Carlson Executive Education Blog

Innovation That Sticks: Maintaining Altitude in a World of Headwinds

Posted by Daniel Forbes on Dec 6, 2017 3:24:29 PM

Daniel Forbes, Schulze Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, and Associate Professor, Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship


Ten years used to be a long time in the business world. But if you look back to all the innovations that have happened in the previous decade, you’ll remember a world in which you couldn’t use Google Chrome, fire up your iPad, call for an Uber, or rent an Airbnb. It was just ten years ago, in fact, that the iPhone was introduced.

Learn from Groupon

Although our economy values and promotes innovation, the speed of change and the persistence of new customer demands mean that innovations can stumble as well as soar. For example, consider Groupon, the online coupon service that connects consumers with local businesses. It grew rapidly a decade ago and had a very successful IPO in 2011. But it’s encountered headwinds that remain challenges to this day. Their concept has drawn many imitators, including Living Social, Amazon, and Google, and these days Groupon trades at about 20 percent of its 2012 share price.

There are many factors that shape the success and failure of innovations.  It can be challenging to account for all those factors and still emerge in the plus column as a lasting innovator. If you’d like to learn more, I have a recommendation.

Ready to innovate? Learn more with the Leading Innovation course

Whether “innovation” is currently in your job title or is simply part of your aspirations for the future, you may want to consider enrolling in the Carlson School’s upcoming Executive Education course, Leading Innovation. This is a three-day course that consolidates cutting-edge knowledge about corporate innovation and translates that knowledge into tools and frameworks that you can use to help lead innovation in your own workplace.


The three-instructor team are all experienced Carlson School faculty who focus on innovation and strategy. Drawing on our knowledge of innovation-related research and practice from around the world, we’ll work with course participants to determine how Minnesota-area companies can benefit from innovation. To that end, we’ll use discussions, exercises, case studies, and interactive lectures to help our participants define and meet their own innovation goals.

We’ll cover a variety of topics relevant to the development and commercialization of new products and services. For example, we’ll address: the learning needs of today’s innovators; how we can design groups to foster innovation; what people mean by “design thinking,” the “lean startup,” and other approaches to innovation; how a company’s structure can promote or inhibit innovation; how to make a strong business case for innovation; and how companies can make tough decisions about which opportunities to pursue. Participants will leave the course with a solid working knowledge of innovation processes that are learnable, repeatable, and readily adoptable by enterprises of all sizes.

The course will be useful to people who are already involved in corporate innovation, but it can also provide a valuable introduction to people who haven’t yet taken on innovative roles within their careers.

Register now! Course is January 9 to 11

I’m looking forward to seeing you in the classroom this January. You can learn more about the course here:

Want to read more? Here’s my article for, “How Can We Define 'Innovation'?”