Students may not earn credit for both HONR289P and BMGT289B for credit.

Innovation is the lifeblood of our world economy and a strategic imperative for every organization. Innovation is frequently recognized as an important competitive advantage for organizations.

The United States is falling behind on innovation. A recent ranking of 40 countries’ efforts to foster innovation over the past decade ranked the U.S. last. This year China is projected to outpace us in the number of patents it files. That’s the first time any other country has overtaken the U.S. The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.

In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama emphasized the importance of innovation. CEO’s everywhere call innovation a strategic priority. The future of the United States economy will come from new industries that create innovative products, services, and processes. Innovation is particularly critical in driving growth in developed and emerging economies in a period of slow economic growth.

The power of innovation to revolutionize industries and generate financial success is evident from business history: Apple iPod replaced the Sony Walkman, Starbucks overtook traditional coffee shops, Skype edged out AT&T and British Telecom, eBay replaced classified ads and Southwest Airlines flew under the radar of traditional airlines such as United and American. In every case, the creative ideas of innovators produced sustainable competitive advantages over the dominant competitor. Where do disruptive business models come from and how you become a disruptive innovator?

These questions will be examined along with a discussion of how America gets back on track to being the number one innovator in the 21st century. As part of the examination, we will consider where disruptive ideas come from and help students learn how to creatively solve problems. More specifically, students will learn about: a) the innovation process and the role of the individual in generating innovations and b) the attributes, habits, and skills of individuals who have successfully started innovative new businesses.

Students are then given opportunities to build their skills at creative strategic thinking so that they will be more successful at generating novel and potentially valuable ideas for their companies. Students will receive a creativity assessment to get a sense for their own creative abilities. They will also learn how individuals that started new companies (or who significantly added value to existing companies) came up with the valuable new ideas. Finally, students will also be asked to apply the knowledge acquired in class by coming up with a creative idea to start a new business.