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Master Seminar: "Innovating for Impact" Winter Term

Instructor: Prof. Dr. Spanjol
Assistant: Marcelo F. de la Cruz

Due to the ongoing Corona-pandemic, this course will be held in digital format in the winter term 2020/2021. Detailed instructions on the 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 October 19, 2020.

What is this course about?

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). In 2020, Martin Reeves, Chairman of the BCG Henderson Institute, concluded from the responses of 111 business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the major emphasis of leaders for the next decade is the optimization of companies for societal and economic value (Reeves, 2020). This re-alignment of for-profit businesses to contribute to society affects innovations, e.g., how firms manage innovation efforts or measure the innovation performance. Stephan et al. (2019) found in their study of 1257 commercial firms that pursuing social and economic strategic goals positively affects firms’ open innovation and therefore the innovation performance. In other words, the creation of social value through innovation represents an opportunity for for-profit firms. The aim of this seminar course is to investigate aspects related to the creation of social value (and consequently of impact to the society) and its operationalization in firm’s innovation management efforts.

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, October 16th, 2020 by sending an email to delacruz-jara(at) containing one combined pdf.-file, which should include a short letter of motivation (~half page), your CV and current transcript of records (Notenspiegel).

What is the course schedule?

We are planning five meeting sessions for this seminar:

  • 03.11.20 (kick-off),
  • 17.11.20 (coaching),
  • 01.12.20 (coaching),
  • 15.12.20 (interim presentation) and
  • 12.01.21 (final presentation).
  • The final due date for the seminar paper is February 12, 2021.

Please notice that this schedule might be adapted.

For more information please review LSF or contact Marcelo F. de la Cruz delacruz-jara(at)