Jump to content

INN503 Digital Transformation, Innovation and Sustainability

Course description for academic year 2024/2025

Contents and structure

Digital transformation implies dramatic changes to economies and citizens globally. Digitalization by means of combining different technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence technologies, big data, 3D printing) opens unforeseen possibilities and offers the potential to create radically new products, services, and business models. More, digitalization presents new opportunities in terms of skill sharing, open innovation, and partnership formation between companies and across countries.

New usage of digital technologies, can optimize resource utilization, reduce costs, and increase work efficiency. However, new opportunities driven by digitalization do also impose firms to reconsider their strategies, and their interactions with their environment. The digital transformation depends on the needs and the capacity of organizations to change, in order to tackle the challenges that emerge from their fast-changing environment and take advantage of the capabilities offered by the latter.

This course emphasizes three dimensions of digital transformation: 1) the underlying economics of innovation and creativity, (2) the interorganizational networks and the relationships that organizations need to develop with their environment, and (3) platform strategies and digital ecosystems.

First, we are going to explain how technological innovation is created and diffused and how digitalization can contribute to the creation of sustainable technologies and innovation. Second, we are going to explain the intraorganizational network, the interorganizational collaborations, the interactions of the organization with its environment, and how the effective use of these elements along side with digitalization, affect the transition towards sustainability. In this part, we are going to understand the barriers technological or contextual that may affect the innovation process. Finally, we are going to analyze the nature of platforms, their strategy, their effective use and the platform economy. Finally, platforms inspire to enhanced collaboration, knowledge creation, open innovation, fundraising, and joint sustainability efforts, and differ across national contexts and markets.

The course also analyze how digital technologies can lead towards sustainability. Digital technologies have the potential to contribute to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, to reduce carbon emissions, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and inform decisions through big data. While digital technologies are not neutral, may have a dark side, raising significant ethical concerns, exemplified by the digital divide, algorithmic bias, and digital Taylorism.

Learning Outcome


The student...

  • can describe the underlying economics of innovation, knowledge and technology creation, and the current pressures and challenges in which companies need to adapt.
  • understands the collision between traditional and digital business models.
  • can evaluate digital platforms and their strategies in terms of their business models.
  • can assess the effect of digital transformation on sustainable development and the barriers that may occur that prevent sustainable transformation.


The student...

  • can analyze the external business environment and assess the competitive forces that affect organizations, leading towards digitalization.
  • can discover the value of competing and collaboration with other companies and organizations through networks and inside ecosystems.
  • can evaluate the conditions of digital platform emergence and success (or not).
  • can analyze how digital technologies can transform to sustainable innovations.

General competences

The student...

  • can discuss the transformation pressures and the potential future pathways for firms and organizations.
  • can assess the pros and cons of current digital technologies and strategies driving digital intra/entrepreneurship.
  • can discuss the state of digital platforms in the current market, their effect on the digitalization of companies and organizations, and best practices to interact with digital platforms.
  • can reflect on how digital transformation enables or not the fulfillment of the sustainable development goals.

Entry requirements

No prerequisites

Teaching methods

The course consists of a combination of lectures and seminars. The lectures will be used for covering the core material of the course. In the end of each thematic area the students will be given a set of critical multiple-choice questions in order to test their understanding. Seminars permit participants to present and discuss recent research papers. Each student will present shortly a recent research paper of his/her liking on one of the thematic areas of the course.

The course will include one large group project which will be also the way of assessment of the course. The project work will be group based, with 3 students working together. The project will be on a real-life project in industry/an organization/ecosystem related to the core themes in the course. The student group will analyze digital technologies implemented in an organization, digital platforms or ecosystems and discuss e.g., opportunities and challenges, business models, open innovation and sustainability issues related to the specific case.

The course is taught in compressed form in the first half of the semester.

Compulsory learning activities

3 small multiple-choice assignments and an individual short presentation (10-15 minutes) of a research paper. In order to take the examination the assignments and the presentation must be approved


Assignment. One group based written assignment in the form of a project report.

The course is graded A-F, where F is a fail.

Examination support material

All support materials are permitted

More about examination support material