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Harvard Business School

Leading Product Innovation

General Management Program: Learning to Innovate

Next dates

Jan 20—24, 2020
5 days
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
USD 11150
USD 2230 per day


For several years, Apple has ranked as the most innovative business in the world. How does this winning company continue to achieve success in its quest to develop—in the words of Steve Jobs—insanely great products? This program takes a deep dive into the latest innovation tools, business models, and positioning strategies used by market-leading companies across the globe. You will emerge fully prepared to build and manage a highly creative culture that can transform customer experiences into a long-term competitive advantage.

What You Can Expect

Leading Product Innovation empowers you to transform the customer experience—and your business—by fostering open innovation across all functions of the organization. You will learn how to identify the drivers that influence product diffusion and make one product a star, and build powerful initiatives across business units that keep your company on the cutting edge. Specifically, you will learn how to:

  • Develop focused product plans that align with your firm's strategy
  • Identify and create new opportunities for product innovation
  • Design a development strategy for deciding which projects to pursue
  • Understand the potential of disruptive and open innovation models
  • Bring new products to market faster and more efficiently
  • Reevaluate your product portfolio as market conditions evolve
  • Integrate your customers into the innovation process
  • View each project as an opportunity to develop new capabilities

How Will My Organization Benefit?

Executive Education programs at Harvard Business School are a significant investment for both you and your organization. Going far beyond the basic transmission of skills and theories, each leadership development program provides applicable lessons in the classroom that can be implemented successfully within your organization. You will acquire a fresh perspective on global business from our groundbreaking curriculum, world-renowned faculty, and an accomplished group of elite peers from around the world.

Your Course of Study

Immersed in interactive lectures, dynamic classroom discussions, and small group activities, you will examine new innovation strategies and business models for developing breakthrough products and services. In the process, you will rethink your company's product development system and begin to customize a focused strategy that assesses the drivers of new product adoption and predicts the demand and rates of diffusion.

The carefully designed curriculum for this leadership development program incorporates five integrated sections:

Exploring Innovation Systems and Tools

  • Applying design thinking to drive innovation
  • Viewing the CEO as chief innovator
  • Improving product development and innovation strategy
  • Leading bold business experimentation
  • Examining the best practices in prototyping and experimentation

Linking Innovation Strategy to Execution

  • Assessing the drivers of new product adoption
  • Determining when to change your channel or promotional strategy
  • Considering overall product positioning in the context of existing product lines
  • Predicting demand and rates of diffusion when marketing new innovations
  • Integrating customers into the innovation process via potentially disruptive technologies

Transforming Your Business

  • Turning customer experiences into a competitive advantage
  • Keeping up with rapid changes in the digital marketplace
  • Managing innovation growth and controlling operational complexity
  • Examining a unique and successful community-based business model
  • Recognizing the potential impact of open innovation in your organization

Examining New Innovation Models

  • Leveraging the crowd as an innovation partner
  • Knowing how best to promote adoption and predict sales levels
  • Executing a new vision, delivering organic growth, and improving margins
  • Exploring how disruptive technologies affect strategy and execution
  • Building the capability to anticipate and respond to new technical trends

Building an Action Agenda

  • Considering the implications of building initiatives across business units
  • Ensuring that innovation continues in times of shrinking budgets and resources
  • Building project teams that can learn and adapt to new information
  • Establishing early warning systems to identify environmental changes
  • Leveraging networks and ecosystems to share risks and increase reach

Who should attend

Leading Product Innovation is intended for senior managers of diverse companies, industries, and countries who have project responsibility for product and service development. The program has particular relevance for vice presidents, directors, and other senior managers from large established companies who serve in a variety of functional business areas, including:

  • Research and product development
  • Engineering
  • Product management
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Finance
  • Strategy

Because successful integration between product development and other key business functions can contribute significantly to product development effectiveness, HBS encourages companies to send cross-functional or intradepartmental teams of four to six managers. When leaders share a common vocabulary and a set of action frameworks, their organizations reap the benefits of faster and more effective implementation.


Gary Pisano is the Harry E. Figgie Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He has been on the Harvard faculty since 1988. Pisano’s research, teaching, and consulting have focused on technology strategy, the management of innovation and intellectual property, competiti...
Stefan Thomke, an authority on the management of innovation, is the William Barclay Harding Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He has worked with global firms on product, process, and technology development, organizational design and change, and strategy. Since jo...
Karim R. Lakhani is Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, the Principal Investigator of the Crowd Innovation Lab and NASA Tournament Lab at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science and the faculty co-founder of the Harvard Business School Digital Initia...


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