Innovation for Growth: Strategies for Creating Value

Program Overview

Innovation is at the heart of all great companies. It’s what propelled them to where they are and the reason they continue to grow and thrive. For others, internal processes, thin margins, and a focus on the short-term keep them from putting an emphasis on innovation—even as they recognize the often urgent need for it.

Innovation for Growth: Strategies for Creating Value will help you jumpstart your company’s innovation process, providing a full-spectrum, strategic view of innovation and organic growth. You will learn rigorous methods and fresh approaches for identifying new and different growth opportunities, and leave with a roadmap for building innovation capabilities, fostering a culture of continuous innovation, securing resources, and mobilizing to grow faster.

Innovation for Growth shares how to build a solid business case for innovation opportunities, says Academic Director George Day.

Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In Innovation for Growth: Strategies for Creating Value, you will:

  • Discover innovation opportunities across the full spectrum of growth pathways
  • Apply design thinking to connect deep customer insights to technological possibilities
  • Allocate resources to the portfolio of innovation initiatives across three horizons of growth
  • Manage the risks of innovation using fast prototyping, scenario analysis, and other tools
  • Unleash the creative energy of teams
  • Apply real-options thinking to contain the risks of innovation
  • Build the organizational capabilities needed to enable your growth strategy

Experience & Impact

Academic Director George Day on the innovation process

Emphasizing the essential role of innovation in driving business growth, this program focuses on four key pillars: developing leadership and talent, encouraging risk taking, hearing the voice of the customer, and aligning rewards and recognition. Together, these pillars channel the energy of the organization toward the right actions to take, whether you are a growth leader seeking to stay ahead or a growth aspirer trying to catch up.

Throughout the program, faculty members share the latest innovation strategy knowledge, tools, and frameworks. They draw on examples of successful firms with environments that foster a more collaborative, creative, and risk-taking culture — where even failure is viewed as an opportunity to learn. Tapping into the experiences of organic growth leaders such as Starbucks, Genentech, Alibaba, LEGO, and, you will better understand how they generate superior customer value and shareholder value through their innovation prowess.

Key takeaways from Innovation for Growth include how to profit from the uncertainty of innovation by spotting opportunities sooner, investing in real options, opening up innovation processes to partners, and adopting start-up methods such as rapid prototyping and crowdsourcing. Participants will also create a growth-affirming narrative to motivate the organization and emphasize the centrality of innovation.

Session topics include:

  • Innovate to Grow: Applying Strategic Discipline
  • Process View of Innovation
  • Building the Business Case for Innovation
  • Business Model Innovations
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Strategic Management of Emerging Technologies

Academic Director George Day on key concepts

Through highly interactive lectures, exercises, and case studies, both in the classroom and in smaller work groups, this deep dive into the process of innovation will leave you with a new level of understanding. You will learn that consistent, powerful growth depends on constantly challenging current thinking about customers, technology, and your business. Overall, you will learn how to develop a growth strategy that guides all innovation activities within your organization.

This foundational program is complemented by Mastering Innovation: From Idea to Value Creation and Business Model Innovation in the Digital Age, both of which focus on specific aspects of the innovation process rather than on a full-spectrum, strategic view.

Who Should Attend

Watch the video: Professor George Day on the innovation process.

Innovation for Growth is designed for business leaders or leaders who are responsible for driving top-line growth and promoting market innovation — including strategy leaders, managers of new businesses, chief innovation officers, chief technology officers, and product development leaders.

Participants in this program are a diverse group of strategy leaders from varied industries, backgrounds, and geographies who share their biggest challenges with the class. Faculty tailor the program content to address these issues, so participants enjoy a learning experience that truly resonates with them and meets their learning needs.

Participants leave the program with an expanded peer network, plus specific tools and frameworks they can use to make a meaningful impact on the way they approach innovation within their companies or organizations.

Fluency in English, written and spoken, is required for participation in Wharton Executive Education programs unless otherwise indicated.

Participant Profile

Participants by Industry

Innovation for Growth participants by industry

Participants by Job Function

Innovation for Growth participants by job function

Participants by Region

Innovation for Growth participants by region

Plan Your Stay

This program is held at the Steinberg Conference Center located on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia. Learn more about planning your stay at Wharton’s Philadelphia campus.

Group Enrollment

To further leverage the value and impact of this program, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer group enrollment benefits to companies sending four or more participants.


