Wake Forest University School of Business

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About the course

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

Pathway to Being a Strategic Innovator

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

  • ‘Managing in a VUCA world ’: lessons from innovators and business entrepreneurs.

Part 1: Understanding customers – what do they really want?

  • The task is ‘getting inside the customer’s mind’: Today, we address this by asking the question ‘What job does the customer want done?’
  • Application Step 1: Your business case study: What your customers really want
  • Observing and analyzing customers
  • Reaching the end-use customer
  • Reviewing the drivers of customer behaviour

Part 2: Looking ahead – what we know, and what we don’t know we don’t know

  • Trend analysis: Seeing beyond current issues to address forward thinking and contingency planning.
  • Scenario analysis: Overcoming the limits to prediction, examining what might happen through scenario analysis.
  • Application Step 2: How is future change going to impact your business?
  • Selectively examining future possibilities
  • Developing some alternative strategies
  • Identifying radical and incremental innovations

Part 3: Business Renewal – rethinking the underlying business model

  • Providing a firm basis for innovative business ideas
  • New business models and business strategy.
  • Using the entrepreneurs’ mindset to develop and assess alternatives
  • Application Step 3: Identifying a new approach to your business
  • Choosing a new business approach
  • Putting it all together

Final review, discussion, and next steps!

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.

Trust the experts

Peter Sheldrake

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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