What is a big idea? Is it a physical invention, like the printing press? Is it a way of doing things, like democracy or capitalism? Does something like ‘civilization’ qualify as a big idea? In this course, we will wrestle with these questions and more, so you can start to think big about how to approach the problem of problem solving. We’ll look at a few examples of ‘big ideas’ from history to create a working definition of what constitutes a big idea; help you develop the skills and strategies you need to discover impactful ideas of your own; and teach you how to effectively communicate the core essence of an idea – what is it, how is it different than anything that came before, and how will it impact our lives? Throughout the course, there will be scientists and practitioners representing diverse fields, offering their take on the innovation landscape in their domain of expertise. You will be challenged to be your most creative with hands-on experiential exercises (both in and outside of the classroom) designed to take you through the processes of discovering, editing, and evaluating ideas, whether you are working alone on solo projects or engaging with a team. The course will culminate in a final project where you will be required to present a formal and polished pitch of your big idea.
Craig Hatkoff was a Columbia Business School faculty member from 2015 to 2020.
S. T. Lee Professor of Business
Professor Iyengar has taught courses in leadership and entrepreneurial creativity. Her research addresses the implications of offering people, whether they be employees or consumers, choices. She has examined choice in a multitude of contexts ranging from employee motivation and performance in a global organization, Citigroup, to chocolate displays at Godiva, to the magazine aisles of supermarkets, and to mutual fund options in retirement benefit...