Entrepreneurship for Political Scientists

Course content

Entrepreneurship for Political Scientists


The Entrepreneurship for Political Scientists course is a practical, hands-on course. The students will - as individuals or self-selected groups - pursue specific entrepreneurial ideas. As a student, you will learn ideation, develop viable business models, validate ideas and present them to the class. The hands-on, collaborative approach entails a requirement that students are present and actively participate in all classes and work with ideas between classes. If you are uncertain about this course is a good fit to you, you are encouraged to contact the lecturer prior to enrollment (details below).


As it becomes clear we need new ideas and companies to solve societal problems and reap the benefits of new technologies, entrepreneurship is rapidly becoming more popular and prominent. Although entrepreneurship is often presented as something fast and intuitive, true entrepreneurship is guided by theories and methodologies.


The theories and methodologies of entrepreneurship has largely been taught at business schools. Although some political science graduates become entrepreneurs during the study or after graduation, there is a significant untapped potential. With sharp minds, a strong theoretical and methodological foundation, an appreciation for complexity and strong domain knowledge in politics and government, political scientists have many skills that can be leveraged in entrepreneurship.


In this course, we will read, discuss and try the theories, methodologies and tools of entrepreneurship. We will approach the art and science of entrepreneurship from a political science perspective. We will examine the strengths of our generalist political science education. And we will discuss the weaknesses and blind spots of the education in an entrepreneur context and learn methodologies and theories to overcome them.


The course will help students generate and explore entrepreneurial ideas. Ideas for entrepreneurship can take many forms: for-profit or non-profit, small or big, digital or analogue. The ideas can be targeted government & politics but don't need to be. All ideas are welcome - and the very premise with this course is to let the students spend time on their ideas and find out if it's right for them to pursue them after the course and graduation. In the beginning of the course we will learn ideation techniques, so having ideas prior to the course is not a prerequisite. To get the inspiration flowing, you can examine some of the companies founded by political science graduates: Better Collective, TwentyThree, BetterNow, Notem Studio, Fluks, Complia, NOPA, Sigrid.AI, and Bridge Figures. This is for inspiration only - and students shouldn't limit their ideas or thinking to ventures like these.


The aim of the course is not to romantise entrepreneurship. In the dominating Silicon Valley led narrative, entrepreneurs are widely idolized online and in TV shows on the digital platforms. But this narrative romantises the benefits of being an entrepreneur versus pursuing other career opportunities. We will discuss these opportunities in the class objectively. In the end, this class will help you answer: Is a career as entrepreneur right for you?


About the Lecturer

Thomas Høgenhaven (1983) has a M.Sc. in Political Science from University of Copenhagen (2009) and a ph.d. in IT Management from Copenhagen Business School (2013). Thomas has led digital strategy and product development in Better Collective (2009-2018), a Copenhagen based startup. As respectively Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Product Officer, Thomas has been part of the executive management team driving the growth from a small startup with a team of 3 to a publicly listed company with more than 250 employees in 5 countries. The company has been awarded the Børsen Gazelle award for 8 consecutive years and won numerous industry awards. Simultaneously, Thomas has been on the board of directors in two Danish startups: Gamepay (2013-2015) and Vigga (2015-2018).

Phone: 60616163 | Mail: hogenhaven@gmail.com



Week 1: What is entrepreneurship?

Week 2: Customer & Opportunity Identification

Week 3: Idea generation

Week 4: Empathy & Sense-making

Week 5: Design thinking: Exploring ideation & creativity

Week 6: Lean Startup

Week 7: Business Models I

Week 8: Business Models II

Week 9: Developing prototypes

Week 10: Validating prototypes

Week 11: Marketing

Week 12: Demo day

Week 13: Funding New Ventures

Week 14: Career as Entrepreneur & Exam workshop


Bachelor student: 10 ECTS

Master student: 7.5 ECTS


Notice: It is only possible to enroll for one course having a 3-day compulsory written take-home assignment exam due to coincident exam periods

Learning outcome

Learning Outcomes


Upon completing the course, students are expected:



  • To be able to describe the theories and methodologies of entrepreneurship.
  • To be able to understand strengths and limitations of said methodologies.
  • To be able to master different business models.
  • To be able to reflect on a career in entrepreneurship vs a career in large organizations.



  • To be able to apply entrepreneurship methodologies in practice.
  • To be able to develop new businesses and validate underlying ideas.
  • To be able to evaluate if an idea is worth pursuing.
  • To be able to present their ideas through a succinct pitch.



