In 1958, corporations spent an average of 61 years on the S&P500. That number had shrunk to 18 years in 2011. At the present rate, 75% of the S&P500 incumbents from 2016 will be gone by 2027 according to a McKinsey study. Disruption is happening faster than ever, which presents both a threat to established corporations and an opportunity for those who commit to innovate. Many of the management practices that have been central to historical success of large enterprises are no longer sufficient, and in many cases will make it harder for incumbents to thrive in this new era of rapid change.
This class is designed for students who want to be leaders of this rapid innovation and who want to help their organizations spark productive disruption. Research has shown that different skills are required to manage established enterprises versus changing the status quo amid uncertainty. Moreover, research has shown that effective leaders of innovative organizations execute and practice these skills far more frequently than the average manager. Designed as an experiential, skills-based class, this course will enable you to practice and hone these essential innovation skills, build your creative muscle, and arm yourself with a tactical set of tools that you can use to identify and more importantly execute on innovation opportunities.
This course explores 4 themes of skills that are crucial to leading innovation and change in an organization.
· Theme 1: Discovery and Creation– You will practice the skills that are required to see the world through a different lens, to identify opportunities and potential sources of disruption, and to create non-obvious solutions to problems. We will explore these skills and practice flexing these muscles through in-class exercises and group homework assignments. Creativity will be heavily emphasized throughout the entire class.
· Theme 2: De-Risking and Execution – Not knowing how to manage risk is a leading reason why companies kill breakthrough innovation. We will explore why this happens and learn tactical tools you can employ as a leader to manage risk and execute innovation despite the unknowns.
· Theme 3: Communication and Influence – Communicating new or complex ideas and bringing others along to support you is crucial to making innovation happen. In this portion of the class we will explore how to employ alternative strategies such as visual communication and storytelling in your pursuit of communicating your ideas and influencing others.
· Theme 4: Innovation Infrastructure – This portion of the class will explore corporate topics surrounding innovation with a focus on how to develop a sustainable innovation strategy supported by the right capabilities, structure, and culture. We will discuss various organizational and strategic models for executing innovation, and the challenges of execution within established enterprises.
Readings and asynchronous lectures will be assigned prior to each class to introduce content. Classroom time will be spent applying the course concepts through case discussions, in-class activities, and guest speakers. Students will also work in teams on 3 group assignments throughout the quarter that parallel course content and enable you to apply skills learned in class.
This class is designed to make you a more creative and ambidextrous thinker and to arm you with a toolkit for leading innovation and growth in the context of high risk, nebulous, and highly uncertain innovation initiatives. We will cover the foundational principles of user-centered design and prototyping through the context of solving business problems broadly, however traditional product development tools and frameworks are not the focus of the class. Specific learning outcomes of this course include becoming:
· A stronger innovation practitioner (greater proficiency of using innovation skills and tools)
· A more effective manager of innovation (ability to manage the process and connect the right people/recourses/thinking to make things happen)
· A more inspirational leader of innovation (greater ability to think creatively, teach others, and inspire others)