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Wake Forest University School of Business

Strategic Innovation and Leadership

Strategic Innovation and Leadership
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Course Description

In today’s volatile business environment, leaders have to show foresight by identifying changes, trends, and future possibilities for their organizations and markets. Translating these insights into ways to enhance existing business activities or developing new innovation strategies to stay ahead of the competition is critical to growth and profitability. In Strategic Innovation & Leadership, you’ll learn critical skills enabling you to chart a market-leading and revenue-enhancing course for the future.

You will develop a thorough understanding of the business, economic, and social trends that are impacting your organization and gain new tools to mitigate future risks and exploit opportunities. Faculty will introduce you to the power of scenario analysis, and how to embed strategic business innovation in your organization. Analyze and understand how leading edge companies are gaining deeper insights into customer behavior. Finally, you will learn how to develop innovative approaches to transform your business model and help sustain a competitive edge.

What you’ll learn:

This course is practical and applied. Ideally you will come with a business challenge or company topic which you need to analyze and develop for the future. You can do this on an individual basis, or come with colleagues and get the additional benefits of working as a team on a critical topic.

With Strategic Innovation & Leadership, you will —

  • Gain deeper insights and an effective understanding of customer behavior, demands, and preferences/expectations in your market
  • Build a framework for analyzing future industry trends and exploiting their consequences
  • Understand how to design contingency plans through innovation for an uncertain future
  • Identify business renewal strategies that will help transform your business and its underlying business model (market trend analysis)
  • Learn the three principles to follow when assessing innovative ideas and opportunities
  • Craft a value proposition to grow profits through innovation
  • Understand innovation as a strategic leadership position, and how to release its full potential

Course outline

Day 1:

Introduction: What does it mean to say are we living in a VUCA world?

  • ‘How to manage in a VUCA world ’: learning from innovators and corporate entrepreneurs.

Understanding customers

  • The real issue is ‘getting inside the customer’s mind’: What job does the customer want done?

Trend analysis

  • Strategies to go beyond current issues and address forward thinking and contingency planning.

Scenario analysis

  • Overcoming the limits to prediction, addressing what might happen through scenario analysis.

Business Renewal

  • Providing a firm basis for innovative business ideas, new business models and business strategy.

Assessing alternatives – the entrepreneur’s approach

  • Use the entrepreneurs’ approach to assess alternatives and determine the most effective plans.

Day 2:

Working on a case study

  • Participants can work on a common case study, an individual choice, or, if you are in a group from one organization, a team can work on a company business area/challenge.

Case Study Step 1: Organizing the information

  • Summarizing what is known
  • Identifying incomplete data
  • Reviewing key trends and scenarios

Case Study Step 2: Developing initial ideas

  • Selectively examining future possibilities
  • Developing some alternative strategies
  • Identifying radical and incremental innovations

Case Study Step 3: Reviewing alternatives and choosing the best

  • Testing the alternatives
  • Choosing a new business approach
  • Preparing presentations

Case study Step 4: Presentations and feedback

  • Attendee presentations on proposals and final feedback
  • Final review and discussion of key points learnt

Who should attend

This program is designed for leaders who need to make strong decisions amidst uncertainty and change, especially about the future direction of their organizations. It will benefit those who seek to better understand the choices and opportunities created through innovation.

This course is designed for entrepreneurs, “intrapreneurs”, managers, small business owners, and executives responsible for strategic planning, developing and driving business models through innovation, and delighting customers.


Peter Sheldrake is currently based in the USA. He is an adjunct at Wake Forest University, where he teaches innovation and commercialization. Until recently he was an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University, in Melbourne, Australia, where he had been Professor of Business Entrepreneurship for 14 ye...
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