George Day

George Day, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

Geoffrey T. Boisi Professor Emeritus of Marketing, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Competitive strategies in global markets, strategic planning processes

Rahul Kapoor

Rahul Kapoor, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Innovation, technology management and strategy, industry evolution, firm boundaries, business ecosystems

Christian Terwiesch

Christian Terwiesch, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Andrew M. Heller Professor at the Wharton School; Department Chair and Professor of Operations, Information, and Decisions; Professor of Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine; Co-Director, Mack Institute of Innovation Management

Research Interests: Analyzing operational performance, innovation management, R&D management

James Thompson

James Thompson, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Adjunct Associate Professor, Management Department, The Wharton School; Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests: Social entrepreneurship, building future markets, investment under conditions of high uncertainty

Karl Ulrich

Karl Ulrich, ScDSee Faculty Bio

CIBC Endowed Professor; Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions; Professor of Management; Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Environmental issues, product design and development, innovation


Innovation for Growth is for people who are ready to solve some of their stubborn problems, and I strongly recommend it. It is very practical, sharing many applicable tools, not just textbook theories. You leave with the ability to go back to your company and find ideas you didn’t know you had, and then vet them. It’s well put together: you start with how to get ideas, then learn how to find the most impactful ones and build a business plan around them.

The biggest takeaway from Innovation for Growth is that big legacy companies can still develop and maintain an advantage. The scale of the company can work in your favor — with more people you can generate more ideas. Smaller fish may be able to move faster, but bigger fish can bite back. We have a deeper pool of experience and expertise, and by using what I learned I can help unlock it.”

Frank FilippoEVP Print Group, Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal

I am responsible for Latin America and Canada for Zoetis, the world’s largest animal health company that produces products and solutions for prevention and disease treatment. Leading an innovation-based health sciences company, I’ve asked myself, ‘How do I identify innovation and help it drive our growth?’

The Innovation for Growth class was phenomenal — it not only triggered my thought processes, but it also let me walk away with an excellent tool kit that includes Innovation Tournaments. Most people think innovation only comes from a certain area. I found that more innovation can be driven from not only from a specific area but from all parts of the organization. When everyone is involved in the process, the outcome is much richer.

Any organization thinking about creating a competitive advantage or driving their future growth would benefit from Wharton’s programs.”

Joyce LeeExecutive Vice President, Area President, Zoetis, Inc.

When I was looking at programs related to innovation, Wharton’s program, Innovation for Growth: Strategies for Creating Value, caught my eye. The program’s curriculum and Wharton’s reputation made it an easy decision. The program was laid out very well — it helped me realign my thoughts about innovation. Before I went to the program, I thought innovation was identifying the next big thing — like Steve Jobs did at Apple. Wharton made it clear that it’s more of a process than a single ah-ha moment. If you follow the process, the likelihood of having 10 ah-ha moments is much higher than having one. A second misconception I had was that every idea needs to be big enough to be meaningful. That’s not the case. Every innovation portfolio needs a combination of small, medium and large innovations, rather than focusing just on the large innovations because the risk is much higher.

Our company has been providing leading edge plastic extrusion solutions to a wide array of industries for over 70 years. We are on a new growth path — recently forming an R&D group that I will lead. Previously, I was in an engineering role where I was focused 50 percent on the day-to-day and 50 percent on one year out. In my new role, I spend half my time looking one year out and the other half three to five years in the future. It was great timing and the perfect program to attend. Wharton reinforced how important innovation is — if you aren’t innovating, you are not working on your company’s future.”

Vick DhanapalVP of R&D, Engineered Profiles, LLC

The innovation program was one of the best executive education seminars I have attended. It included big picture conceptual discussion to challenge executives to think beyond their existing innovation process, and also specific tools to evaluate your portfolio. I have used several of the tools to highlight strategic issues with our senior management team. In addition to good program content, the presenters were excellent, and responsive to the program attendees.”

David VerNooyVice President, RDE, consumer products firm

The innovation course provided me with several key insights that have been useful in filling out our innovation pipeline. We have been able to invigorate mature products with fresh, new looks at markets where they might be utilized. As a result we have an entire new business area. The tools brought back from the Innovation program were critical to identification of these peripheral opportunities. We were missing some obvious opportunities!!

I can't say enough about the post course materials and follow up; it is truly an impressive program all around. I look forward to taking more Executive Education courses at Wharton in the future.”

Alan PapeBusiness Development Manager, Sartomer Company

Having done my PhD in the US and currently living in Europe (Portugal) and working for an International Management Consultancy Company, this was just a great programme. In three days I was able to establish a network of contacts extremely useful for my daily activities in the innovation field. I also acquired a deeper understanding of the innovation concept. The course also has some very interesting practical examples. Is definitely worth taking it!!”

Sara MedinaMember of the Board, SPI

Excellent program. The innovation program provided me with the necessary concepts and tools that I could take back to our organization and begin using immediately. There was a great balance between practice and theory and a solid mix of credible professors and industry experts.”

Todd LeightDirector of Marketing and Sales, TEI Biosciences

Date, Location, & Fees

November 18 – 21, 2019Philadelphia, PA$9,100

Download the program schedule, including session details.

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Fees for this program include accommodations and meals. Prices are subject to change.

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