By Steven Stralser, Ph.D.
I’m writing this on the way home to Arizona after a week teaching in Thunderbird’s Executive MBA program in Geneva and Luzern. It was a rewarding experience working with global executives in a truly international setting. I was teaching a highly-condensed version of the course I usually teach in a traditional 14 week semester that’s focused on taking an idea from it’s conceptual beginnings into a well-formed “innovation/commercialization plan”, where an entrepreneur or innovator takes a new business concept and expresses it in a form that can be communicated to others, and serves as an action plan to advance the idea into the marketplace.
The short burst course was instructive and demonstrated a few perspectives about innovation and entrepreneurship:
- Innovation today is about speed. The students were able to take, what previously existed as simply an idea and shape it into an executable plan in about of week of collaboration. In today’s fast-changing, dynamic environment, organizations must quickly adapt, and exploit, market conditions and opportunities.
- Innovation is best practiced in teams. The students, with a diverse background of skills and experience, brought individual perspectives and talents to together to form a well-balanced approach to take an idea and form it into an actionable execution plan. While there is a big “I” in Innovation, it takes the all of the other letters to communicate the meaning of the word.
- Innovation is an iterative process. The innovation ideas presented on the first day of class were tossed around, reformatted, modified, debated, challenged, and came out of the process as different, and likely better, than originally presented. It is likely that, once launched, these innovations will continue to morph, adapt and change to reflect market conditions and opportunities.
Another takeaway from this EMBA teaching experience was the reminder about how innovation today is truly global—opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators today are best leveraged by looking across borders and boundaries to find productive collaboration of global talent, skills and opportunities.
Steven Stralser Ph.D. is a clinical professor with the Walker Center for Global Entrepreneurship at Thunderbird School of Global Management. He teaches courses in Innovation, Business Planning and Global Entrepreneurship. Dr. Stralser is President of TiE Arizona and the author of MBA in a Day. Follow him on twitter @stralser