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Master Seminar: "Innovating for Impact" Summer Term

Instructor: Prof. Dr. Spanjol
Assistant: Lisa Welzenbach

Due to the ongoing Corona-pandemic, this course will likely be held in digital format in the summer term 2021 as well. As soon as a final decision is made, it will be communicated here as well as via LSF. Detailed instructions on the concrete organization of the seminar (e.g., instructions on how to prepare for the kick-off) will be communicated to all accepted students via e-mail on April, 9th, 2021.

What is this course about?

Firms are increasingly required to not only consider the economic or financial consequences of their innovation processes and outcomes but also how these processes and outcomes affect the environment, other stakeholders, and society in general. This claim, or movement, can also be observed across many major economic groups and corporate gatherings such as the World Economic Forum or the Business Roundtable. For example, in 2019, the Business Roundtable, consisting of 181 CEOs, re-defined the purpose of businesses towards the promotion of an economy that creates value for all stakeholders (Business Roundtable, 2019), which is directly connected to innovation as the heart of corporate value creation. In that context, "Responsible Innovation (RI)" is becoming an increasingly popular concept both in research and practice. Broadly defined as "taking care of the future through collective stewardship of science and innovation in the present" (Stilgoe et al., 2013, p. 1571), RI in a business context reflect ways and means by which firms account for economic, social, and environmental concerns in their innovation processes to be better able to address these concerns with new/improved products/services. However, despite the progress made in RI research, there is still a lack of understanding of how RI can specifically be implemented and integrated into firms’ innovation processes. Therefore, this seminar aims to investigate what firms can do to innovate more responsibly or how existing innovation approaches and processes can be adapted to support RI.

How is the seminar conducted?

  • The seminar is held in English (instructions, presentations, and final paper) and you will work in teams.
  • To most effectively provide guidance to students, the maximum number of participants is limited to 15.
  • We are planning five meeting sessions for this seminar (see schedule below or LSF). Please note that attendance at all sessions is mandatory.
  • Per examination guidelines, your attendance at the kick-off session makes your participation in the seminar binding.
  • Course credit: 6 ECTS
  • If you are interested in pursuing a master thesis at the IIM, this seminar is prerequisite. (Please also see the guidelines for Master Theses on the ISC website).
  • Examination: Presentation (15 minutes per student) and seminar paper (22,200 signs per student). Both examination parts account for 50% of the final seminar grade.

What will I gain from this course?

The objective of this course is to provide students an opportunity to conduct a structured inquiry into a specific and relevant research question through a scientific research project. Special attention will be paid to identifying theoretical and managerial contributions in the research paper and translating between managerial questions and scientific body of knowledge, writing a scientific paper, and presenting the findings. This seminar also serves as a preparation for students who are interested in writing a master thesis on topics related to innovation management and innovation impact.

How can I participate?

You can apply until Friday, April 2nd, 2021 by sending an email to welzenbach(at) containing one combined pdf.-file, which should include a short letter of motivation (~half page), your CV, and current transcript of records (Notenspiegel). Acceptance/rejection notifications will be sent to you no later than April, 6th, 2021.

What is the course schedule?

The course schedule can be found in LSF ("Kurzkommentar").

Please notice that this schedule might be adapted.
For more information please review LSF or contact Lisa Welzenbach welzenbach(at)