Business + Design = Innovation

23 November 2009

BI Norwegian Business School and Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) have entered into a unique cooperation on master studies in innovation.

In the US, this type of cooperation between Business and Design schools often constitutes a quality requirement for certain ranking lists, as it may produce more creative leaders and industrial designers with an ability to collaborate on innovation projects.   

BI Norwegian Business School and the AHO have launched a novel and exciting collaboration project this autumn. The MSc students of Innovation and Entrepreneurships at BI and the AHO students of Industrial Design working on service design will establish a ‘company’ and join forces on developing something new for the national lottery Norsk Tipping and for the insurance company Gjensidige.    

“The disciplines of these two student groups complement each other;  putting this into practice at last is a long-held dream,” says Birgit H. Jevnaker, associate professor at the BI Department of Innovation and Economic Organization and the driving force behind this cooperation project with the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.    

“There is a considerable need for more integrating competence in leadership and innovation, and I believe this cooperation can teach both groups of students to think in new and unconventional terms,” she continues.  

For this interdisciplinary collaboration, the designers will develop a concept and design a product and a message, based on a real order from a real customer. Industrial designers are good at concretizing concepts  while highlighting the end users and visualising solutions. The business innovation students, however, are brought in as strategic innovation consultants with their forte in entrepreneurship, analysis, providing advice and making ideas feasible. 

“The students work in groups while also “co-creating” new concepts, and it turns out that the BI students are creative, too!” says Jevnaker.  


This joint learning project is headed by associate professor Birgit H. Jevnaker of the BI Department of organisation and economic organization, while the Institute of Industrial Design is represented by industrial designer and company founder Birgitta Cappelen in cooperation with professor Simon Clatworthy of the AHO, who is in charge of the courses.  

Birgit Jevnaker has previously taught industrial design, and in the 1990s she was one of the driving forces behind the development of design management and market-strategic design at the Institute of Industrial Design. Jevnaker also recently contributed to the book  “Design Integration” with a chapter entitled ‘Mediating in-between: how industrial design advances business and user innovation’.

The working methods for this new cooperation class will consist of lectures, workshops and group projects. All the students have now set up their consultancy firms, and are joined into super groups as strategic partners to the two existing companies of Norsk Tipping and Gjensidige.  

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