Monday, October 20, 2008

New courses for a new era!

Soaking the sun, riding the wind

With gas prices around the $100 mark and both Presidential candidates talking about the urgent need to reduce oil imports, the renewable energy industry has attracted inordinate attention of late. At Chicago GSB, we have introduced a new course “Innovation in Energy Markets and Opportunities in Renewable Energy”. Taught by Travis Bradford this quarter, the course will orient students to the dynamic opportunities that exist in the ongoing transformation of the global energy industry. As the course description says, “existing energy sources and the infrastructures that deliver them to users around the world are undergoing a period of rapid change. Limits to growth, rapidly fluctuating raw material prices, and the emergence of new technology options all contribute to heightened risk and opportunity in the energy sector. Using both theoretical and practical insights about the process by which energy technologies are developed, financed, and deployed, this course seeks to highlight the root drivers for change in the energy industry, the technologies that are emerging, and the factors that will determine success in their commercialization”.

The Art & Science of Innovation
With many a product category becoming commoditized, academics and executives both agree on the imperative for companies to innovate and differentiate themselves in a cluttered world. Building on her experience at Whirlpool, Nancy Tennant teaches “Building Innovation Strategy and Capability” at the GSB in Spring/ Winter 2009. Having visited the Whirlpool world HQ in Michigan, I can personally attest to the amazing culture of innovation that permeates the company; over the years, the company has consciously built processes, structures and delivery mechanisms with the objective of fostering innovation – a smart strategy that’s helped them build a ‘innovation pipeline’ of over $3 billion!

It's great to see how fast the GSB responds with changes in the curriculum design to align course inputs with market requirements - my favorite story is about how the "Real Estate" students group built up momentum and consensus that resulted in the introduction of a "Real Estate Markets" specialization sometime back. Vita Excolatur, indeed!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums