Global Innovation Launchpad Academic Masterclasses

The academic masterclasses serve as the core academic content in the Global Innovation Launchpad programme. They are interactive, engaging, and example-rich, but they serve to provide participants with ammunition and guidance useful in the still more discussion-oriented Case Study Classes and hands-on Innovation Workshops. Below is a breakdown of their composite modules.

Corporate Innovation

The inherent advantage of a traditional corporation is its ability to exploit industry best practices. One successful corporation may rely on a strong brand name supported by stable services delivering proven value, while another may rely on competitively efficient supply chains capable of manufacturing highly refined products. Both of these companies are well positioned to be successful in static market environments with predictable competitors, technologies, and customer demands.

It is difficult to argue today that market environments will continue to be this stable. Continued globalization and rapid technological iteration have already shown otherwise. Against these pressures, successful corporations will be those which can embody unprecedented flexibility and initiative. These modules will explore how companies with strong track records are facing this challenge and will empower participants with the most effective strategies. The unique China focus will emphasize how these strategies play out in an especially dynamic economy.


Emerging Market Penetration

Developed markets are saturating while frontier markets burgeon, and supply chains and collaborative platforms are becoming increasingly international. These changes put increasing pressure on companies to expand their focus globally. These modulus will explore tools and strategies that have helped companies expand.

China serves as an excellent regional case: many companies have moved their manufacturing to China. Many of the same companies hope to market successfully to China’s growing middle class. Several distribution platforms and networks span China and other countries. At the same time, some companies have begun outsourcing labor to other countries as China’s service industry grows. Chinese local companies are beginning to offer products and services rivaling those imported. Several major international platforms do not exist in China and the trend is moving towards Chinese local services pushing outward.


Customer Engagement

Major management consultancies and business reporting firms indicate a worldwide shift to customer centrism. Businesses must appeal to specific demographics and cater their services accordingly. In China, obtaining actionable data from market research as well as scaling market access are already two major challenges. These modules will cover various techniques, both emerging and proven, to glean valuable insights from customers as well as to access customers for sales influence.


New Venture Development

Seen as the competing category to corporate innovation, the new venture seeks to disrupt existing markets, taking market share from incumbent firms, or it seeks to create entirely new markets and capture the value within. These modules will consider popular approaches like the Lean Startup and assess their applicability in China. We will explore how venture capital generally works and consider unique Chinese characteristics, and we will follow those characteristics down the supply chain to the new ventures, considering their resulting motivations and personalities. These modules, along with the Corporate Innovation modules, will serve as the academic counterparts to the practicums in the Innovation Workshop component of the Global Innovation Launchpad programme.


Leveraging Technology

The most effective technologies in every sector are changing or under threat of change. Leaders must now have capacities beyond driving proper application of current technology leaders; they must maintain a vantage point from which to recognize potentially disruptive technologies as well as the ability to preemptively experiment with their adoption. Modules in this section will cover those technologies both currently in use as well as showing signs of emerging, and they will cover the frameworks for technology management and their situational applicabilities. We will pay special consideration to technologies with strong reach and potential in China, but we will also cover which technologies have failed and are likely to fail in China.


Change Leadership

There are several key differences between optimal leadership within existing systems and optimal leadership through times of organizational or functional change. As business innovation increases its pace, the demands on leaders to affect change increases, and the skills required to guide others through changes become more relevant. These modules will delve into issues like assessing the degree of team risk aversion, phasing out obsolete incentives while maintaining morale, building exploratory culture, and solidifying a new status-quo without sabotaging any required additional future changes. Through our exposure to Chinese leaders, we will define and compare our own categories of emerging styles of change leadership.


Strategic Communication

These modules will emphasize a specific framework for professional communications and explore applications within the context of Chinese business culture. Students will prepare themselves to recognize when communication is a good use of professional time. They will learn how to quickly identify their audience and assess the associated dispositions, motivations, and power. They will understand ways to choose the medium for their message and how to craft the message within that medium to maximize influence. Participants will practice strategic drafting and presenting as well as tone of voice and body language.

Traditional depictions of historical Chinese leaders and key ideas from Chinese philosophical cornerstones frame one context for how people expect managers to behave. Recent but immense communist cultural overhaul places another context on these expectations. Further, even more recent rapid industrialization and intensely competitive capitalism frame a third context. Finally, non-Chinese leaders in the Chinese context have a forth context to consider: some extent of implicit exclusion from the first three. We will hear from experts how these contexts can inform our strategic communications.


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