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MIT Professional Education

Innovation: Beyond the Buzzword

Innovation: Beyond the Buzzword
Jul 15—17
3 days
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
USD 3200
USD 1066 per day

How it works


We live in an age of exponential change in which rapid innovation is disrupting and unseating incumbent products industries, creating new technological frontiers, and challenging nearly everything we think we know about business. Think Uber and the end of the medallion taxi industry. Think Airbnb in more than twice as many countries as Hilton in less than 5 percent of the time. Think Tesla. Think Oculus. But beyond using the “buzzword,” can you really define innovation?

In this course, which is centered on the concept of Design Thinking, your answer to that question will come from actually involving yourself in the activity of innovating. The course will include lectures from faculty and guests, discussions of emerging trends in human behavior and new technologies that are changing our society. Participants will engage with case studies in innovation models and methods and learning expeditions on and beyond the MIT campus. The course will go beyond traditional classroom activities to include group work and a class hands-on brainstorming through which to engage in genuine innovating – and through that, to gain an understanding beyond the buzzword. Participants will emerge as more critical thinkers, knowledgeable about what innovation is (and is not), how it happens through applied design thinking, and how to imagine opportunities for innovative products, services, and experiences.

Active class participation, a willingness to engage with others in a creative process, and a recognition that you might have a lot to learn about innovation are all prerequisites for the class.

Participants will complete this course with a firm, practical understanding of what constitutes genuine innovation and how innovators’ models, methods, and modes of thinking can be utilized to create stronger, more innovative business models, product design, customer experiences and more. With this, they will be able to approach their own teams, departments, products, and business strategies with a critical eye and develop new approaches for innovating.


Takewaways from this course include:

  • Learning what constitutes genuine innovation;
  • Understanding how to apply design thinking to transform their own organizations.
  • Learning the fundamentals of Design Thinking, its methods and models, how it promotes innovation, and how it is different from other methods
  • Learning the existing and emerging trends in tech, industry, and our society
  • Understanding how the business landscape is being changed by innovators, and the strategies that make it possible to succeed in this new age

Who should attend

To facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas, approaches, and critical thought, professionals from all industries are welcome. Strategy leaders, directors of innovation and technology, product managers, engineers, marketers, R&D personnel and people from across the functional business spectrum will find the course valuable. All participants must come with a willingness and enthusiasm to engage and be ready to share their particular passions and expertise.


Edward Schiappa is Professor and Head of Comparative Media Studies/Writing and is MIT’s John E. Burchard Professor of the Humanities. He conducts research in argumentation, persuasion, media influence, and contemporary rhetorical theory. He has published 10 books and his research has appeared in ...
Federico Casalegno, associate professor of the practice, is the founder and director of the MIT Mobile Experience Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SHASS, Program in Comparative Media Studies. He has been awarded honorary professorships by the Glasgow School of Art, University of ...
Yihyun Lim is director of the MIT Design Lab, where she directs a multidisciplinary group of researchers, engineers, and designers to drive design innovation across various industry sectors. With Prof. Casalegno, she brings together behavioral research and design methods to situate emerging netwo...
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