In the module “Forest Organizations and Management”, our MSc students had the task to elaborate business models of various forest organizations. In a course of two days, the students came to the campus in Tharandt to conduct group work. This was the only chance in this summer semester that the master students returned to the campus for face-to-face learning. Of course, we did our best to implement the physical distancing measures.
Employing the “Business Model Canvas” framework, the students worked in groups and diagnosed the business models of their chosen case study. The forest organizations ranged from a national park, farm forestry, family-owned enterprises, small and medium-sized enterprises, state-owned enterprises, forest user groups, to forest cooperatives. On day one, the students had the opportunity to discuss further with their supervisors and prepared the posters, which they presented on the next day.
After the presentations, the students reflected their experiences on using the framework. It was regarded to be a generic framework, which served well as a good start to diagnose core elements of a business model. However, some forest organizations, such as national parks, are not profit-oriented. In this regard, the Business Model Canvas was deemed more suitable for profit-oriented organizations.
As a way to celebrate the students’ reunion, students and the institute members socialized together outdoor while enjoying a sunny July afternoon. We are glad that our students remained healthy during the COVID-19 wave, and that despite the “studying from home” situation, our students managed to remain engaged.
By Kendisha S. Hintz