Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship in Technology Course Proposal

For some years I have been considering how to offer the students undertaking the "Innovation ACT" competition credit as part of a university degree. Inspired by my visit to UBCin Vancouver, I started work on such a course. Rather than approach universities and professional bodies in the usual way, I thought I would release the idea and see who is interested. The concept is reasonably simple: students would enroll in an on-line course and study the theory of innovation. They would then take part in an innovation competition, such as Innovation ACT, to experience the practice. Half of the students assessment would be for theory and half for the practical materials they prepare as part of the competition. To pilot this I would need six students to make a minimum student cohort (this could be two teams of three students, for example). Anyone interest, please let me know:

Proposal for a Course: Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship in Technology

Tom Worthington 23 October 2014
This is a preliminary outline of a Technology Innovation course. Students would learn how to take an idea and turn it into a business proposal. They would learn theory online and then undertake practical work, using the format successfully applied in my course ICT Sustainability (Worthington, 2011). Students would have the option of undertaking their practical work as part of an innovation competition, such as Innovation ACT.


In Canberra, University of Canberra and ANU already run a number of innovation courses. However, none of these are designed to be run in conjunction with innovation competitions. Also current courses expect attendance at classes in person, and tend to emphasize use of lectures and examinations, which do not suit the teaching of innovation.

Current Canberra Based Innovation Courses

University of Canberra Courses

University of Canberra (UoC) and ANU both offer innovation courses. UoC have courses as part of the Bachelor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. A typical unit is “Managing Change and Innovation” (7776.3), offered in blended mode (on-line content with on campus attendance of up to thirty nine hours).
Learning Outcomes
1. understand critically a range of theories and practices of change management.
2. demonstrate the applicability of organizational change practices in different circumstances.
3. appreciate the complexities and challenges inherent in planning and managing organizational change.
4. be familiar with the nature of innovation and how to implement it
5. research, identify, organize and present relevant materials and arguments in a range of modes.
There is a detailed fifteen page unit outline of the course provided for the Bhutan campus students. This includes:

Graetz, F., Rimmer, M., Smith, A. and Lawrence, A. 2010. Managing Organisational Change, Australasian edition. Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons.


Goffin, K. and Mitchell, R. 2010 Innovation and Management: Strategy and Implementation Using the Pentathlon Framework, 2nd edition. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter 4. 

There is also an extensive list of further reading:

