Building Successful Digital Ventures: Spotlight on Product Management & Digital User Engagement

Master of Business Administration: PMBA6108

Course Description

Modern product management is one of the rising areas in today’s business world and is critical in the process of innovation.

Over the last two decades digital products have been disrupting our lives in so many dimensions: from e-commerce to crypto to the Metaverse. What do these game changing products have in common? Defining the right problem, understanding the target audience, and focusing on building unique experiences that excite, engage, and retain customers – these are issues of great importance not only to startups but also to organizations that wish to remain relevant and compete in today’s world.

This course will cover the entire product management process, and place particular emphasis on user engagement and interactive experience management. Students will engage with Israeli startups and multi-national corporations, providing them with practical, product-focused skills which will make them better product managers, investors, consultants, and leaders in their field. This course will equip students with a cutting-edge skillset, critical for innovation and decision making.

The course will utilize frameworks from tech management, user-experience, strategy and product management, as well as tools from the fields of gamification, storytelling, and community building to address present-day challenges of product strategy. Students will examine the notion of user engagement and will survey behavioral theories, relevant to digital experiences and increasing users’ satisfaction and retention.

As part of the course, students will act as business consultants to leading Israeli ventures. They will analyze current product challenges regarding user engagement, come up with relevant and actionable solutions through intensive workshops and engage in feedback sessions with the start-up to sharpen their ideas.

Israel has a wide variety of B2C start-ups whose business model is dependent on building a global community of engaged users with an emphasis on social platforms and game environments. The students in this course will act as business consultants to leading Israeli ventures. They will analyze the current challenges regarding penetration to new markets and user engagement, come up with relevant and actionable solutions through intensive workshops and engage in feedback sessions with the industry experts to sharpen their ideas.

In recent years, online ventures and firms have sought engaging, meaningful, and memorable digital experiences that increase users’ satisfaction and retention. However, the questions regarding how one should create and manage such offering and experience still puzzles managers: from early-stage entrepreneurs to top management of established firms.

Course objectives

1. Think like a product manager and learn the methodology that drives the development of great products, services, and experiences that consumers want.
2. Master the fundamentals pieces of 1) product strategy 2) the notion of “play” as a user engagement driver and 3) theory of flow
3. Solve business & engagement problems for tech start-ups
4. Cross pollination between MBA students (Global, Executive) and the Israeli Tech Ecosystem
5. Improve your storytelling capabilities with narrative design tools and models
6. Identify the most pressing ethical and societal issues in regard to user engagement and online experiences.
7. Engage in practical workshops to develop an investor pitch deck and trial pitch.

The Instructors

  • Moran Haviv

    Moran Haviv is a pragmatic dreamer, committed to understanding and satisfying customers’ needs and make an impact. Moran have over 20 years’ experience in the high-tech industry. She led ventures from incubation to mature products that claim dozens of millions of loyal users. In her current role, she is leading strategic innovation ventures and the startups & eco system domain at Microsoft’s CTO office in Israel. Prior to Microsoft, Moran led strategic initiatives and incubation areas of retail and shopping experience’s @Shop Your way, and for six years she was VP product for Social, Mobile and Voice commerce for Sears Holdings Loyalty program Shop Your Way. She was also a SW engineer at Persay, a startup company in area of voice biometric that was acquired by Nuance. Moran is teaching product management at many interdisciplinary academic programs globally, leveraging the power of multidisciplinary student groups to demonstrate the work done to craft great products in real life. She also lectures on tech driven innovation. Moran is a seasoned mentor to early stage startups, focusing on GTM and product market fit, product managers, and a VC advisor. She has a B.Sc. in computer science and holds an M.A in History & Philosophy of science and ideas.

