identify a problem in need of a solution by looking at customer needs. Through an intensive process, you build hypotheses about your customers and solution and you validate these by doing interviews and creating explainer videos, websites, or other representations of your hypotheses.

You work toward pitching your business idea to real investors and serial entrepreneurs who give you honest and constructive feedback. 

You are going to meet some of the main Danish, Swedish and Finnish players in entrepreneurship including founders of leading startups.


Learning objectives

  • Learning methods for identifying customer needs and continuously getting feedback on solutions
  • Developing a Business Model for a startup venture
  • Building Minimum Viable Products (= prototypes) and testing them with customers
  • Preparing and delivering an effective investor pitch of your business idea
  • Understanding that failure is inevitable in entrepreneurship (and in innovation)… but also a great source of learning and inspiration
  • Through the study tour getting an understanding of the different actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem (startups, scaleups, venture capitalists, incubators/accelerator programs)
  • Actively engaging in the entrepreneurship communities in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.

You have 5,5 hours a week of class time. 
The workload outside of class is 11 hours a week, most of it working in your team... which takes planning!


Please check these tips for thriving in the course.

Faculty: Mikael Fuhr,

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.

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) (To be picked up from the library during arrivals week)
  • Osterwalder, Alexander, Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers and Challengers, 2010 (To be picked up from the library during arrivals week)
  • Osterwalder, Alexander, 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:

Long Study Tour

The objectives of the study tour are:

  • Get inspiration and learn from meeting key actors on the entrepreneurial scene in Helsinki and Stockholm
  • Understand the different actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • Present and get feedback on your startup idea from a venture capital company




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: Document and reflect on the process used to develop your startup


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 learn by doing rather than passive studying. This can be 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 articles etc. with class (e.g. on our blog or in written reflections)
  • Actively seeking out startup events, participating in the local startup scene and sharing with the 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 the process, describing primarily how and why 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 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:

  • Give a quick update on your customer development process
  • Explain your choices in connection with your MVP (how did you establish what was 'minimum'?) and the way you use it with customers to learn
  • 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 MVPs, the better. Experimentation and boldness are 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 3 min. You will be judged on the content of the pitch and your 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. Revenue model
  7. Team
  8. Financial projections (in appendix to slides)
  9. Your 'Ask'

‘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 online — 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)

You will receive an email asking you to submit a PROBLEM before you leave for Denmark. Please see all the details there. 

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 -

Schedule: The 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:

Date Details Due