Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI

Testing Business Ideas (Sommersemester 2021)

Dozent: Dr. Frank Pawlitschek (School of Entrepreneurship) , Annalena Lorson (School of Entrepreneurship)

Allgemeine Information

  • Semesterwochenstunden: 2
  • ECTS: 3
  • Benotet: Ja
  • Einschreibefrist: 18.03.2021 - 09.04.2021
  • Lehrform: Seminar
  • Belegungsart: Wahlpflichtmodul
  • Lehrsprache: Englisch
  • Maximale Teilnehmerzahl: 25

Studiengänge, Modulgruppen & Module

IT-Systems Engineering MA
  • Professional Skills
    • HPI-PSK-RW Recht und Wirtschaft
  • Professional Skills
    • HPI-PSK-ML Management und Leitung
Data Engineering MA
Digital Health MA
Cybersecurity MA


Informationen im Hinblick auf die aktuelle Corona-Krise: Aktuell ist für die Veranstaltung ein virtuelles Format vorgesehen. Sollten Präsenzveranstaltungen zu Semesterbeginn möglich sein, wird u.U. auf ein Präsenzformat umgestellt. (Stand: 9.3.2021)

“Your #1 job as an innovator, entrepreneur, or corporation is to test your business ideas to reduce the risk of failure” Alexander Osterwalder, David J. Bland

Our “Testing Business Ideas” seminar, designed for master students, will teach you a number of hands-on techniques for rapidly testing new business ideas. We explain to you how systematically testing business ideas dramatically reduces the uncertainty and increases the likelihood of success for any new venture or business project. It is mainly based on the book of the same name “Testing business Ideas” and partially on the basics of the two previous, internationally popular books “Business Model Canvas” and “Value Proposition Canvas”. Since this is not a normal lecture but rather a practical seminar, you’ll not only learn the process but also design multiple experiments - like filming an „Explainer Video”, setting up a clickable prototype and simple a landing pages or a conducting a Wizard of Oz - in groups (of 3-4 people) and start testing business ideas. After the experiments have been carried out, we will show you how the results will be evaluated and what the next steps can be deduced from them.

The seminar consists of five blocks where you get to know different ways of testing business ideas and their evaluation. In between these blocks you conduct some of the experiments shown in the lecture yourselves in order to become familiar with the scope and added value for your ideas. Lastly, you’ll learn to scale testing systematically in an organization through ceremonies and shared language to avoid
experimental pitfalls.

  • Core questions addressed in this seminar:
  • How does the testing process work and why do I need it?
  • What experiments are there and how do I select a suitable experiment to test my idea?
  • How do I run a successful experiment?
  • Which tools can I use to carry out my experiments?
  • How do I apply these tools in real life?
  • How can I evaluate the results of an experiment and what next steps can be
  • deduced from them?
  • How to reduce the uncertainty of a business idea using experiments?
  • What mindset is needed in an organization in order to avoid pitfalls?


Interest in entrepreneurship. Basic understanding of business models and value proposition is not required but recommended (see used literature). Willingness to experiment on business ideas and get hands dirty.
The lecture will be held in English. Therefore, this lecture requires participants to be able to discuss subject related matters in English.


  • Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Greg Bernarda, Alan Smith: Testing Business Ideas
  • Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur: Value Proposition Design
  • Alexander Osterwalder: Business Model Generation

Lern- und Lehrformen

  • Seminars (5 blocks à 3,5h)
  • Hands-on exercises and workshops


Portfolio examination (consisting of a final presentation, which is assessed as a team grade (60% of the overall grade) and written short reports on the experiments as an individual grade (40% of the overall grade) over the course of the semester)


Dates and times:

  • 11.05.21
  • 01.06.21
  • 15.06.21
  • 29.06.21
  • 20.07.21

(3:15 - 7 pm).

The lecture will (initially) take place via video conference. Links will be sent to participants by the end of April.