Course 2018-2019 a.y.


Department of Management and Technology

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
IM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Mission & Content Summary


This course centers on the idea that management is neither pure science nor just an art. Instead it is a “contextual practice”, i.e. a combination of Artistotle’s three intellectual virtues: episteme (science), techne (skills/art) and phronesis (practical wisdom). In your undergraduate studies, you have focused on developing episteme. Universally applicable scientific and context-independent knowledge. You got the basics of management and created your own toolset. In the Master of science program up to now, you most likely focused on the development of techne. You enhanced your art, craft or skill to apply the tools to real business cases. This developed your ability to advance and use pragmatic, context-dependent knowledge. What you need to do now is to complement your education by developing your phronesis. This means that you invest time in developing your pragmatic, context-dependent and ethics-oriented knowledge focused on value-based judgments. Phronesis is concerned with how to act in specific situations. It is about the analysis of values. Understanding what is good or bad for individuals and organizations in particular circumstances. Many senior managers’ decisions are based on judgment rather than analysis. The aim of this course is therefore to enhance the leadership skills of participants by focusing on their ability to make value-based judgments in specific, contextualized business situations.


The context for the course is given by the issue of a larger firm that tries to become more entrepreneurial. We call this firm “Elephant Inc.”, following the methaphor of “teaching the elephant to dance” introduced by James Belasco in 1991. Elephant Inc. recognizes that it needs to invest more time and resources in ideas about how to grow organically. “We need to balance exploitation with more exploration – without putting efficiency at risk. We need to avoid becoming ambisinistrous: what makes Elephant Inc. excel does not make a start–up excel...and vice versa.” Most managers at Elephant Inc. agree that they should not mostly seek growth through M&A but instead invest in developing their innovation capabilities. To do so, Elephant Inc. needs to create an environment in which ideas can germinate. As a manager stated: “There are too few occasions
to discuss innovation as a management team. We need to learn how to have good conversations about customer needs and innovation. Documents should not be made of hundreds of ppt slides, rather summarized on a few pages. Discussions should be open, with short statements that build on each other. We need a fly-in zone for innovative ideas.” Another manager added: “Our company is caught between a desire to be innovative/entrepreneurial and wanting strong central control of the business.
If we can get the correct balance, then I’m sure it would be a powerful combination. But how do we reach this balance?” We discuss these and similar questions in class. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand the need for a holistic approach to management.
  • Use various analytical approaches to management issues.
  • Understand how different functions in a firm interrelate.
  • Get a strategic perspective on how to make firms more innovative.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Design a innovation architecture that drives corporate entrepreneurship in large multinational firms.
  • Rapidly structure ideas and presentations, both as individuals and as members of a team.
  • Analyze material quickly and efficiently, and to structure it into coherent arguments.
  • Research material related to companies and business contexts under tight deadlines.
  • Organize teamwork.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)


The course centers around one big issue: How can we make large, multinational firms more innovative? As a basic reading, I have chosen the book “Innovation As Usual: How to Help Your People Bring Great Ideas to Life” published in 2013 by Paddy Miller  and Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg. The book unfolds along 6 dimensions: focus, connect, tweak, select, stealthstorm, and persist. We discuss these dimensions during our sessions. For each section, the book suggests further reading (in appendix A). Guest lectures from experienced corporate entrepreneurs as well as short case studies enrich the class experience. You be confronted with managerial tasks: “What would you do….?” These tasks are presented in class, processed in small groups for around 60 minutes and then discussed in class.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)


  • Written exam (70%): you are asked to apply the knowledge developed during the course to three case-based questions. The exam lasts 1 hour and can be passed by studying the textbook used for the course. At the beginning of the course, I upload a mock exam to give you a better understanding of the type of questions that you can expect.
  • Individual course reflection (30%): on maximum 5 pages (including title page, references, and appendix), you are asked to reflect upon your most important learnings from the course. What have we studied that is interesting? What new things have you learned? Has the program changed your way of thinking? Did it conflict with beliefs you held previously, and what evidence did it provide you with in order to change your thought process on the topic? Writing this reflection paper encourages you to find what is meaningful to you and thus it adds value to your learning. Do not simply outline or summarize the material we have covered. I want to know what the material means to you.
  • Class participation: the best contributors in class receive up to 2 bonus points (added up to the final grade) for their class participation. Please be aware that I value quality and not quantity of contributions when I make my assessment. The in-class group presentations are a showcase for you to earn credits for class participation. All groups must be ready to respond to all in-class exercises. A group failing to respond to a group exercise in a satisfactorily way is punished by a reduction of 2 points (subtracted to the final grade of each group member).

Teaching materials


  • P. MILLER, T. WEDELL-WEDELLSBORG,  Innovation As Usual: How to Help Your People Bring Great Ideas to Life, published in 2013.
Last change 10/06/2018 10:21