Leading Innovation

Do you have what it takes to inspire people to practice—rather than just talk about—innovation? In this innovation course, Professor Robert (Bob) Sutton digs into the differences between leading innovation and managing routine work. You’ll explore the hallmarks of skilled leaders with a special focus on staying in tune with the people you lead. The course features interviews with four, star innovators: Sylvia Acevedo, tech executive, and entrepreneur; Michael Dearing, venture capitalist, and senior business strategy leader; Perry Klebahn, Director of Executive Education at the Stanford d.school; and Carl Liebert, global business leader.

  • Embrace "failure" and learn from it
  • Foster innovation by combining creativity with practical application
  • Build and maintain a motivated, cohesive team of doers
  • Lead organizations and teams through challenging times
  • Turn knowledge into action by overcoming common traps that prohibit the implementation of innovation

Course Outline

What Is Innovation?
Learn what makes an idea an innovation, how to innovate using constraints. Hear from industry experts about their own innovation journey.
Innovative vs. Routine Work
Explore what creativity is, where and when you should do routine work versus innovative work, and why failure is an essential part of innovative work. Industry experts will talk about their experiences with failures and what they learned from failing.
Understand the fundamentals of effective leaders who are able to lead their teams to innovate and succeed. Industry leaders will discuss the characteristics of successful leaders.
Leading Creative Teams
Explore the composition of innovative teams and how to build and run them. Industry experts will discuss how to build a culture within the organization that encourages innovation.
Leading in Times of Crises
Discuss the key principles effective leaders employ when leading their organization during challenging times. Hear from industry leaders talking about their own experiences leading and innovating during times of crisis.
Learn about good implementation practices effective leaders use to lead their teams and the reasons why some leaders are not effective in leading their teams to achieve the results they seek.

Course Page
Online, self-paced
12 hours, 30 minutes
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program
Stanford School of Engineering, Graduate School of Business