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The Wharton School Offering Innovation Tournaments Program as Part of Third Annual CEO Connection Mid-Market Convention on Oct. 18

Philadelphia, PA: The Wharton School’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education will host a one-day innovation program for mid-market executives as a kick-off to the third annual CEO Connection Mid-Market Convention.

The Wharton program will be held Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015 on the University of Pennsylvania campus, followed by the two-day convention. This year’s theme, “Where Innovation Meets Scale,” will be a big draw for mid-market companies that generate between $100 million and $3 billion in annual revenues.

Christian Terwiesch, the Andrew M. Heller Professor at Wharton and a leading authority on innovation, will discuss his process-based approach to innovation known as Innovation Tournaments, which is also is the name of his 2009 business book published by Harvard Business School Press.

“Most managers think of culture as the fertile ground on which innovations will blossom. The process of innovation itself is perceived as vague and highly random,” says Terwiesch. “This daylong session shows mid-market CEOs that while every individual innovation viewed in isolation is random, the process of innovation as a whole can be managed using my process, which I call Innovation Tournaments.”

The timing has never been better for a focus on innovation. A 2013 innovation survey by PwC finds that innovation today is a key driver of organic growth for all companies—regardless of sector or geography. Top innovators are expected to boost revenue by $250 billion over the next five years alone. (Read more about the PwC innovation survey here: http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/innovationsurvey/).

Terwiesch says mid-market leaders need to seek ideas from employees throughout the organization. “Mid-size companies are too large to rely on a single visionary innovator. But they often lack the process discipline that you find in larger firms,” he says.

Program participants will be exposed to practical tools for creating, selecting and developing exceptional opportunities for innovation. Al;so, the program will demonstrate how to construct an innovation portfolio and align the innovation process with an organization's competitive strategy.

Kenneth Beck, Chief Executive Officer of CEO Connection, anticipates that this year’s program and theme will be a big draw for mid-market leaders.

“The Wharton class sets them up with the theoretical foundation to get more out of the convention,” he says. “You are sitting down in a room full of mid-market leaders in a discussion with a world-renowned expert on innovation.”

The Wharton course complements the convention program, which will focus on the business of innovation. Breakout sessions will feature the work of panels formed at previous conventions that have been doing innovative work to help the mid-market grapple with community-wide challenges such as healthcare, social impact, job creation and emerging markets.

The Social Impact panel, begun two years ago to help mid-market companies interested in incorporating social impact into their strategy, will share results of their partnership with the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. The Initiative established a student consulting group, which will present the results of their work with catalog company Hanover Direct, as well as ideas on how to scale their services to other mid-market companies.

The final day of the convention will culminate in a new business plan showcase to connect mid-market companies that are looking to invest in innovation with companies that are looking for capital and board members. Four to five start-ups will present their business cases.

According to Beck, while Fortune 500 companies are starting their own venture companies to buy innovation, “mid-market companies don’t necessarily have the resources or expertise to do that. That’s why we are setting up the angel network and the accelerator – to help the mid-market companies ban together and do what they can’t do on their own.

“I hope every attendee will walk away with one connection for themselves, one idea for their company, and one collaboration that can help change the world,” he concludes.

Cost of the program is $2,000 for CEO Connection conference attendees. For more information or to register for the convention and Wharton program, visit: http://www.midmarketconvention.com/register/.


CEO Connection is the only membership organization in the world focused exclusively on mid-market CEOs. It connects thousands of mid-market CEOs and leaders with each other and to people, information and resources which will help them succeed.

Inspired by C-level Wharton executives, CEO Connection began in 2005 and has evolved into a dynamic community with wide ranging benefits uniquely designed to help the mid-market CEO and champion the mid-market perspective. It is all about CEOs helping CEOs.


Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates ongoing economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and a powerful alumni network of more than 93,000 graduates.

Media Contact

  • Eleena de Lisser
    Director of Marketing Communications
    Aresty Institute of Executive Education
    The Wharton School
    University of Pennsylvania