Course Number:         EW 290T-12


Course Title:              Open Business Models & Open Innovation


Units of Credit:           3 units


Instructor:                   Solomon Darwin 


E-mail Address:


Meeting Days:            Saturdays 9am-12pm


Prerequisites:             None


Class Format:             An interactive project-based class with lectures, case studies, and guest speakers


Class Attendance        100

Class Participation      150

Mid‐Term                    300

Peer Evaluation           100

Final Project                350

Total Points            =  1,000


Important Policies that will affect the grade:

       Class participation is encouraged.

       Attendance, and being on time to class will be rewarded.

       Cell phone use & texting during class will not be allowed.

       No laptop policy: Hard copy of the PowerPoint slides will be distributed before the lectures for taking notes.



This course presents an opportunity for those students who are passionate about employing their innovative and creative talents to learn the process of Open Innovation to address the business model challenges of real companies. To demonstrate the solid understanding of the process, concepts and strategies, the students work in groups of five to seven to formulate a solution to the problems the companies are currently facing. Students work with respective Senior Corporate Executives who present their challenges. This includes exploring new business models and prospective markets in light of the changing economic landscape, social trends, and emerging technological advances. The intent of the course is to create heterogeneous groups to leverage the diverse experiences, skill-sets, and tacit knowledge of individuals within each group to frame and solve problems. The groups tap into both internal and external ideas, generated on ideation platforms, to explore and create innovative business models to deliver products and services. Sourcing of external ideas from a larger and diverse population is preferred in building good business models.


The business model solutions proposed by student groups need to be viable, scalable, and executable for implementation. The senior executives from each of the respective firms will judge the final presentations at the end of semester. The instructor will serve as a mentor/consultant to each of the group in addition to class lectures. The sponsoring company executives will provide a mid-point review to provide feedback and guidance.


Course objectives:

  1. Understand the process  of Open Innovation Implementation
  2. Utilize creative talents within the group to address challenges of real companies.
  3. Work collaboratively with other groups and be open to exchange and cross synergies.
  4. Engage with  Senior Executives in problem framing and problem solving
  5. Focus on break-through and disruptive solutions vs. incremental solutions
  6. Sourcing ideas from a larger pool and diverse population is preferred vs. internal ideas.
  7. Present a business model solution with recommendations to senior executives for evaluation.


Course Layout:

The professor will focus the first few weeks on providing tools for the business innovation project.

       The seven building blocks of a business model

       Key metrics of business performance and innovative models

       Examples of Closed vs. Open Innovation models

       Lessons learned from case studies of successful and failed business models

       Working with the professor and senior executives to frame the problem

       Researching, and analyzing the firms financials, its industry, and markets

       Soliciting external ideas through innovation platforms

       Exploring alternative models

       Recommending an innovative business model solution


Professor Darwins previous student projects on business model innovation involving senior executives includes: Intel, HP, McKesson, Nike, Best Buy, Shell, Dole, United Health, Johnson & Johnson, SAP, Lenovo, Mindray, Huawei, Mattel, Standard Chartered Bank, Cisco and Ericsson,


In the fall of 2013, we plan to select top companies from the following industries: Sports; 2. Entertainment; 3. Biotech; 4. Energy; 5. Cleantech; 6. Healthecare; 7. Policy & regulation; and 8. Financial Services.


Class Schedule



Class Day

Topic for Disccussion


Haas C135


What is a Business Model?


Haas C135


NO CLASS (Labor Day Holiday)




Open Innovation in the Changing Landscape


Haas C135


Open Business Models - Cases


Haas C135


Performance Metrics - for Business Models


Haas C135


Disruptive Innovation - Case Studies




Open Services Innovation


Haas C135


Digital Business Model Innovation




Sustainable Innovation




HP Case Discussion


Haas C135


Topics in Open Innovation - Guest Speaker




Meet in Groups - Instructor feedback


Haas C135


Emerging Topics in Business Models - Guest Speaker




Pre-Presentation to Other Executives for input


Haas C135


NO CLASS (Thanksgiving Holiday)


Haas C135


Meet in Groups - Instructor feedback


Haas C135


Final Presentations to Corporate Sponsors





Professor Darwin comes with broad leadership experience in corporate management & academia. He actively teaches this topic internationally at several prominent European and Asian universities as well as in the Executive Education program at Haas. His teaching experience spans over 16 years. Prior to joining the Haas School of Business Berkeley in 2005, he was an Associate Professor for 9 years at USCs Marshall School of Business in Los Angles. He is recognized by his peers and students for innovative leadership, teaching, and curriculum development. At Haas, he moderates International Conferences, Innovation Forums, and chairs the Deans CFO and Chief Innovation Officer Round Tables on a quarterly basis. He is the associate director for the Center for Open Innovation and works closely with Professor Henry Chesbrough the father of Open Innovation.


His progressive corporate leadership experience covers a span of 14 years as a Senior Finance Officer at Bank of America; Director of Finance at First Interstate Bank; Corporate Controller at Glendale Federal Bank and Senior Financial Analysts at Motorola.


During his spare time, he consults and trains senior executives. The list includes Google, Genentech, Hewlett Packard, Health Net, UCSF Medical Center and several other Silicon Valley companies and startups, as well as businesses in Mexico, China, India, Russia, and Europe.