Beckhard, R. and Harris, R. 1987. Organizational Transitions: Managing Complex Change. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.
Beer, M. and Eisenstat, R. 2000. Breaking the Code of Change. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.
Beitler, M. 2006. Strategic Organizational Change, 2nd edition.
Bolman, L.G. and Deal, T.E. 1997. Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Boonstra, J. ed. 2002. The Psychological Management of Organizational Change. London: Wiley.
Bridges, W. 1991. Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.
Bunker, B. and Alban, B. 1996. Large Group Interventions: Engaging the Whole System for Rapid Change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Burns, T. and Stalker, G. 1961. The Management of Innovation. London: Tavistock.
Burnes, B. 2000. Managing Change: A Strategic Approach to Organisational Dynamics. Harlow: Pearson.
Cameron, E. and green, M. 2009. Making Sense of Change Management. London: Kogan Page.
Carnall. C. 2003. Managing Change in Organizations, 4th edition. Harlow: FT Prentice Hall.
Cummings, T. and Worley, C. 2001. Organizational Development and Change, 7th edition. Cincinnati, Ohio: West.
Clark, J. 1995. Managing Innovation and Change. London: Sage.
Demers, C. 2007. Organizational Change Theories: a Synthesis. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
Dunphy, D., Griffiths, A. and Benn, S. 2007. Organizational Change for Corporate Sustainability. London: Routledge.
Hayes, J. 2007. The Theory and Practice of Change Management, 2nd edition. Houndmills: Palgrave.
Jones, G. 2006. Organizational Theory, Design and Change, 5th edition. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
Kanter, R. (1983) The Change Masters. London: George Allen and Unwin.
Kantor, R., Stein, B. aand Jick, T. 1992. The Challenge of Organizational Change. New York: Free Press.
Kaplan, P. and Norton, D.P. 1996. The Balanced Scorecard. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.
Klewes, J. and Langen, R.eds. 2010. Change 2.0: Beyond Organisational Transformation. Heidelberg: Springer.
Kotter, J.P. Leading Change. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.
Kotter, J.P. 1990. A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs from Management. New York: Free Press.
Kouzes, J.M. and Posner, B.Z. 1995. The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Mabey, C. and Mayon-White, B. eds. 1993. Managing Change. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
Mills, J., Dye, K. and Mills, A. 2009. Understanding Organizational Change. London: Routledge.
Nadler, D., Shaw, R. and Walton, A. eds. 1995. Discontinuous Change: Leading Organizational Transformation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Nanus, B. 1992. Visionary Leadership: Creating a Compelling Sense of Direction for Your Organization. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Palmer, I., Dunford, R. and Akin, G. 2006. Managing Organizational Change: A Multiple Perspective Approach. Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Senior, B. 2002. Organizational Change, 2nd edition. London: Financial Times and Prentice Hall.
Senge, P.M. 1990. The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. New York: Doubleday/Currency.
Smale, G. 1998. Managing Change Through Innovation. London: The Stationery Office.
Tichy, N. and Devanna, M. 1986. The Transformational Leader. Chichester: Wiley.
Weick, K. and Sutcliffe, K. 2001. Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in and Age of Complexity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Whiteley, A. 1995. Managing Change: A Core Values Approach. South Melbourne: Macmillan Education Australia.
Wilson, D. 1992. A Strategy for Change. London: Routledge.


  1. Case study 30%
  2. Essay 40%
  3. Examination 30%

ANU Innovation Courses

ANU has several "innovation" courses in business and engineering programs:

Entrepreneurship and Innovation MGMT3027

Learning Outcomes
    • define, explain and illustrate theories of business innovation and entrepreneurship, the evolution of industries and economies, and the roles of entrepreneurs;
    • develop a comprehensive and well structured business plan for a new venture;
    • present a persuasive business plan to potential investors or to internal stakeholders and effectively answer probing questions on the substance of the plan; and,
    • work effectively in multidisciplinary, cross-cultural teams, communicating, negotiating and contributing shared contributions towards the development of a team project.
    • New venture business plan 30%
    • Business plan presentation 10%
    • Case study responses 20%
    • Final examination 40%
    • 3 contact hours per week plus private study time. 
There is a detailed eighteen page "Course Outline" for  MGMT3027. This outlines the study methods and texts.


Allen, K. R. (2011). Launching new ventures: an entrepreneurial approach. Cengage Learning.

Also recommended:

Osterwalder, A., & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business Model Generation: A Handbook For Visionaries, Game Changers, And Challengers Author: Alexander Osterwalder, Yves.

Weeks of the course:

  1. Introduction and expectations, Entrepreneurs and opportunities, Economy-wide context
  2. Teams, shareholders, the nature of opportunities and the process of business planning
  3. Product and process innovation, Researching markets and customers
  4. Business model innovation, Designing operations, process flow, capturing and building on customer and process learning
  5. Resource planning and budgeting, Alliances, partnerships, networks and organisation design, Legal considerations
  6. Marketing plan, distribution, start-up and financing
  7. Growth, change, harvest and exit
  8. Trial pitch session
  9. Corporate entrepreneurship, open innovation and applications beyond entrepreneurship
  10. Review of the six integrating themes
  11. Review of the six integrating themes
  12. Team business plan pitches
  13. Course recap, review, revision, final Q&A
Six Integrative Themes
  1. Opportunities, drivers and processes of entrepreneurship and innovation
  2. Entrepreneurship and innovation at an economy-wide level
  3. Entrepreneurial and innovation processes at the level of the firm
  4. Business models, business model innovation and entrepreneurship
  5. Entrepreneurial teams and stakeholder interactions
  6. Resource acquisition, leverage, valuation and negotiation

