Chapter 3: “Online Company Project” the basics
The “Online Company Project” can be defined by 7 phases or stages. These phases differ in
their objectives and each cover different learning outcome objectives. Every phase will be
graded based on a specific deliverable's, assessed by project coaches of both universities.
(please see the project timeline on the next page).
The set-up the “Online Company” is mainly based/inspired principles and theories of:
The Lean Startup method (Ries, 2008)
Eric Ries is a serial-entrepreneur and author and has kick-started the lean startup
movement. Starting entrepreneurs all over the world use this model to shorten product
development, gather validated learning, incorporate potential customer’s feedback and
test ideas along the way. The method has improve startup success rates and funding.
The customer development model (Blank, 2012).
Customer development is one part of the lean startup method that is of specific interest
in the early stages of a startup, and as such very relevant for the “Online Company”.
Steve Blank is, like Eric Ries, a serial-entrepreneur who has transformed his experiences
into the model that he now teaches at no less than Stanford university and has inspired
hundreds of Silicon Valley-based entrepreneurs and 300,000 online subscribers
his course (Steve Blank.com, 2018)
Outcome-Driven Innovation (Ulwick, 1999).
Outcome-Driven innovation is a customer-centric (jobs-centric) approach to innovation
that has improved the success rate of innovation projects over the last 2 decades.
Together with Godfather of Innovation and Harvard Business School
professor Clayton Christensen, he has shown that Jobs Theory a.k.a. “Jobs-to-be-done”
is so far the best predictor for future success.
These principles and theories are generally accepted by startup entrepreneurs (although Entrepreneurs
increasingly used by existing companies in order to improve innovation output).
A solid basis approach to building a “Online Company” and therefore the core of what we
do within this Project. To most of the students, these theories are relatively new, as they
seem to differ somewhat from more traditional theories of innovation and marketing.
3.1: Innovation as a process
If innovation is a process as earlier defined, it means it can be trained. We do suggest that
students learn these principles and theories. Additionally, we offer online workshops that
specifically deal with these topics and focus at letting student’s solve their own challenges.
3.2: Safe environment to learn
Whereas the “Online Company” is based on the principles mentioned before and to be run
within a safe environment where students are allowed (or even encouraged) to “fail forward”.
Failing is a necessity to succeed. Within this project, students are allowed to “fail”.
Students are encourage to fail, but do so forward, meaning that it’s not meant for them
to go back all the way, but learn for mistakes and take a (slightly) different direction that
will very likely prove more rewarding.
3.3: The seven phases of the “Online Company Project’
The eight phases that all “Online Companies” will go through, although with different
speed and direction, are defined below. As explained before, the program is tailored for
students of both international universities being SWU (Bangkok) and IST (Düsseldorf)
specifically and therefor slightly different than the processes and models mentioned before.
The Introduction & Idea Generation
Concept design marketing strategy
Translate marketing design into action
Test and validate business model
Implementation (virtually) sales and marketing plan
Presentation “group pitch” and individual assessment