Bard MBA


Spring 2014
3 Credits

The key learning objectives for the course are:
  • Understanding strategies and processes to empower individuals to innovate
  • Leveraging (new) information and insight to act
  • Understanding how sustainability can drive innovation
  • Understanding the balance between “experience-based” and “data-driven” decision making
  • Understanding how to leverage stakeholders for innovation
  • Analyzing the processes and structure that support innovation
  • Developing strategies for growing your brand through your stakeholders
Student Outcomes:
The class is designed to help students understand how to unlock innovation within an organization, the different processes that drive it and the new technologies and collaborations that enhance it.

  • O’Connor, G. Colarelli, Richard Liefer and Lois Peters, Grabbing Lightening: Building a Capacity for Breakthrough Innovation, Jossey-Bass, 2008.
  • Howe, Jeff, Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business, Crown Business, 2009.
  • Krishnan, M.S. and C.K. Prahalad, The New Age of Innovation. McGraw-Hill, 2008.
  • Additional readings will regularly be assigned from a number of other books, academic and journal publications including:
    • Atkisson, Alan, The Sustainability Transformation, EarthScan, 2010.
    • Gentile, Mary, Giving Voice to Values, Yale University Press, 2010.
The course will be a combination of lectures, case studies, group discussions, and student projects. Active participation in class discussions will be essential. Grading will be determined by participation in in-class exercises, case analysis, group presentations, completion of homework, and exams.

Course Outline:
The Bard MBA curriculum is modular, with each module topic corresponding to a residency. The outline below provides the Innovation set of topics for each of the semester’s modules, with each set of topics corresponding to three to four weeks of conventional instruction.






Intrapreneurship. How can you be a successful intrapreneur—an internal change agent for sustainability? We will focus on the accumulation of soft power, the processes and communication requirements for success, and the willingness to fail.

Decision making:




Analytics, complexity and speed. We explore new capabilities for decision making based on today’s data-driven tools, including “smart” meters and sensors, real-time analytics, and more. More statistical applications. We’ll also look at advanced analytics and the future of computing for predictive analytics.

Getting to Scale

Innovation through sustainability. One of the business cases for sustainability is that the push for continuous innovation to reduce footprint induces innovation. Moreover, sustainability demands collaborations for innovation (new types of partnerships: with customers, competitors, supply chain partners, crowd-sourcing, etc.). How can this potential be translated into successful innovation and the growth of the sustainable business?

The Edge of Innovation

Discovery, incubation, acceleration. We focus on the building blocks of corporate innovation: discovery, incubation and acceleration. We will look at structured entrepreneurial programs, and other approaches to designing a management system that supports these elements by encouraging failure to boost learning.

Celebrating Success

Radical transparency. We discuss more collaborative governance and platforms for stakeholder engagement, enhanced traceability of ecosystem activities, data and analytics that extend transparency and mitigate risk, and how all this leads to an optimization of operations.