Innovation and Commercialisation MGMT7165

The Preliminary Briefing Note (2014) provided ten pages of details:

Learning Outcomes
  • Describe the process involved in different types of innovation, and the role that commercialization plays in this process in diverse organizational contexts.
  • Analyze an innovation project, identifying drivers for success and factors leading to the risk of failure.
  • Diagnose and select frameworks, tools and techniques for the management of innovation projects in different types of organization.
  • Develop an innovation strategy for an organization., including input from a range of internal and external stakeholders. 
  1. Innovation Labs 25% (5% x 5 labs) 
  2. Team Presentation 20%
  3. Case Study Analysis 15%
  4. Write-Up of Discussion Insights (15%)
    Individual Report 25%

Engineering Innovation ENGN3230

Learning Outcomes
  • Identify the need for innovative engineering; and generate and evaluate innovative concepts
  • Understand the basic elements of innovation, innovation management and commercialization; and be able to plan and schedule activities in accordance with standard practice.
  • Be conversant with Intellectual Property (IP) law; and evaluate, exploit and manage Intellectual Property.
  • Understand decision making responsibilities at the interface between business and innovation.
  • Understand the dynamics of collaborative teams and how to work effectively within a team to accomplish tasks within given deadlines.
  • As an entrepreneur, understand start-up company pathways and develop a business pitch for funding
  • Quizzes (10%);
  • Tutorials and case studies (20%);
  • Technical reports and presentation (40%);
  • Exam (30%).
  • Lectures (30hrs);
  • Tutorials (10hrs);
  • Tutorial case studies (20hrs);
  • Assessment activity and self-directed learning (70hrs).
Also the Lecture 1 slides are available.

Technology and Innovation Management and Strategy MGMT7106

  1. Stimulate and inform a strategic perspective on the role of innovation, and in particular to increase understanding of:
  • The characteristics of innovation processes and the factors that shape and drive innovation;
  • The potential roles of incremental and disruptive innovation in creating and sustaining firm competitiveness
  1. Understand the sources of innovation competence in firms and how these competences are developed, and in particular to increase understanding of:
  • Why some firms are more successfully innovative than others;
  • The many different sources of knowledge and capability used for innovation and the strategies for accessing them.
  1. Understand the major tools that are used increasingly to assist innovation management, both at the project level and at the level of organizational development.
  2. Understand the central role of learning in innovation and in innovation management.
  1. Case Note 1: Presentation of Innovation Survey 10%
  2. Case Note 1: 3M or Medronic 10%
  3. Case Note 2: Lenovo or Hyundi 10%
  4. Case Note 3: Innovation Audit 10%
  5. Peer Assessment 10%
  6. Essay/Assignment/Exam 50%
  • 5 x 4 hour classes,
  • 2x 8 hour classes

Other University Innovation Courses

UBC run a two semester interdisciplinary capstone project (APSC 496) for business and engineering students (Kruchten, Lawrence, Dahl & Cubbon, 2011). The students are required to work in teams to produce a business plan. This course is much more extensive than envisaged for ANU CS. However, the textbooks used may be applicable:

  1. K. T. Ulrich and S. D. Eppinger, Product Design and Development, 4th ed., McGraw Hill, Boston, 2008.
  2. J. A. Timmons and S. Spinelli, New Venture Creation--Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century, 7th ed., McGraw-Hill Irwin, Boston, 2007.
  3. S. Birley and D. Muzyka, Mastering Entrepreneurship, Pearson Education, Harlow, UK, 2000.

