The process of innovation is not always pretty and rarely successful, but when it works it is beautiful and powerful. This 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, automotive, 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 Laliberté (Cirque du Soleil) and Walt Disney. By examining the past we will work to develop reasonable expectations and scenarios for the future.
Classes will include company evaluations, financial analysis, lectures, videos, guests, and group discussions. Class participation is essential to a successful course. The Socratic method is used, including cold-calling, with all students expected to participate in the discussion each week. Some classes will require a short written submission or brief quantitative analysis. Students should expect an average of 2-3 hours of preparation for each class. The course should prove useful to those interested in corporate strategy, entrepreneurship, business history, innovation, and venture capital.
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%)