DRE 5016 Innovation in Projects and Networks

DRE 5016 Innovation in Projects and Networks

Course code: 
DRE 5016
Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Course coordinator: 
Jonas Søderlund
Course name in Norwegian: 
Innovation in Projects and Networks
Product category: 
PhD Innovation and Entrepreneurship courses
2019 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Projects and networks are central features of innovation. They constitute contemporary and critical contexts for much of innovation activities in a range of industries and sectors. This course centers on networks and projects and their role for innovation, and more particularly the balance, interaction, and dynamics between the permanent and temporary features of innovation.

The underlying argument is the significant role of networks and projects for innovation, which contrasts to much conventional writings on innovation that typically has focused on the single firm as the primary locus for innovation. However, modern economies to a greater extent rely on inter-organizational relations, collaborative networks, and various kinds of inter-organizational projects to create and diffuse innovation. In particular, networks play a pivotal role in explicating the propensity to innovate, the diffusion of innovation and ultimately the market success of innovation. As a response to this development, this course will cover several streams of research to locate the contexts and institutional and network embeddedness of innovation, the network and inter-organizational dimensions of innovation. Through the study of state-of-the-art network research, this course addresses the link between social structure and several central properties of innovation. The course also elaborates on the role of projects to drive innovation and new organizational forms to drive innovation, especially innovation in project-based organizations. In that respect, the course seeks to combine recent research within the area of networks and projects to offer an alternative to the conventional firm-centric view on innovation.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge
  • Have a good understanding of the forefront of knowledge on project-based organization, networks and innovation, including current debates and state-of-the-art, and be able to evaluate their expediency related to specific research questions
  • Have an understanding of the theoretical foundations for the research on innovation in projects and networks
  • Have an understanding of methodical challenges in research on innovation in projects and networks
  • Have a good understanding of knowledge gaps and central debates related to research on innovation in projects and networks, and be able to assess how they relate to their own PhD work
Learning outcomes - Skills
  • Be able to critically discuss, evaluate and position own research with the various theoretical perspectives related to research on innovation in projects and networks and relate them to their own Ph.D. work.
  • Be able to evaluate and critique research on innovation in projects and networks, and suggest and apply future research to develop the research area further
Learning Outcome - Reflection
  • Have increased their ability to reflect on and consider theoretical problems in a general sense in research
  • Have a better understanding of various research approaches and research methodologies.
  • Have a better understanding of literature analysis and reviewing of scholarly papers.
  • Have improved their ability to communicate (in writing and orally) problems, analyses, and results to colleagues.
Course content
  • The nature and dynamics of innovation projects

  • Innovation in projects

  • Innovation in project-based firms

  • Network perspectives on innovation

  • Innovation networks and inter-organizational collaboration

  • Network embeddedness of innovation and projects


Learning process and requirements to students

The course consists of two modules and a final seminar where course papers will be presented. The first module – projects for innovation - centers on aspects related to projects and organizing by projects, whereas the second module addresses approaches to networks and innovation.


Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information



Enrollment in a PhD Programme is a general requirement for participation in PhD courses at BI Norwegian Business School.
External candidates are kindly asked to attach confirmation of enrollment in a PhD programme when signing up for a course. Other candidates may be allowed to sit in on courses by approval of the courseleader. Sitting in on a course does not permit registration for the course, handing in exams or gaining credits for the course. Course certificates or conformation letters will not be issued for sitting in on courses.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
1 Semester(s)
Exam code: 
DRE 50161
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Exam organisation: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 7,5 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 200 hours.