March 8, 2017

Phase 3 – Strategic plans for the innovative online courses

Image of Innovation Light bulb

This is the final entry for the “Developing Online Resource for the Family Business Education” project, which has completed in-depth analysis of a number of online learning platforms, course requirements and structures for developing their online resource.

In conclusion

Choosing the online platform doesn’t end the story of this project. This is just the beginning towards having ‘Family Business Courses’ online on a massive scale and making Digital Lancaster Vision 2020 a reality. Our next approach is to adapt a lean startup strategy in which we would launch a short online course. This would give us an opportunity to pivot into right direction by adapting to user feedback. It is easier and quicker to launch a short innovative online course on Future Learn based on the existing partnership between Lancaster University and Future Learn. The next steps are to work towards the content of the short online courses. To do that we have come up with a 4-pillar approach in which each pillar stands as a different short online course.


This short online course would be about “Introduction to Family Businesses”. It is true that family businesses represent much of all companies and dominate the economic landscape around the world. The main intention of this first short online would be to empower the learners that what makes family businesses different and unique. This first short online course would act as a breeding ground for upcoming short online courses because it will enable us to collect critical feedback on how the topic of family businesses is perceived in the market of MOOCs. Moreover, it would empower the Centre of Family Businesses in the development of future courses.


Succession is the queen topic in the study of family business research. Once the dust settles and we get a chance to learn from the feedback of the first short online course, the next would be about ‘Managing leadership succession in family enterprises’. In any family business, the leadership succession is a major event and it affects each part of the business. “The succession process is defined as the actions, events, and developments that affect the transfer of power and managerial control across generations.” (De Massis, Chua & Chrisman, 2008)


Some family businesses don’t have the profit as their centre goal because for them it’s not a business but the following of tradition and family values. In research terms, we call it non-economic goals. In some family businesses, it’s more than just money. Family-and business-centered goals coexist within the family business, and family firm managers must be able to balance the family’s and the business’s needs and priorities (File et al., 1994)


Some might believe that the family businesses can’t keep up with the 21st Century technological innovation and cannot innovate for future. Centre of Family Businesses want to empower its online course users that this belief is not true through this short online course about “Innovation through tradition”. This process works when, “…Both the competitiveness of firms and more in general welfare depend critically on the ability to keep up in innovative products and processes and in the underlying technologies” (Pavitt, 1999)

End of this project but stay tuned! Short online courses coming soon……!



Project overview and Phase 1 & 2 blog entries