Innovative Product Leadership: the Emerging Chief Product Officer

Stanford Graduate School of Business

How long?

  • 6 days
  • in person

Stanford Graduate School of Business


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Who should attend

  • Experienced product managers and aspiring chief product officers who are motivated to lead and ignite change in their organizations — from any industry and country
  • Senior-level product managers with at least eight years of product management experience — from any size or stage company
  • Technically-minded product managers seeking business expertise to take on more senior-level strategic roles in the organization

About the course

Develop strategic frameworks, customer empathy, and communication and leadership skills to help you move from product management to the C-suite.

Today’s chief product officers have more responsibilities, impact, and influence than ever before. With the product function growing in importance, product managers striving to reach the C-suite need to think and lead more strategically. Innovative Product Leadership: The Emerging Chief Product Officer helps prepare you for this highly demanding and desirable role.

This one-week, interdisciplinary program is designed for senior-level product managers with their sights set on becoming a more strategic CPO. Explore which approaches and frameworks will help your organization gain a competitive advantage. Discover how customer insights can inform product development. Learn how to communicate with purpose and exert influence without authority. And develop leadership skills that motivate cross-functional teams to drive product innovation.

Innovative Product Leadership: The Emerging Chief Product Officer combines proven business strategies and a Silicon Valley mindset with a hands-on, real-world product challenge. In this one-day field project, you’ll gain market knowledge, value proposition insights, and pricing strategies to help your company transition from selling what you make to making what you sell.

Key Benefits

  • Learn product management strategies, innovative approaches, and bold leadership required in the C-suite.
  • Develop new tools to strengthen the product management process across larger portfolios.
  • Influence product decision making with the customer at the center.
  • Gain hands-on experience working in the field and on a real-world product challenge.
  • Enhance your internal and external communication skills.
  • Build leadership skills to manage and motivate cross-functional teams.


Prepare for the chief product officer role with curriculum that blends strategy, customer empathy, communication, and leadership.

How do you bring customer-focused thinking to product development? How do you develop the right capabilities to deliver value to the customer? How do you influence without authority and motivate cross-functional teams? Innovative Product Leadership: The Emerging Chief Product Officer delivers an academically-rigorous and experiential curriculum to get you thinking and doing.

The program combines classroom lectures taught by world-renowned Stanford GSB faculty, Silicon Valley guest speakers, and a hands-on, real-world business challenge. Drawing on the Silicon Valley spirit of creative thinking and problem finding, this unique program includes a full-day field project where you’ll interact with customers and work as a team to solve a real-world product challenge. At the end of each day, you’ll also meet with faculty and peers to “connect the dots” and explore how new learnings can translate into specific action.

Program Highlights

Below are just a few of the sessions you’ll attend as part of the program.

Deriving Customer Insights from Data

We live in the age of big data. But data do not speak for themselves. The story they tell needs extracting through careful analysis. In this session, we will discuss the possibilities, and pitfalls, that come with data-driven customer management. We will discuss how data can inform customer segmentation, acquisition and retention. We will primarily focus on how new data types and data analytic techniques help understand the social and cultural processes that mediate between product makers and their customers.

Empathy Mapping

Engaging with people directly can reveal a tremendous amount about what they think and the values they hold. The stories that people tell and the things they say they do — even if they are different from what they actually do — are strong indicators of their deeply held beliefs. Useful products, services and systems are built on a solid understanding of user needs. This session will teach you what to do with the information they share.

Realizing Synergy: Designing and Leading Innovative Teams

Throwing people together and calling them a "team" does not produce a team. Transforming a group of individuals into a high performing team is part of the fabric of leadership. Building on several decades of research, we explore the major challenges of teams who must innovate or solve problems. Teams have three major levers that can enhance a team's capacity to innovate: team composition, member participation, and influence.

We will use the context of a team task to explore the ways in which team members can get their voice heard. In addition, we will identify actionable strategies for structuring teams to improve members' ability to hear and incorporate divergent and minority opinions as they face the challenge of innovation.

Strategic Leadership in Dynamic Environments

In this session, we will examine why it is important to build the strategic leadership of a company and how to do it. We will also discuss some simple analytical tools that strategic leaders can use to get a better understanding of their strategic situation and what they can do about it to increase their organization's transformative and innovative capacities.


Margaret Ann Neale

Research Statement Margaret Neale’s research focuses primarily on negotiation and team performance. Her work has extended judgment and decision-making research from cognitive psychology to the field of negotiation. In particular, she studies cognitive and social processes that produce departures ...

Baba Shiv

Research Statement Baba Shiv's research expertise is in the area of neuroeconomics, with specific emphasis on the role of neural structures related to emotion and motivation in shaping decisions and experiences. His recent work examines the interplay of the brain’s "liking" and "wanting" systems ...

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...

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-...

Harikesh Nair

Research Statement Harikesh Nair is interested in marketing analytics and computational social science. His research brings together social science theory, statistical tools and Marketing data to better understand consumer behavior and to improve the strategic marketing decisions of firms. This w...

Amir Goldberg

Research Statement Amir Goldberg’s research lies at the intersection of cultural sociology, data science and organization studies. He is interested in understanding how social meanings emerge and solidify through social interaction, and what role network structures play in this process. The co-di...

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Innovative Product Leadership: the Emerging Chief Product Officer at Stanford Graduate School of Business

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