Innovation Strategy


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  • online
  • on demand



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Who should attend

  • Entry-level to executive leaders
  • Product managers
  • MBA students
  • Data scientists and analysts
  • Entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs

About the course

Any organization can create a new product, service, or technology, but without a structured plan, the chances of a low return on investment are high. In this series of courses, you will learn how to develop an innovation strategy that aligns with your organization’s goals. Throughout the program, you will complete a series of activities that allow you to create and iterate on various aspects of a successful strategy, including identifying an executive champion and other supportive stakeholders as well as developing an overall vision, SMART goals, and a budget. You will practice using the innovation competencies of lean startup, makerspace, and design thinking to aid you in the customer discovery process. You will also learn how to use tools such as hackathons, design sprints, and centers of excellence to embrace the imagination of all your stakeholders. You will identify potential risks to successful implementation of your strategy and create mitigation plans. As you learn, you will create a presentation document called the innovation placemat that you can use to pitch to stakeholders in your own organization to make your innovation strategy a reality.

An enterprise with an innovation culture doesn't just happen. You must plan for both financial success and cultural change. There are several types of and approaches to innovation. How do you create an innovation strategy for your enterprise?


Developing Innovation Strategy

In this course, you will begin to create a roadmap called the innovation placemat. You will identify your organization's goals and align your innovation strategy to it. You will cultivate an executive champion and set SMART goals for your new product, service, or technology. You will identify risks and barriers to deployment and create mitigation plans to overcome them. Along the way, you will hear case studies of organizations large and small, private and government, established and startup, and in many domains who have successfully established an innovation strategy with sustainable positive effects on their bottom lines.

Building Innovation Competencies

To create and sustain a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in your organization, it is helpful to establish an environment that supports certain mindsets. And these mindsets can create first a culture change in your organization, often followed by a higher financial return on investment. These mindsets are the competencies that convert ideas to impact.

In this course, you will learn about and apply three key innovation competencies: lean startup, maker culture, and design thinking. Each of these competencies are used by large and small organizations, resulting in new products and services and satisfied employees and customers.

Lean thinking is a form of customer discovery where you will develop a series of hypotheses and then test them. Maker culture is based on the do-it-yourself ethos and can help you prototype and test products quickly, reducing time to market. Design thinking is a process of empathetically listening to and then co-designing with your customers. While the three competencies have some overlapping methodology, one or two of them will best support your innovation strategy and tie in more effectively with your organization's overall strategy.

Innovation Tools

There are many exciting tools you can use to implement innovation at your organization. These tools are the “hammer and nails” of innovation. In this course, you will learn about 14 innovation tools. You will also see how other organizations have used them to successfully increase cultural and financial ROI, please customers, and improve operational efficiencies. These tools range from simpler activities such as conducting employee training, hosting hackathons, and implementing design sprints to more complex methods such as establishing an external incubator, founding a center of excellence, and acquiring another company. You will then further iterate your innovation placemat.

Implementing Innovation

So far you have created an innovation strategy and established a vision, SMART goals, and outcome measures. You've identified competencies such as lean startup, makerspace, and design thinking, and selected tools to build an innovation culture. Now you will learn how to implement your strategy. After you map key internal stakeholders, you will devise a campaign plan for your strategy and build a dedicated team. You will understand the different motivations of your innovation shop and “the performance engine” and learn to work effectively with performance engine team members. You will further build out your innovation placemat with your implementation plan, identifying policies that can enhance innovation at your organization.

Evaluating and Scaling Innovation

In this course, you will devise a strategy to manage a portfolio of innovation projects at your organization. You will examine best practices for portfolio management and establish a plan to spread your innovation and innovation culture. Then you will examine typical risks to your scaling strategy and establish a sustainment plan. Finally, you will revise your innovation placemat and present a practice pitch. This activity will prepare you to pitch your innovation placemat at your organization.

Key course takeaways

  • Create an innovation strategy for your organization
  • Apply innovation competencies including lean startup, maker culture, and design thinking
  • Develop a plan of internal and external innovation tools to execute your innovation strategy
  • Obtain buy-in, identify funding, and develop infrastructure to support a culture of innovation
  • Use innovation tools such as hackathons, design sprints, and rapid prototyping
  • Deploy the innovation strategy for your organization and measure its effectiveness

What you'll earn

  • Innovation Strategy Certificate from Cornell College of Engineering
  • 50 Professional Development Hours (5 CEUs)


Andrea Ippolito

Andrea Ippolito is a Lecturer and Executive Director of the Engineering Management Program at Cornell University. She recently completed her role as the Director of the Innovators Network at the Department of Veterans Affairs and she previously served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the VA...

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Innovation Strategy at eCornell

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