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— E x e c u t i v e   S e s s i o n —
Better, Faster Innovation

August 11-12
, 2004 / Hilton Boston Back Bay

Agenda / Course Outline


This two-day interactive course will encompass case discussions via the Case Method, lectures, small group discussions and industry practitioner case presentations to give attendees ample opportunity to immerse themselves in the topic, its challenges and practical solutions. The session will require pre-work assignments that will be mailed to participants two weeks in advance of the session.  To encourage a strong interactive component to this session and achieve maximum benefit for attendees, this session has been limited to 60 participants.

Wednesday - August 11

6:457:45 Registration and Continental Breakfast
7:458:00 Introduction
Preston Smith & Stefan Thomke
8:009:00 Discussion Groups
Focus on Pre-Workshop Assignment
9:00 – 10:20 SESSION I:
Case Discussion - BMW

Stefan Thomke, Harvard Business School
  • Show how BMW reengineered its proven development process for higher speed and flexibility
  • How to manage organizational change and experiments through development projects
  • How to leverage new experimentation technologies (e.g., CAD/simulation) for higher development performance.
10:20 - 10:40 Refreshment Break
10:40 - 12:00 SESSION II:
Lecture -
Experimentation Matters

Stefan Thomke, Harvard Business School
  • Impact of experimentation and new technologies (computer modeling and simulation) on innovation and R&D performance
  • Experimentation’s critical role in innovation and how to integrate new technologies into your innovation process
  • New rules for managing and organizing product development
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch
1:00 - 2:30 SESSION III:
Featured Presentation -
The Art of Innovation

Tom Kelley, IDEO
  • How to identify innovation opportunities by viewing real people in real-life settings to better understand latent human needs
  • How to sustain a culture of continuous innovation by not aiming for perfection – using multiple rapid prototypes to build on many small failures to ultimately reach market success
  • How to successfully promote brands through the creation of authentic brand experiences

More info

2:30 - 3:45 SESSION IV:
Group Discussions -
Preston Smith, Facilitator

This session will allow participants to break into small working teams to discuss product development and innovation issues at their specific companies.  In addition to transferring the morning learnings to their businesses, the groups will also have the opportunity to address issues that go beyond these discussions.  Each team will then present its respective learnings to the entire group to leverage take-aways and identify several key improvement projects.

3:45 - 4:00 Refreshment Break
4:00 - 5:00 Team Presentations & Discussion
5:00 - 6:30 Networking Reception at the Top of the Hub
6:30 - 8:30 Dinner at the Top of the Hub

Thursday - August 12

7:008:00 Continental Breakfast
8:009:00 Discussion Groups
Focus on Pre-Workshop Assignment
9:00 – 10:20 SESSION I:
Case Discussion -
The Rise and Fall of Iridium

Alan MacCormack, Harvard Business School
  • Understand the types of mistakes that are made in complex projects, especially those encompassing significant amounts of technological and market uncertainty
  • Determine why smart managers tend to under-invest in flexibility, with a focus on organizational pressures and cognitive biases which push them in the “wrong” direction
  • Explore the dimensions along which projects can be more flexible, and discuss the trade-offs that are required to achieve such an objective
10:20 - 10:40 Refreshment Break
10:40 - 12:00 SESSION II:
Lecture -
Achieving Flexibility in NPD: New Processes and New Ways of Organizing

Alan MacCormack, Harvard Business School
  • Review the latest research on the performance benefits of flexibility, including evidence on whether this is a new “best practice” or whether firms must adopt a “contingent” approach
  • Understand the constructs that underlie a more flexible development process, and illustrate their application in a wide range of settings
  • Identify some of the biggest barriers to change in achieving greater flexibility, highlighting the top 10 questions that an organization must address as it attempts to move forward
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch
1:00 - 2:15 SESSION III:
Industry Case Presentation -

Bill Crandall, Hewlett-Packard
  • How to right-size product development strategies for different business strategies
  • How HP manages its product development processes to deliver the cost, quality, speed, and risk afforded by the specific business strategy
  • What techniques HP uses to manage customer and market uncertainties

More info

2:15 - 3:30 SESSION IV:
Group Discussions -
Preston Smith, Facilitator
3:30 - 3:45 Refreshment Break
3:45 - 4:45 Team Presentations & Discussion
4:45 - 5:00 Executive Session Wrap-Up -
Preston Smith, Facilitator

The program will conclude with workshop moderator, Preston Smith, providing a synthesis of the important revelations of the two-day session and guidance on how you can implement and benefit from the wealth of information shared.

Available Mon-Fri 
9:30am-5pm est

Session Details:




Audience Profile

Benefits & Deliverables

Agenda/Course Outline

Featured Presentations

Networking Reception & Dinner

Fees & Logistics

How to Register

Download Brochure:

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All participants will receive a complimentary copy of Stefan Thomke's book:

Read the reader reviews of this book on Amazon