Lecturer, Stratford School of Interaction Design and BusinessTobias Thielen

Dr. Tobias is a lecturer at the University of Waterloo’s Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business. Dr. Thielen teaches the innovation course MDEI 625 in the Master of Digital Experience Innovation program. After completing his bachelor’s and master’s in Business Management and Engineering at Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Germany, Dr. Thielen has worked as project manager and research associate at the chair of Strategy, Innovation and Cooperation, where he conducted his doctoral research on the process of business model innovations in organizational networks. Here, he taught online and in-class courses on business models and innovation and supervised several bachelor’s and master’s theses. Alongside his research, he managed the chair’s involvement in a research project supporting small and medium sized enterprises in applying Industry 4.0 technologies in their operations, funded by the German federal ministry for economics and energy. His responsibilities in the project included the management of strategy and business model innovation related challenges. Subsequently, he took on an appointment as Industry Transfer Manager at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence’s (DFKI) SmartFactoryKL division. Dr. Thielen was mainly involved in a digitalization project supported by the regional ministry for economics, infrastructure, agriculture and viniculture as well as the creation of two Europe-wide networks for Artificial Intelligence research. His research interests lie mostly in the fields of organizational networks and business model innovation.

Courses Taught

  • DEI 625, The Innovation Course

Research and teaching interests

Organizational Networks: Organizational Networks are consortia of three or more legally independent institutions of any kind - public, private, for profit or non for profit. While organizational networks and innovation within them have been well discussed in research over the past years it can be seen that the discourse is mainly technologically driven. Innovations of business models in networks seem to be less part of the research which surprises since business models are said to have a rather disruptive potential.

Business Model Innovation: Since Business Models bear a disruptive potential, their constant innovation seems to be inevitable. While scholars seem to have a common understanding that business models are a combination of different modules working together, there seems to be lesser consent about what these modules are and how they interact with each other. The innovation of business models is commonly understood as a process following several steps, however, it still lacks research regarding the process within a context of organizational networks.

Digitalization: Digitalization is omnipresent in research and practice. While it oftentimes focuses technological innovation when talking about digitalization, research is more and more focusing business-related digitalization topics. Thus, new technologies open doors for new or better business models or more efficient organizational processes.

Creativity Methods: Complex challenges often require unusual solutions. Creativity methods such as Design Thinking or LEGO Serious Play can support innovators in out-of-the-box thinking to come up with new ideas to tackle problems in a creative way.

Presentation and Teaching Experience

  • Network-Based Business Model Innovations: Presentation held at the Trifels Summer School for PhD students organized by the Science and Innovation Alliance (SIAK) of the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
  • Identifying and Utilizing Potentials: Interviewed as an expert on Industry 4.0-Business Models for a special issue of the Trailer World journal about digitalization in the transport and logistics sector
  • Towards Network-Based Business Model Innovations - The Example of the SmartFactoryKL: Presentation held at the 32nd EGOS Colloquium in Naples, Italy
  • Taught courses about Business Model Innovations in Industry 4.0
  • Teaching exchange at the University of Turku, Finland, funded through the Erasmus Staff Mobility program at Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
  • Network Management, Business Model Innovation and Digitalization: Supervision of more than 25 Bachelor’s and Master’s theses with a thematic focus on digitalization, the management of networks and the innovation of business models
  • Strategy Development in Times of Digitalization: Guest lecture as part of the course “Managing the Digital Transformation”
  • Strategic Management of Production Networks: Master’s seminar with a focus on network management and coopetition
  • Business Model Innovation in the age of Industry 4.0 – Making Use of Digital Technologies: Guest lecture as part of the course “Strategic Management – Debates and Cases”

Selected publications

  • Thielen, Tobias 2019: Netzwerkbasierte Geschäftsmodellinnovationen: Untersuchung des Innovationsprozesses von Geschäftsmodellen auf Whole Network Level vor dem Hintergrund von Industrie 4.0. in: Shaker Verlag.

(Network-based Business Model Innovations: An Examination of the Innovation Process of Business Models on a Whole Network Level in Times of Industry 4.0)

  • Müller-Seitz, Gordon; Zühlke, Detlef; Braun, Timo; Gorecky, Dominik; Thielen, Tobias 2018: Netzwerkbasierte Geschäftsmodellinnovationen – Das Beispiel der Industrie 4.0-Anlage SmartFactory-KL. in: Die Unternehmung, 72(2), S. 146-168.

(Network-based Business Model Innovations – The Example of the Industry 4.0-plant SmartFactory-KL)

  • Müller-Seitz, Gordon; Beham, Florian; Thielen, Tobias 2016. Die Digitale Transformation der Wertschöpfung. in: Controlling & Management Review, 60(6), S. 24-31.

(The Digital Transformation of Value Creation)

  • Thielen, Tobias 2017. Individuelle Massenfertigung, Fernwartung und mehr Chancen für neue Geschäftsmodelle in der Produktion. in: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (Hrsg.): Digitale Geschäftsmodelle - Themenheft Mittelstand Digital. Berlin/Frankfurt a. M., Zarbrock.

(Individual Mass Production, Remote Maintenance and Other Chances for New Business Models in Production. Expert Statement in a special issue about Digital Business Models within the journal for “Digitalization in Medium-Sized Companies”)

  • Müller-Seitz, Gordon; Zühlke, Detlef; Braun, Timo; Gorecky, Dominik; Thielen, Tobias 2016. Towards Network-based Business Model Innovation – The Example of the SmartFactory-KL. Conference Paper, European Group for Organizational Studies, Neapel, Italien.
  • Hellge, Viola; Thielen, Tobias; Eiden, Andreas; Obreschkova, Nina 2019. Die Einführung eines ERP-/PLM-Systems in den frühen Phasen der digitalen Transformation erfolgreich vorbereiten. In: Bosse, C.K.; Zink, K.J. (Hrsg.): Arbeit 4.0 im Mittelstand- Chancen und Herausforderungen des digitalen Wandels für KMU.

(Successfully preparing the introduction of an ERP-/PLM-System in the early phases of the digital transformation, in: Work 4.0 in medium-sized enterprises – Opportunities and challenges for SMEs)

  • Schneider, Michael; Schröder, Delia; Mohr, Florian; Thielen, Tobias 2019. Strategische Potentiale der Digitalisierung für Unternehmen und Mitarbeiter identifizieren und nutzen. In: Bosse, C.K.; Zink, K.J. (Hrsg.): Arbeit 4.0 im Mittelstand- Chancen und Herausforderungen des digitalen Wandels für KMU.

(Identifying and utilizing the strategic potential of the digitalization for companies and their employees, in: Work 4.0 in medium-sized enterprises – Opportunities and challenges for SMEs)

Connect with Tobias

Email icon  tthielen@uwaterloo.ca
Phone icon   519-888-4567 ext. 32011
Office icon  DMS 2018
LinkedIn icon   linkedin.com/in/tobias-thielen-i-4-0

University of Waterloo
Contact information: 

Profiles by type