We conduct research on the intersection between digital entrepeneurship, digital ecosystems, and organizing data and knowldedge. We will provide multiple courses that help to explain changes on firm- and ecosystem levels using multiple theories and methodologies. Our teaching is usually highly interactive and builds upon concepts of blended learning, oftentimes 'flipping the classroom'. It is important to us to not only reflect latest findings of information systems research with our students but also to work together on applying that knowledge. 

Our teaching extends to Bachelor, Master, PhD and Postdocs. Offers for PhD and PostDocs will be more clearly defined in the following months.

Winter 23/24

Student Project (incubate x future)

Student Project (incubate x future)

  • Prof. Dr. Hannes Rothe
  • Annemarie Bloch, M.A.
Winter Semester 2023/2024
Each Semester
Monday, 14:00 - 16:00h - please see details for dates
Change of rooms! WST-B.10.02

Important Notes:

Please be aware that in this course, you'll be taking part in the Startup Olympics. This may require you to speak and understand German to benefit well from this offer. Please consider that the Olympics take place over the weekend of 10. - 12. of November. More information on the participation in the Startup Olympics in the first session.  

How to register

Please write an email to Annemarie: annemarie.bloch (at) icb.uni-due.de with the following infos:

Betreff/Subject: Registration Master students' project Incubate x Futures

In Email: Your full name, matriculation number, your subject, your semester

If you already have an idea, please indicate that as well.  


This project is focused on taking the first steps towards producing a digital venture that helps to solve societies’ most pressing issues, the sustainable development goals. Small teams of three to five students explore pressing problems and create a potential solution in the form of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). They develop a business model (Teece, 2010) for their solution and use the MVP to validate core assumptions of this business model (Blank, 2013). In single sessions and through Moodle, you are equipped with relevant tools, knowledge and hands-on experience in digital innovation and entrepreneurship.

At the end of the project, you will have produced an MVP, a pitch deck and a report laying out your business model. All of which may be used to progress further and potentially use for funding application.

As part of the project, you will take part in the Startup Olympics that take place over a weekend in mid-November. The participation is mandatory.

The Startup Olympics require a weekend-long full-day commitment from all students. The benefits from this are great: mentoring, support and workshops on business plan and concept modelling, pitching and marketing.

What happens with my ideas afterwards?
To receive continued support and develop your idea further after the semester, you can apply at 
Place Beyond Bytes. There, you benefit from working spaces and facilities, a growing network and access to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Ruhr area, specifically Duisburg and Essen, a growing co-creation space for young, like-minded entrepreneurial students as well as support and access to digital technologies and knowledge and support with these (e. g. GPU clusters, ML- and other AI-related knowledge). Workshops, consultation and exchange with other (student) entrepreneurs will be offered as well.

This course allows you to collect credits for the Sustainable Education Certificate (BNE)

Learning Targets:

The students

  • gain hands on experience in digital innovation and entrepreneurship, 
  • learn about, apply and conduct concept formulation, market research and agile development processes.
  • produce a minimum viable product in forms of a testable prototype, a pitch deck and a report laying out the business model
  • understand and analyse problem domains related to societal, ecological and/or social challenges
  • develop solutions within the problem domains that they have defined in teams

identify critically limits, challenges and advantages of their created solutions


The project is comprised of three stages:

1) Research, problem formulation and ideation process

2) Participation in the Startup Olympics (10. - 12. of November 2023)

3) Further development of business idea: prototyping, concept, business model to MVP


  • 16.10. Kick-off: Organisation of course, continuation of stage 1)
  • 30.10. Presentation of initial ideas, preparation for participation in Startup Olympics
  • 10. - 12.11. Startup-Olympics (information on that in first session)
  • 04.12. Mid-term Evaluation 

in Room WST-C.02.11. Final Presentation day in January/February 2024 (tba). 

Please consider that independent, autonomous work is expected before and in-between the single sessions. 


  • Blank, Steve. (2013). Why the lean start-up changes everything. Harvard Business Review. 91. 93-72
  • Lehmann, J., & Recker, J. (2021). Offerings That are“Ever-in-the-Making” How Digital Ventures Continuously Develop Their Products After Launch. Business & Information Systems Engineering, 1-21
  • Osterwalder, A., Pigneur, Y., Bernarda, G., & Smith, A. (2015).Value proposition design:How to create products and services customers want.
  • John Wiley & Sons.·Teece, D. J. (2010). Business models, business strategy and innovation. Long rangeplanning, 43(2-3), 172-194

Methods of Assessment:

Portfolio (See below)


The final grading will be based on the sum of performance across the individual milestones:

  1. Problem Understanding (20%)
  2. Pitch presentation that highlights solution and validation of core business assumption (30%)
  3. Final Submission (50%)

(1) and (2) are delivered in form of oral presentations, accompanied by presentation decks, (3) represents a written assignment, a report of the business idea (15-20 pages). Details will be given in the first session.