  • To be able to examine an idea through lean startup and design thinking methodologies.
  • To be able to analyze existing business models and create new ones.
  • To be able to start a venture through a new company.
  • To be able to start a venture in an existing organisation.
  • To be able to structure work independently in a self-selected team.
  • To be able to independently take responsibility for pursuing and validating ideas.

Regular classes, group work, practical exercises and student presentations.


Course literature is a syllabus of 900 pages set by the lecturer and approved by the Board of Studies. If the syllabus includes literature that has been read previously during another course, the student must list additional literature in a supplementary literature list so that, in total, 900 pages of new literature are specified. The student must sign a solemn declaration of compliance with the rule about supplementary literature.


Week 1: What is entrepreneurship?

Venkataraman, Sankaran. "The distinctive domain of entrepreneurship research." Advances in entrepreneurship, firm emergence and growth 3.1 (1997): 119-138. (20)


Mair, Johanna, and Ignasi Marti. "Social entrepreneurship research: A source of explanation, prediction, and delight." Journal of world business 41.1 (2006): 36-44. (9)


Drucker, Peter. Innovation and entrepreneurship. Routledge, 2007. 1-32, 229-240 (44)


Week 2: Opportunity Identification

Kim, W. Chan, and Renée Mauborgne. "Blue Ocean Strategy." harvard business review (2004): 1. Pp 1-9 (9)


Thiel, Peter A., and Blake Masters. Zero to one: Notes on startups, or how to build the future. Broadway Business, 2014. Pp. 1-10, 23-34, 93-106) (35)


Baron, Robert A. "Opportunity recognition as pattern recognition: How entrepreneurs “connect the dots” to identify new business opportunities." Academy of management perspectives 20.1 (2006): 104-119 (16).



Geels, Frank W., and Johan Schot. "Typology of sociotechnical transition pathways." Research policy 36.3 (2007): 399-417. (19)


Week 3: Idea-generation

Smith, Gerald F. "Idea‐generation techniques: A formulary of active ingredients." The Journal of Creative Behavior 32.2 (1998): 107-134. (28)


Gray, Dave, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo. Gamestorming: A playbook for innovators, rulebreakers, and changemakers. O'Reilly Media, 2010. 1-32, 63-68, 84-86, 98-99, 107-108, 117-118, 141-143, 153-154, 250-251 (52)



McAllister, Ian. What is Amazon's approach to product development and product management?. Quora.com, 2012: https://www.quora.com/What-is-Amazons-approach-to-product-development-and-product-management (2)


Week 4 - Empathy & Sense-making

Goleman, Daniel: "What is Empathy?" in Goleman, McKee & Waytz Empathy (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series). Harvard Business Review Press. pp. 1-11 (10)


Kolko, Jon: "A Process for Empathetic Product Design" in Goleman, McKee & Waytz Empathy (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series). Harvard Business Review Press. pp. 71-85 (14)


Waytz, Adam: "The Limits of Empathy" in Goleman, McKee & Waytz Empathy (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series). Harvard Business Review Press. pp. 97-115 (18)


McDonagh, Deana, and Joyce Thomas. "Rethinking design thinking: Empathy supporting innovation." Australasian Medical Journal 3.8 (2010): 458-464. (7)


Kolko, John. "Sensemaking and framing: A theoretical reflection on perspective in design synthesis." Design Research Society (2010). Pp 1-8 (8)



Kolko, John. "Sensemaking and framing: A theoretical reflection on perspective in design synthesis." Design Research Society (2010): 15-27 (13).


Week 5: Design thinking: Exploring ideation & creativity

Brown, Tim. "Change by design." HarperCollins (2009). Pp 13-62 (50)


Kolko, Jon. "Design thinking comes of age." Harvard Business Review (2015): 66-71. (6)


Carlgren, Lisa, Ingo Rauth, and Maria Elmquist. "Framing design thinking: The concept in idea and enactment." Creativity and Innovation Management 25.1 (2016): 38-57. (20)


Liedtka, Jeanne. "Perspective: Linking design thinking with innovation outcomes through cognitive bias reduction." Journal of Product Innovation Management 32.6 (2015): 925-938. (14)


Recommended readings

Müller, Roland M., and Katja Thoring. "Design thinking vs. lean startup: A comparison of two user-driven innovation strategies." Leading through design 151 (2012). (11)


Week 6: Lean Startup

Mintzberg, Henry. "The strategy concept I: Five Ps for strategy." California management review 30.1 (1987): 11-24 (14)


Mintzberg, Henry. "The fall and rise of strategic planning." Harvard business review 72.1 (1994): 107-114 (8)


Ries, Eric. The lean startup: How today's entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. Crown Books, 2011. pp. 1-55 (55)


Blank, S., Why the lean startup changes everything, Harvard Business Review, May 2013, 3-9 (7)


Recommended Readings

Frederiksen, Dennis Lyth, and Alexander Brem. "How do entrepreneurs think they create value? A scientific reflection of Eric Ries’ Lean Startup approach." International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal 13.1 (2017): 169-189.