  • Dr. Lior Zalmanson

    Dr. Lior Zalmanson is a senior lecturer at the Technology and Information Management Program, Coller School of Management, Tel Aviv University. His research interests include social media, user engagement, internet business models, human-AI interaction, and algorithmic management. His research has won awards and grants from Fulbright Foundation, GIF (German-Israeli Foundations), Grant for the Web, Dan David Prize, Google, Marketing Science Institute, Social Informatics SIG, among others. His works were published in top venues such as MIS Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management Information Systems, and MIT Sloan Review. His studies were covered in The Times, Independent, HBR, PBS, Fast Company, including numerous mentions in the Israeli media. In 2020, he received the Association of Information Systems Researchers' Early Career Award. Formerly Lior was an assistant professor at the University of Haifa, a postdoctoral Fulbright fellow at NYU, and a research fellow at the Metropolitan Museum Media Lab. Lior is also the founder of the Print Screen Festival, Israel's digital culture festival, which connects internet researchers, activists, and artists. In his parallel life, he is a grant and award-winning digital artist, playwright, and screenwriter. His most recent VR work (about the bystander syndrome) debuted at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.

Starts 08/12/2022

Ends 15/01/2023

Lecture Date/HK Time Topic
1 July 5th (Tuesday)

6:30pm -9:45pm

Introduction to Product Management


Theory: What makes a digital product successful and how it differs from traditional product. Introduction to target audience, problem/need/want, needs pyramid, jobs – to – be -done, and value canvas.


Workshop: The class will be divided into groups, each group will create the product’s value canvas, and then share with the class.



2 July 7th


6:30pm – 9:45 pm

Unique Value Proposition


Theory: The session will focus on the difference between value proposition and unique value proposition. How to identify and define the latter by differentiation analysis (market competition and user journey).


Workshop: the class will be split into groups, and each will work on a business case, and present it in class.



3-4 July 10th (Sunday)

10am – 3pm

Interview Workshop & Lean business model canvas


Theory: 1. Observation and interviewing of potential users is a key for understanding what consumers need and want. The session will focus on tips & tricks for collecting valuable information and biases to be aware of.


Workshop: 1. The class will split into pairs, to practice observation and interviewing.


Theory 2: The session will include a crush course to market size analysis, and business model canvas, and go -to-market strategies.


Workshop 2: The class will be divided to groups, and each group will be assigned to a startup and will require to interview the startups. This interview will be the basis for the rest of the course. And students will leverage the lean business canvas tool.


5 July 19th


The Journey to Market Fit


Theory: The session will focus on the importance of quick and continues market validation and pivoting, till the product offering meets a market fit. Methods like MVP, RAT, and wizard of Oz will be covered. The session will include introduction to business models.


In Class Presentation:

Pitch Decks of the problem, solution and unique value prop will be reviewed and analyzed together.


6 July 21st


Product Life Cycle & Pitch Deck Presentation


Theory: How digital products are beating and extending their product life cycle, and where the venture should focus its effort in each phase in the cycle.


Live presentation of Final Project Part 1

7-8 July 24th (Sun)

10 AM – 3 PM

Kick off – Introduction of Course Materials, Methodology


Theory: User engagement and motivation 101, including an introduction to experience design, economics, and ethical aspects. The first session will include a particular focus to understanding different challenges regarding user engagement and online participation.


Workshop: The class will be divided into groups, with each group assigned a start-up. The group will be required to interview the start-up reps and to analyze its current engagement challenges for the class.


9 July 26th (Tue)


Presentation from each group on respective start-up engagement challenges


Theory: Working with the concept of play, we will study the notion of “flow experiences” and how playful features and gamification affect user attention and satisfaction.


Mini-Hackathon: In groups, we will develop flow concepts that address engagement challenges (from day 1).

10 July 28th (Thu)


Presentation from each group on respective solutions using play and flow.


Theory: Working with the concept of community, we will study participatory models such as “the ladder of participation” and the notion of organizational commitment from business literature, to improve our understanding of the hierarchal notion of user engagement and how to best cater different users’ motivations.


Mini Hackathon: In groups, we will invent engagement ladders that consider the relevant user personas for the start-up.


11-12 July 31th (Sunday)
10 AM – 3 PM
Presentation from each group on respective solutions using community.


Theory: Working with the concept of narrative, we will study the science behind storytelling features, the role avatars play in websites, and the importance of a script and structure to a website experience.


Mini Hackathon: In groups, we will write “screenplays” for the apps/website of the start-up, coming up with a narrative structure (hero’s journeys) fitted for different user needs.


We will conclude the course with a last feedback session looking back at all the different ideas and solutions provided to the start-ups.



Additional Information

No addtional information found

For more information

Want to Hear More?

We’ll be happy to contact you at your convenience.