Driving Innovation and New Ventures in Established Organizations

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford Graduate School of Business


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Who should attend

  • Executives with at least 10 years of work experience, in roles that give them the ability and responsibility to start new projects or ventures within their companies or divisions
  • Examples of appropriate functions and titles: vice president, managing director, development officer, and director — from medium-size to large companies, from any industry, and from any country
  • Individuals from one company or multiple participants who — if attending as a four- to six-person team — are guaranteed the opportunity to work on their own company project, advancing innovation and creating immediate value for their organization

About the course

Develop best practices and insights to generate and lead innovation in your organization; then put theory into practice with real-world projects.

Innovation isn’t just for startups. In fact, large, established organizations have even greater opportunities to innovate — from the incremental to the truly transformational. Driving Innovation and New Ventures in Established Organizations is the place to start.

The Driving Innovation program is where senior-level leaders dig in, get their hands dirty, and learn how to inspire change. It all begins by asking the big questions: Why do you need to innovate; where is organizational innovation going to happen; do you have the right innovation skills, culture, and people to implement? And, what organizational issues stand in your way? Using strategic frameworks, best practices, and implementation tools you’ll begin to develop the right answers for your organization.

Every day after morning classes, you’ll work in small teams on an actual innovation project. You’ll build a business model, develop project milestones, and create an action plan for implementation that addresses internal resistance. You’ll work with a communications coach to hone your presentation skills and then pitch your team project to your fellow senior executives. This is learning by doing; this is innovation in action.

Key Benefits

Gain a set of comprehensive, actionable tools to move from idea to plan for execution so you can successfully drive change and innovate from within.

  • Learn key skills and business practices for execution: finance, design thinking, strategy, behavioral psychology, organizational design, marketing, value chain, leadership, storytelling, and culture.
  • Identify and overcome the challenges that established companies face when trying to innovate.
  • Learn how to sell your idea within your organization, whether it involves introducing a product, entering a new market, making a strategic pivot, creating an innovation arm, or changing the organizational design.
  • Develop a business model, implementation plan, and pitch presentation for an actual innovation project. Work on a company-specific project if you attend as a small team.
  • Build a strong network of peers with whom you can interact and exchange ideas.

Program Highlights

Corporate Entrepreneurship

In these sessions, you’ll study the most common and substantial barriers to entrepreneurship and innovation within large organizations. These include factors such as internal organization challenges, restrictive decision-making processes, missing competencies (such as the ability to evaluate innovation), institutional and individual attitudes toward risk, organizational politics, and more. You will then identify the set of tools required for overcoming these challenges.

Competitive Strategy for Corporate Entrepreneurs

“The Corporate Entrepreneur helps you take an idea and develop it, evaluate it, communicate it, and, finally, have the tools to execute on it.”

Yossi Feinberg, Faculty Director

At the core of a new-venture business model, we have the logic of the business: Why would this particular new venture be able to capture the value created by the innovative business? The answer to this question typically involves some form of a competitive advantage or a barrier to entry.

In this session, we will study the variety of competitive structures and forms of competitive advantages. These will translate to competitive strategies for the newly developing venture, based on the current organization strategy, competitors, and potential new entrants.

Harnessing Stories for Innovation and Growth

Successful innovation creates a new way of being for individuals or businesses. It disrupts industries and drives success. To innovate, you not only need a big idea, you also need people to create it and people to buy into it.

Story fuels innovation. Stories have long held the power to transform the listener; to take them on a journey that changes how they think, feel, or act. In these sessions, you’ll discuss what it means to tell stories in business, what makes an effective story, and when to use them. You will focus on innovation, but also explore other applications.

Financing Innovation

A key step in leading innovation within your enterprise is obtaining the resources needed to fund that innovation. To do so, it is usually necessary to convince others of the financial and strategic merits.

In these sessions, we will see how we can build a financial model that will allow us to make the decision of whether to fund a new investment in a product, project, or business.

How Strategic Innovation Happens

The business world is being transformed worldwide by innovative entrepreneurial firms. Established corporations have so much more going for them than do tiny startups, and yet often they are left behind by the new, innovative strategies of the startups.

In this session, we describe how it is that new, innovative strategies actually come into existence, and why it is that established firms are often disrupted by these innovations. In the process, we will learn about a consistent pattern that seems to occur when innovative strategies emerge.


William Barnett

Research Statement William Barnett studies competition among organizations and how organizations and industries evolve globally. He is conducting a large-scale project that seeks to explain why and how some firms grow rapidly in globalizing markets. His prior research includes studies of how stra...

Hayagreeva Rao

Research Statement Professor Rao studies collective action within organizations and in markets. His research and by implication, his teaching, revolves around scaling up mobilization, innovation, and talent in organizations. Teaching Statement Professor Rao teaches courses on Scaling up Excellenc...

Ilya Strebulaev

Research Statement Professor Strebulaev is an expert in corporate finance, venture and angel capital, innovation financing, corporate innovation, and financial decision-making. His recent work has examined the valuation of VC-backed companies, decision making by startup investors, returns to VC i...

Robert Burgelman

Research Statement Robert Burgelman carries out longitudinal field-based research on the role of strategy in firm evolution. He has examined how companies enter into new businesses (through corporate entrepreneurship and internal corporate venturing as well as through acquisition) and leave other...

Yossi Feinberg

Yossi Feinberg received his PhD in Mathematics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1997. His thesis studied how differing prior beliefs of decision makers can be expressed by their disagreement on current (posterior) events. After completing his dissertation under the supervision of Nobel ...

Jennifer Aaker

Research Interests Time, Money and Happiness The Power of Story Global Brand Building Emotions, Goals and Health The Psychology of Giving Bio Dr. Jennifer Aaker is a behavioral psychologist, author, and the General Atlantic Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her research focuses...

Jonathan Levav

Research Statement Jonathan Levav studies consumer behavior and behavioral decision theory. He combines laboratory and field experiments, as well as secondary data analysis, in order to study the factors that influence people's choices and judgments. His research on choice focuses on three inter-...

Charles O'reilly

Research Statement Professor O’Reilly’s research spans studies of leadership, organizational demography and diversity, culture, executive compensation and organizational innovation and change. Teaching Statement Professor O’Reilly has taught courses for MBAs and executives in organizational innov...

Brian Lowery

Research Statement Professor Lowery's research seeks to extend knowledge of individuals' experience of inequality and fairness. His work suggests that individuals distinguish between inequalities framed as advantage as opposed to disadvantage. This finding affects how individuals perceive inequal...

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Driving Innovation and New Ventures in Established Organizations at Stanford Graduate School of Business

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Coursalytics is an independent platform to find, compare, and book executive courses. Coursalytics is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with any business school or university.

Full disclaimer.