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CEMS Block Seminar combined with Business Communication Skill Seminar (BCSS)

Theme: Crafting innovative business models around advanced technologies

Welcome to Stockholm, the startup capital of Europe. Stockholm is the second most prolific tech hub in the world on a per capita basis, behind Silicon Valley. In fact, if you played a game on your phone today, listened to music online or video-phoned a friend, chances are you used a Swedish unicorn. Skype Spotify, Candy Crush parent King, Minecraft maker Mojang and the payments service Klarna: they were all bred in this unique environment that is Stockholm.

We therefore invite you to a challenging CEMS Block Seminar – Crafting innovative business models around advanced technologies, which is designed and run together with our CEMS partner European Space Agency (ESA), to offer you a special learning experience.

The Block Seminar/BCSS, which runs from August, 26th to September 3rd, 2019, is organized as a live case. Participants will form multi-disciplinary teams and act as advisors for a real client organization from the network of ESA-Business Incubation Centres in Sweden. These organizations are typically engaged in bringing a space-related technology to the market, for instance by developing product/service applications for civilian use. The organizations will provide teams with concrete innovation challenges, which the teams will have to address and solve by the end of the Block Seminar/BCSS.

To this end, participants will be supported by SSE faculty who will train the teams in the use of concepts and tools from core innovation management frameworks: design thinking, agile and lean development, business model innovation and platform strategy. Seminars will help participants to perform their advisory work as best as possible, addressing questions like: how to unearth hidden customer needs that the technology can address? How to reframe the challenge in an innovative way? How to prototype and test an idea as soon as possible? How to devise a go-to-market plan? How to monetize the offering? How to design the value chain? And many other questions. By taking customer and business-model perspectives primarily, participants are expected to complement the technology-oriented expertise existing in the client organizations.

Embedded within the business model development process is hands-on training in all of the communication skills expected of CEMS graduates. These include client-communication etiquette, presentation techniques adapted to particular purposes and audiences, pitching, peer-reviewing and the professional writing skills needed to document project results clearly and convincingly. Indeed, at the end of the Block Seminar/BCSS, teams will present their brilliant and actionable solutions to their clients, to ESA and their partners, as well as to SSE Faculty.

The collaboration with ESA, the involvement of the space business development eco system in Stockholm and Uppsala and the focus on space technology couldn’t be more exciting and well-timed. Space is becoming capitalism’s next frontier, with today’s most successful entrepreneurs, from Jeff Bezos to Elon Musk, from Richard Branson to Larry Page, investing billions of dollars to develop systems that will allow human space travel, exploration and exploitation of extraterrestrial resources.

The Block Seminar/BCSS will take place in the wonderful city of Stockholm and in Kiruna above the Arctic Circle. In Kiruna we will visit the ESRANGE space center as well as the Ice Hotel and other local businesses run by the Sami population to learn a little about their ways of doing business.




European Space Agency


ESA Bic Sweden


Umbilical Design AB



Schedule (tentative)

August, 26th

Registration opens from 09:30


Welcome session


Innovation failures workshop at the Vasa Museum

August, 27-28th



Presentation of challenges by client organizations

Design thinking and business model innovation workshops

Live case teamwork

August, 29th



Flight to Kiruna


Live case teamwork

Tutoring and seminars

August, 30th



Visiting ESRANGE, Sami village and Ice hotel

August, 31th



Live case teamwork

Tutoring and seminars

September, 1st



Live case teamwork and tutoring

Flight to Stockholm

September, 2nd



Live case teamwork

Preparation to presentations and rehearsal

September, 3rd



Final student presentations followed by celebration lunch mingle


SSE Faculty

Mattia Bianchi is Associate Professor at the House of Innovation of the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE). He holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering from Politecnico di Milano. He teaches innovation, entrepreneurship and operations management in bachelor, Master and MBA programs in Sweden, Russia and Italy. Mattia’s research focuses on how iterative, flexible models for innovation, such as Design Thinking, Lean Start-up, and Agile Development, can help organizations be more creative and efficient in their R&D processes. His research has been published in leading management journals, such as Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of International Business Studies, R&D Management and Technovation.

Thomas Lavelle directs the Center for Modern Languages at the Stockholm School of Economics. He holds a PhD in English from Stockholm University. He teaches professional communication, academic writing, and faculty-development courses, with an international background that includes teaching positions in the United States, Great Britain, and Hong Kong as well as Sweden. His current research the Anglophone writing of transnational and translingual writers and its reception. His work has appeared in the Journal of Applied Linguistic, TESOL Quarterly, and the Journal of American Studies, and in a number of scholarly anthologies.

Payment deadline: June 30, 2019

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