GRA 3165 The Crowd, The Cloud, and Sustainable Innovation

GRA 3165 The Crowd, The Cloud, and Sustainable Innovation

Course code: 
GRA 3165
Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Course coordinator: 
Sheryl Winston Smith
Course name in Norwegian: 
The Crowd, The Cloud, and Sustainable Innovation
Product category: 
MSc in Entrepreneurship and Innovation
2024 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Unbridled advances in technology and connectedness have transformed the relationship between companies, customers, and competitors.  With this transformation, the lines between business relationships, social connections, and competitive advantage are increasingly connected to one another.  Thus, companies across all industries and size classes—from established industry giants to high-growth companies in new technology areas—require the skills and knowledge to strategically harness the power of “the crowd and the cloud”.  This course addresses the distinct challenges and opportunities posed by the confluence of digital community, powerful and expanding data gathering and analytics, and the intertwining of technological change and business models. 

This course is relevant for students seeking to expand their skills in harnessing insights from real-time change for the development of powerful and adaptable decision-making and innovation. This class will draw upon current topics including: the crowdsourcing of innovation in established firms and new entrants; the use of technological connectedness and social media strategies in developing innovative user communities; the challenges and opportunities of co-creation; and the emergence of crowd-based funding as a financial tool for launching new projects.  The course relies on case analysis and class discussions focused on applying analytical skills to challenges and opportunities in current contexts.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge
  • Students will learn to identify the strategic value of crowd-based models of innovation and product development. 
  • Students will become knowledgeable about the widespread impact of cloud-computing and big data
  • Students will learn to understand the importance of data analytics in strategy formulation
Learning outcomes - Skills
  • Students should be able to understand when crowd-based strategies are most valuable and consider various alternative means of utilizing the crowd
  • Students should be able to recognize the value of user-based ideas and apply this knowledge to developing business plans
  • Students should be able to develop a business plan for a new venture or corporate venture that leverages the crowd or the cloud
  • Students should be able to use digital tools to communicate with potential investors and corporate innovators
  • Students will be able to apply analytic tools that can be applied to reaching corporate and social sustainability goals
General Competence
  • Students should be able to use their knowledge and skills in unique situations to identify the opportunities offered by the growing importance of crowd and cloud based strategies, but also understand the tradeoffs involved amongst these choices
  • Students should be able to draw on insights from theory and their own application to reflect on appropriateness of different digital strategies
  • Students should be able to draw on insights from theory and their own application to develop a deeper understanding of challenges and opportunities relating to sustainability
Course content

The course content includes:

  • Crowd, Cloud, and Strategy: the crowd in strategy and innovation, big data and strategy, how do current innovation models adapt to digital trends
  • Leveraging the Cloud: Killer apps, “software is eating the world” and strategy
  • Strategic crowdsourcing, innovation, and entrepreneurship: ideas from the crowd, user innovation and user entrepreneurship, open innovation models
  • Strategically leveraging the cloud in analytics: big data, cloud computing, data analytics
  • Crowdfunding and innovation: debt and product-based crowdfunding, equity crowdfunding
  • Digital trends and multisided platforms: platform-based models, invention platforms,
  • Digital universe, power of big data: impact across industries, e.g., digital health, fintech, renewables
  • Sustainable innovation: using open innovation for sustainability, tackling big challenges, invention platforms
Teaching and learning activities

The course is premised upon your thorough preparation and participation in every session. The format is highly interactive and relies on vigorous class discussion of readings, critical case analysis, and team exercises.

The digital engagement platform Yellowdig will be used as a tool for class participation.

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

Please note that it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.

All parts of the assessment must be passed in order to get a grade in the course.

The examination for this course has been changed starting academic year 23/24. It is not possible to resit the old version of the examination.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Blog production
1 Semester(s)
Collection of weekly blogs and comments
Exam code: 
GRA 31652
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Group (4 - 6)
1 Semester(s)
Team Project
Group size may vary depending on class size.
Exam code: 
GRA 31653
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
All exams must be passed to get a grade in this course.
Total weight: 
Student workload
36 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
50 Hour(s)
Group work / Assignments
20 Hour(s)
60 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.