There is also a related book, which may be of use:

Open Access Materials

As might be expected, textbooks about innovation can be expensive. I found one free open access book:


Problems with Current Innovation Courses

Innovation courses offered in Canberra have largely the format of a conventional lecture and examination based university course, which is not suited to the topic of innovation. It is proposed to overcome this by flipped classroom: students learn the theory online, discuss it with their peers in online forms and then are required to apply it.
Also courses are not aligned with the requirements for accreditation by bodies such as the Australian Computer Society. To meet accreditation requirements, the new course would be aligned with SFIA Version 5:

SFIA Skill "Innovation" INOV Level 6:
The capability to recognise and exploit business opportunities provided by IT, (for example, the Internet), to ensure more efficient and effective performance of organisations, to explore possibilities for new ways of conducting business and organisational processes, and to establish new businesses.
Recognises potential strategic application of IT, and initiates investigation and development of innovative methods of exploiting IT assets, to the benefit of organisations and the community. Plays an active role in improving the interface between the business and IT.
SFIA Skill “Business analysis” BUAN Level 6

The methodical investigation, analysis, review and documentation of all or part of a business in terms of business functions and processes, the information used and the data on which the information is based. The definition of requirements for improving processes and systems, reducing their costs, enhancing their sustainability, and the quantification of potential business benefits. The creation of viable specifications and acceptance criteria in preparation for the construction of information and communication systems.
Takes full responsibility for business analysis within a significant segment of an organisation where the advice given and decisions made will have a measurable impact on the profitability or effectiveness of the organisation. Establishes the contribution that technology can make to business objectives, defining strategies, validating and justifying business needs, conducting feasibility studies, producing high-level and detailed business models, preparing business cases, overseeing development and implementation of solutions, taking into account the implications of change on the organisation and all stakeholders. Guides senior management towards accepting change brought about through process and organisational change.

What would be in an online innovation course?

The new course will develop the capability to identify and develop new computing based business ideas. Students will learn to identity strategic uses for information technology, applying systematic investigation, analysis, review and documentation to take an idea through the stages of development and proposal. Students are encouraged to take part in the Innovation ACT, or a similar innovation competition, and submit their competition entry for assessment.
Learning Outcomes
After successful completion of this subject students will be able to :
  1. Investigate a strategic application of IT.
  2. Propose new ways of conducting business using IT.

Skills Alignment:
  1. SFIA Version 5, Level 6: Business analysis (BUAN)
  2. SFIA Version 5, Level 6: Innovation (INOV)


  • 12 Weekly Online Modules.
  • Tutorials: 12 Weekly online text based discussion forums (assesble item at the end of each week).  


Second half of the year for alignment with Innovation ACT (the course could be offered to fit with other university systems and innovation completions world wide). Timetable to suit ANU Semester 2, 2015

Week Date Course topic Assessment % Innovation ACT
1 20 July 2014
2 27
3 3 August
4 10
2% Launch & Pitch
5 17
Business Model Thinking 2% Team Registration Opens Workshop 1: Learning to Build an Innovative Venture - Business Model Thinking: Using a Business Model Canvas, for development of a venture concept.
6 24
Stakeholder Engagement 2% Workshop 2: Relationships with Users and Partners - Stakeholder Engagement: engage with a stakeholders, to develop value network.
Team Registration Closes
7 31
Concept Generation 2% Workshop 3: Developing Prototype Solutions: Test venture to deal with uncertainty.

Mid semester break
Investigation of a strategic application of IT 40%

8 21 September
Value Capture 2% Workshop 4: Getting Returns, Support, and Funding_ Value Capture: find ways to capture value for the team, investors and supporters.
9 28
10 5 October
2% Submission of deliverables
11 12
2% Success and Failure: Journey as Reward
12 19
2% Pitch Night
13 26

Awards Night


Progress items:

