Research Cluster

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

“Entrepreneurship & Innovation”, another cluster, is dedicated to the establishment of innovative digital and sustainable business models. How can start-ups be made sustainable, what needs to be considered? Which digital business models are viable? How can companies be made fit for digitisation? The focus of our research activities is on start-ups and medium-sized companies. The implementation of sustainability and digitization strategies of established companies is covered in the cluster “Business Transformation.

Bringing business models to life – Visual Business Planner

The “Visual Business Planner” (, is an innovative webapp. With this tool, “living”, number-based business plans can be created and used significantly easier.
Because business plans are only useful if they “live”, i.e. give immediate feedback and are used for constant replanning, estimation, revision, searching for business and price models etc. Ideally, they do not contain any textual descriptions, but rather the self-explanatory planning figures for the balance sheet, income/loss and cash flow from customers, network effects, marketing, prices, sales, costs, profits, taxes, investments, corporate actions and liquidity.

The Visual Business Planner breaks completely new ground for this purpose: it can be scaled as required, is completely interactive, graphic, step-by-step, clearly arranged, didactically comprehensible, completely decentralized, team-oriented and can be used in lectures or further training.
The Visual Business Planner was developed by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Anders, Professor for Strategic Management at the CBS International Business School and Managing Director of the hochschulgründernetz cologne e.V. The Visual Business Planner exists in a first release candidate version. The aim is that it will be further developed on the basis of an agile approach with further insights and requirements from a network

of practice and science and thus be able to contribute significantly to the science and innovation system.
This vision is also shared by the Stifterverband in their program “Wirkung hoch 100” and has chosen the Visual Business Planner project from more than 500 submissions as one of the best 100 projects among their anniversary initiative. More information can be found at:

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