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Digital Innovation and Society

Course overview

In the contemporary digital landscape, platforms such as OpenAI, Google, Amazon, or Meta have transcended traditional business paradigms, acting as both mediators and value drivers in various economic sectors. Their proliferation signifies a shift in how we conceptualize work, societal interaction, and the creation of value. These platforms, whether they are vast global enterprises or specialized local entities, exhibit a common denominator: a well-structured
platform at their core.
This course aims to comprehensively examine the intricacies of the platform economy, emphasizing its strategic foundation, intuitive architecture, and holistic design principles. Additionally, the course underscores the importance of content accessibility and integration within the broader platform ecosystem.

The modern innovation manager’s role is multifaceted. It involves not only interacting with these platforms but also possessing the acumen to understand, evolve, and manage them effectively.
Through a rigorous amalgamation of theoretical insights on platform strategy and firsthand experiences shared by industry practitioners, this course provides a robust exploration into platform development. In this course, you will also engage actively with user experience management tools, enabling a well-rounded understanding of all facets of platform creation and maintenance.

Join us in dissecting the platform economy, a cornerstone of today’s digital age.

Academic year


Duration and dates

2 weeks from Sunday 23 June – Saturday 6 July 2024

Teaching format

face-to-face on-campus


Dorothee Witte


Christian Fieseler is professor of communication management at BI Norwegian Business School and a director of the Nordic Centre for Internet and Society. He received his PhD in Management and Economics from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, in 2008. At the former he worked as a postdoctoral researcher, as well as at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and at Stanford University, before joining BI, in 2014.

Christian’s research is focused on the question of how individuals and organizations adapt to the shift brought by new, digital media, and how to design participative and inclusive spaces in this new media regime. In this field, he has over the last years, worked extensively on technology and new collaboration modes in projects with the European Union and the Norwegian Research Council.

Learning outcomes

This course takes on the perspective of a decision-maker on the business-side of a platform project and will enable you to initiate, plan and manage a platform development project. Participants will gain a fundamental understanding of the platform economy and its basic building block – the digital platform. In particular, they will learn how to set up their own platform strategy and which steps to take on the way to a deployable platform. Furthermore, they will learn to go beyond the launch of their platform and maintain a digital innovation pipeline for their digital product.

Course content

  1. Platform Strategy – We will be looking at techniques to understanding audiences (gains,
    pains, goals), markets (and how to learn from the best in class digital applications), as well
    as to set up visions & goals for a digital product (timing, resources, scope).
  2. Architecture and Design – Here we will be exploring how to define and prioritize key
    features of digital products, how to set up product structures/architectures, and how to
    design digital user experiences.
  3. Building and Scaling the Platform – In this part, we discuss how to implement digital
    products, and the management techniques to assist this implementation. We will be
    looking at agile vs. waterfall Development, application testing and prototyping, decisions
    between self-development vs. integrating partners (build, partner, invest) and at
    cornerstones of successful collaborations.
  4. Creating the Right Content – will lead us through a number of techniques to help a digital
    product find its audience, the methods we will be specifically looking comprise how to set
    up editorial plans, how to reach the right audiences through SEO strategies, and how to
    work with content creators (e.g. Influencers, Journalists etc.)
  5. Monitoring, Maintenance and Continuous Refinement – where we will be looking at
    how to continuously improve digital productions, through techniques such as defining
    key-metrics and KPIs (quantitively), measurement dashboards, and processes of
    continuously learning from user behavior (quantitatively and qualitatively), all feeding into
    maintaining an active innovation pipeline.
  6. Incorporating Fair Design Principles – finally, we will be looking how to design digital
    products socially responsibly, through measures that are intended to ensure universal
    accessibility, and through privacy and participation mechanisms.

Course value


Required background

Students are required to have completed one semester of coursework at master level in one of the participating business schools.


You will be asked to work on five interlocking tasks, through which we will guide you through the development process of a digital platform.  These steps are:

  • First, to develop an idea for a platform of your choosing and detail your vision your vision of the
    platform, as well as a description of your envisioned market, and a persona-based
    description of your audience.
  • Second, you will work on a wireframe prototype of your platform, mapping out an initial user experience and guidance .
  • Third, you will create a realization plan, on the strategic level, how your platform will be realized and through which you identify key resources and partners to implement your idea.
  • Fourth, you will draft a content plan, outlining with which contents you will engage your audience and how you plan your SEO strategy (your tactical plan)
  • Fifth, You will write a final evaluation of your idea that includes the definition of performance metrics and a plan for the continuous improvement of your application.
  • Finally, you will give a presentation of your entire platform project in class.


  • Yoffie, D. B., Gawer, A., & Cusumano, M. A. (2019). A study of more than 250 platforms a reveal why most fail. Harvard Business Review.
  • Westerman, G., Soule, D. L., & Eswaran, A. (2019). Building digital-ready culture in traditional organizations. MIT Sloan Management Review, 60(4), 59-68.
  • Hill, L.A. (2020). Being the agile boss. MIT Sloan Management Review,
  • Bunce, M., Wright, K., & Scott, M. (2018). ‘Our newsroom in the cloud’: Slack, virtual newsrooms and journalistic practice. new media & society20(9), 3381-3399.
  • Chen, X., Wei, S., Davison, R. M., & Rice, R. E. (2019). How do enterprise social media affordances affect social network ties and job performance?. Information Technology & People.
  • Van Alstyne, M. W., Parker, G. G., & Choudary, S. P. (2016). Pipelines, platforms, and the new rules of strategy. Harvard business review94(4), 54-62.
  • Van Alstyne, M., Parker, G., & Choudary, S. P. (2016). 6 Reasons Platforms Fail, Harvard Business Review. Digital Article.
  • Williams, R. L., & Cothrel, J. (2000). Four smart ways to run online communities. MIT Sloan Management Review41(4), 81.
  • Hollebeek, L. D., Juric, B., & Tang, W. (2017). Virtual brand community engagement practices: a refined typology and model. Journal of Services Marketing.

Extra cost

2000 NOK/176 Euro participation fee (costs such as accommodation, travel, most meals and general living expenses are not included).

Miscellaneous information

The course will be held on the Oslo campus, BI Norwegian Business School, Nydalsveien 37, 0484 Oslo.
Students can apply for accommodation through BI, in one of the nearby student villages. We have furnished single rooms on offer, kitchen and bathroom have to be shared with other students.
Accommodation costs: 9000 NOK/795 Euro (accommodation available from 21 June to 12 July 2024).

About the School

BI Norwegian Business Schoo- is an internationally recognized non-profit private institution and the only Norwegian business school with the prestigious interna­tional triple-crown accreditation: EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA. We are one of Europe’s largest business schools with around 20.000 students. Our purpose-built Campus Nydalen provides an exciting and inspiring learning environment.