  1. Business Model Thinking
  2. Stakeholder Engagement
  3. Stakeholder Engagement Mentor Progress Score
(0, 1 or 2)
  1. Concept Generation
  2. Concept Generation Mentor Progress Score
(0, 1 or 2)
  1. Value Capture
  2. Value Capture Mentor Progress Score
(0, 1 or 2) Final deliverables:
  1. Business Model Canvas: One page diagram of the business
model, using the IACT Business Model Canvas template , or similar (about 5% to 6%).
  1. Executive Summary: One page text summary of the business model (300 words, about 5% to 6%).
  2. Canvas Report: Five to eight page report on development of plan (this is equivalent to 1,500 to 2,400 words of assessment, about 30% to 50% of the assessment)
  3. Continuation report: Detailed plan outlining funding requirements and proposed expenditure (Assuming 5 pages, that is 25% to 30% of the assessment).
  4. Pitch: Notes and visual materials for a five minute presentation. A video of the presentation can also be provided, but for academic purposes, the assessment will be based on the ntoes for the presentation, not the presentation itself (assessment 5% to 10%).
  5. Literature review: This would be in addition to the Innovation ACT deliverables, added to balance the assessment in the first half of the course and provide some academic grounding to the practical aspects (Two pages, 10%).
    1. Assessment

The assessment would be made up of:
  1. 20% for contributions to forums/exercises for ten weeks (2% per week for 12 weeks, with the best 10 counted)
  2. Mid semester assignment: “Investigation of a strategic application of IT”. Individual work of 2,000 words, plus references 40%
  3. End of course deliverables: Business proposal. Students are encouraged to undertake the work as part of Innovation ACT, or another innovation competition. However, the activity must take during the semester. May be performed in a group of up to six. 40%.

Students must achieve at least 10% for contributions to forums, 20% mid-semester and 20% final items to be eligible to pass the course (overall pass mark for course may be set lower, or higher than 50%).
Item Date Due Marks
Weekly contributions (2% per week, best 10 weeks of 12) Due at the end of each week. 20
Investigation of a strategic application of IT Mid Semester 40
Business Proposal:
Business Model Canvas
Executive Summary
Canvas Report
Continuation report


The Innovation ACT program provides a useful set of materials:

Program Information

Deliverables Templates

Workshop 1 Materials – “Learning to Build an Innovative Venture”

Workshop 2 Materials – “Relationships with Users and Partners”

Workshop 3 Materials – “Developing Prototype Solutions”

Workshop 4 Materials – “Getting Returns, Support and Funding”

Relevant Skills and Experience of the Designer

Tom Worthington has trained in the design of blended and online courses and assessment, as part of a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (ANU 2013) and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (CIT 2013). He received the ACS Canberra ICT award 2010 for the design of the course “ICT Sustainability), which has been run by ANU and Athabasca University (Canada), since 2009. Tom was the Defence Project Manager for the DBQ Windows Project, federally funded to develop a graphical user interface for Australian database software (Worthington, 1994). He has evaluated applications for innovation grants for the Department of Industry, acted as a consultant for patent applications and provided advice on web design for the Beijing Olympics. Tom has been a speaker and mentor for Innovation ACT, on the organising team for GovHack and GovCamp Canberra and a judge for Random Hacks of Kindness (Sydney).

Contact the Course Designer

Institutions and organizations interested in offering this course can contact:
Tom Worthington FACS CP, TomW Communications Pty Ltd.


Innovation ACT, Participant Handbook, 2014. URL:
Kruchten, P., Lawrence, P., Dahl, D., & Cubbon, P. (2011). New Venture Design–Interdisciplinary Capstone Projects at UBC. Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association. URL:
Worthington, Tom (1994, March, 18). DESIGNING A GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE FOR AN AUSTRALIAN DATABASE PRODUCT: BACKGROUND TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF DBQ WINDOWS. retrieved August 5, 2014, from Canberra Branch Conference, Australian Computer Society Web Site:
Worthington, T. (2011) ICT Sustainability: assessment and strategies for a low carbon future / Tom Worthington  Tomw Communications, Belconnen, A.C.T. Retrieved from:

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