New York

The speed at which Fortune 500 companies are exiting the list continues to accelerate.  Established firms cannot sit still and rest on their laurels or they will quickly become obsolete.  Start-ups are turning into “unicorns” (sales over $1 billion annually) in shorter and shorter time frames.  Working for a start-up or starting a new business has become an increasingly appealing career path for newly minted MBA’s.  Established firms are trying to emulate the nimble, agile mindset and maneuvering of entrepreneurs, unencumbered by legacy systems, equipment, and operations.


The objective of the course is to expose students to the latest new product and service development and innovation thought processes by the most successful design firms and companies, large and small.  Students will learn how VC firms assess start-ups as investment opportunities, including the strength and potential profitability of the idea, and the team’s ability to realize its potential.  Students teams will apply the “Catalyzing Innovation” book approach to developing a new product or service idea.  Through in-market observational “safari’s”, students will have a chance to reflect on what makes an innovation succeed in the market and the myriad ways new products and services can gain awareness and differentiate themselves.
Learning Outcomes

Students will achieve a good understanding of the new product and service development process including:
· Design Thinking
· Market segment selection strategy and rationale
· Idea development, refinement and testing
· Optimizing across all customer touchpoints and purchase journey stages
· How to make organizations more likely to produce breakthrough innovations

Students will:
· Become more astute at recognizing what makes a new idea a viable business
· Better understand what VC firms look for in identifying winning ideas
· What consumers look for in products and services to replace current alternatives
· How to brainstorm including strategy, stimuli, prototyping and continuous iteration
· How to innovate quickly and efficiently, to maximize timely learning
Content & Methodology

The content will consist of:
a. Lectures on the following topics

  1. Innovation strategy
  2. Different ways to organize large firms and start-ups for innovation, and create physical and mental environments that foster innovation
  3. Innovation techniques and approaches by leading design firms, companies and entrepreneurs
  4. The Catalyzing Innovation approach to methodical ideation

b. Guest speakers & discussion panels

  1. Head of Innovation & Design at Gatorade, Xavi Cortadellas
  2. New York based VC firms who fund entrepreneurs and start-ups
  3. Heads of New York based accelerators, incubators, and start-ups
(Industry City, Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York Media Lab, Williamsburg & Greenpoint)

c. Visits to top global product design firms

  1. The founders/partners will present their cross-sector work and trends in product and service design development (Tucker Fort, Partner at Smart Design and Mikal Halstrup, Founder Designit)

d. In-market “observational safari”

  1. Student teams will be divided by retail sector (electronics, food service, fashion, grocery, luxury goods, sporting goods) to observe meaningful innovations that stand out and get noticed, and how to execute and engage customers in-store
  2. Students teams will apply a strategy filer to insights about persona targeting, positioning vs. competitors, disruptive and long-lasting breakthroughs vs. short term fads, and “instagramability”