The process of innovation is not always pretty and rarely successful, but when it works it is beautiful and powerful. This non-quantitative course focuses on the accomplishments and challenges of selected entrepreneurs, U.S. and internationally, as they struggled to create and implement disruptive business models while introducing new products and services. Each class pulls examples from a variety of different industries such as information technology, automobiles, venture capital, retailing, media, social ventures and the arts, while looking at enterprises as diverse as Apple, IKEA, Federal Express, the High Line, and the Manhattan Project, and entrepreneurs ranging from Henry Ford, Ted Turner (CNN), microfinance creator Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Bank), Hugh Hefner (Playboy), Joan Ganz Cooney (Sesame Street), Guy Laliberte (Cirque du Soleil) and Walt Disney. By examining the past we will work to develop reasonable expectations and scenarios for the future.
Classes will feature a combination of company evaluations, lectures, videos, guests, and group discussions. Class participation is essential to a successful course and all students should expect to join in the discussion each week. The course should prove useful to those interested in corporate strategy, entrepreneurship, business history, innovation, and venture capital.
Class limit: 40 students
Course Requirements (Grade Weightings)
• Class participation (quality, not quantity) (40%)
• 4-5 page mid-term individual paper on the viability of the new electric/hybrid automobile companies (30%)
• A ~10-15 page written paper including bibliography; groups of no more than 3; topics must be approved in advance (30%)
Jeffrey Harris has spent over 30 years in the venture capital and private equity business funding and building innovative companies in the U.S. and internationally, from start-ups to buyouts, and across numerous industries. From 1983-2011 he worked at Warburg Pincus where he was a senior partner of the firm involved primarily with technology, telecoms and energy-related businesses. In 2012 he started his own investment and...