04-801-N2   Innovation and IT

Location: Africa

Units: 6

Semester Offered: Intermittent

Course description

This course focuses on Disruptive IT Innovations Driving Business Models and IT-based innovations only. The coursework includes in-class discussions, and a course project (self-directed research). Students will group in teams of 2-3 students. Each team will choose one of the provided current IT innovations (e.g., Industrial Internet of Things, Hyper Automation, Data Fabric, Smart Contracts, NFT, etc.) and do research on the innovation itself and its effect on business models (conceptual focus). The team will write an annotated outline, prepare a slide deck, and present its results in class. The provided annotated outline and presentation will be the basis for in-class discussion with the rest of the class. It is essential to begin work on the course project at the beginning of the course.

The theory of disruptive innovation, introduced by Clayton M. Christensen in 1995, has proved to be a powerful way of thinking about innovation-driven growth. In this context, Christensen/Raynor and McDonald [2015] describe “Disruption” as a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources can successfully challenge established incumbent businesses. Specifically, as incumbents focus on improving their products and services for their most demanding (and usually most profitable) customers, they exceed the needs of some segments and ignore the needs of others. Entrants that prove disruptive begin by successfully targeting those overlooked segments, gaining a foothold by delivering more-suitable functionality—frequently at a lower price. Entrants then move upmarket, delivering the performance that incumbents’ mainstream customers require while preserving the advantages that drove their early success (see Harvard Business Review article "What is Disruptive Innovation?").

Learning objectives

  • While identifying and analyzing real-world use cases during this course, students will be able to reflect on the usage of IT innovations for enabling business models - with consideration of cultural and economic factors.
    Students will be able to communicate effectively with a range of audiences as there will be extensive in-class discussions in this course.
  • As students will work in teams of 2-3, they will be able to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
  • During this course, students will analyze use cases, which will improve their ability to analyze and interpret data and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions. As students will improve their knowledge of disruptive IT innovations enabling business models, they will be able to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.


After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of disruptive IT innovations and their use in enterprises.
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of disruptive IT innovations in enterprises.
  • Assess the business value of the disruptive IT innovations used.
  • Present and discuss their results with students in class and faculty.

Content details

  • Overview of innovations in enterprises
  • Concept of disruptive innovations
  • Use cases for the application of disruptive IT innovations in enterprises
  • Presentation and discussion of the results




Bernhard Ostheimer