Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Art & Science of Teaching Innovation


I am currently teaching a course on Technology and Innovation Management at the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Bangalore. It is a 2-credit elective course and the class comprises of both Marketing and Finance students (about 60 students). This is the third consecutive year that I am teaching this course - i make it interesting to myself  by preparing fresh charts, case-studies and projects every time. It is a very refreshing experience to design fresh and teach this course every year. I aim to learn from my class as much as I teach. To ensure effective learning, I spend about 25% time to introduce the concepts - the rest 75% time is interactive discussions, hand-on exercises, focused ideation sessions and problem solving workshops. I have taught the first 8 sessions out of a total of 24 sessions as of today.



In the first two sessions, we focused on defining innovation management, breaking the Myths and discussing the key issues that make managing innovation difficult.


In the third and fourth sessions, we looked at Innovation skills - (a) skills needed for creating insightful ideas, (b) skills for creating value to customers from these ideas and (c) skills for taking the new ideas safely to the Market. We looked at the relative role of Creativity, Knowledge and Motivation in enabling innovation. We looked at Organization innovation and leadership traits of an innovation leader (Teresa Amabile). I introduced my Innovation Flow framework at this stage - Focus, Leap & Orient, What's Next - for systematic innovation.

In the fifth and sixth sessions, we looked at creating and executing a strategy for innovation. We looked at the disruptive innovations (Christensen) and Strategy - Vijay Govindarajan's Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators etc. We studied the Forget, Learn and Borrow methodology proposed by Vijay.

In the seventh and eighth sessions, we looked at managing the development of innovative new products - focused on customer centered innovation - understanding the customers' pain points, creating ideas for innovative new products  Buyer-Utility Map (Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne, HBR), Jobs analysis (Tony Ulwick, HBR), Use of divergent thinking tools like Scammper, Customer Innovation Map, Innovation Portfolio management - core, adjacent & transformational innovations (Bansi Nagji & Geoff Tuff, HBR) etc 

I intend to share my experience in teaching this course through regular blog posts. If any of you is also teaching a course on innovation, i would encourage you to share your thoughts. I will also be happy to share my teaching material and help you with designing such a course. The images show the books on my desk - these are the one that I am using for teaching Innovation Management. These two piles of books do not include the ones that I use for teaching Technology Management.

I am passionate about teaching innovation management and mentoring innovators to shape their ideas into impactfull innovations. I teach, therefore I am.

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