Ries, Eric. The lean startup: How today's entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. Crown Books, 2011. pp. 78-91, 114-270.


Week 7: Business Models I

Christensen, Clayton M. "The past and future of competitive advantage." Sloan Management Review 42.2 (2001): 105-109. (5)


Bower, Joseph L., and Clayton M. Christensen. "Disruptive technologies: catching the wave." Harvard Business Review (1995): 43-53. (11)


Zott, C., Amit, R. and Lorenzo, M. (2011): The business model: recent developments and future research. Journal of Management 37.4: 1019-1042. (24)


Mair, J. and Schoen, O. (2006): Successful social entrepreneurial business models in the context of developing economies: An explorative study, International Journal of Emerging Markets 2 (1): 54-68. (15)


Week 8: Business Models II

Bocken, Nancy MP, et al. "Product design and business model strategies for a circular economy." Journal of Industrial and Production Engineering 33.5 (2016): 308-320. (13)


Osterwalder, A., & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business Model Generation: A handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, And Challengers. Wiley. Pp 14-119 (40)


Week 9: Developing prototypes

Ries, Eric. The lean startup: How today's entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. Crown Books, 2011. Pp 56-77, 92-113 (44)


Buchenau, Marion, and Jane Fulton Suri. "Experience prototyping." Proceedings of the 3rd conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques. ACM, 2000. (11)


Dow, Steven P., Kate Heddleston, and Scott R. Klemmer. "The efficacy of prototyping under time constraints." Proceedings of the seventh ACM conference on Creativity and cognition. ACM, 2009. (10)


Week 10: Validating prototypes

Lazar, Jonathan, Jinjuan Heidi Feng, and Harry Hochheiser. Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction. John Wiley & Sons, 2010. Pp 20-30, 42-52 (22)


Croll, Alistair, and Benjamin Yoskovitz. Lean analytics: Use data to build a better startup faster. " O'Reilly Media", 2013. 9-29, 153-157, 241-254, 265-269 (46)


Week 11: Marketing

Morris, Michael H., Minet Schindehutte, and Raymond W. LaForge. "Entrepreneurial marketing: a construct for integrating emerging entrepreneurship and marketing perspectives." Journal of marketing theory and practice 10.4 (2002): 1-19. (19)


Chaffey, Dave. Digital business and e-commerce management. Pearson Education Limited, 2015. Pp 323-386 (64)


Week 12: Demo Day

Gray, Dave, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo. Gamestorming: A playbook for innovators, rulebreakers, and changemakers. O'Reilly Media, 2010. 71-73, 87-89, 111, 159-160, 166-169, 192-193 (14)


Denning, Peter J., and Nicholas Dew. "The myth of the elevator pitch." Communications of the ACM 55.6 (2012): 38-40. (3)


Klaff, Oren. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading and Winning the Deal. McGraw-Hill, 2011: 1-18 (18).


Week 13: Funding a company

Drover, Will, et al. "A review and road map of entrepreneurial equity financing research: venture capital, corporate venture capital, angel investment, crowdfunding, and accelerators." Journal of Management 43.6 (2017): 1820-1853. (34)


Schwienbacher, Armin. "Financing the business." The Routledge companion to entrepreneurship (2015): 193-206. (13)


Week 14: Career as Entrepreneur & Exam workshop

Wasserman, Noam. The founder's dilemmas: Anticipating and avoiding the pitfalls that can sink a startup. Princeton University Press, 2012. pp. 27-67 (41)


More information regarding the syllabus will be available on Absalon when the course starts.

Students need a general understanding of political science. Students should have an interest for entrepreneurship and a desire to work independently with own ideas.

Entrepreneurship often lacks diversity, so we strongly encourage everyone with an interest for entrepreneurship to join the course.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
3-day compulsory written take-home assignment.

The examination will focus on describing relevant entrepreneurial theories and applying them to a fictional or real world case.

Although the course will heavily evolve around developing the students' own entrepreneurial ideas, the exam will be a traditional one: The students need to demonstrate that they master the theories and methodologies behind entrepreneurship. The exam is not an evaluation of the students' business ideas.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28