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PTMBA2023 Innovation Management

Innovations are a prerequisite for survival and sustained growth in most industries. The course covers strategic, organizational and procedural aspects of managing product, process and business model innovation in different industrial and competitive environments. It is designed to help students understand why innovation is critical for achieving sustainable competitive advantage. It further illustrates what innovation strategies firms can pursue as part of their business strategy. Based on the fundamental understanding of the strategic importance of innovation, the course will contrast the experience made by firms which successfully anticipated and drove change proactively to gain competitive advantage with those firms that failed to react to disruptive changes in the competitive environment and hence fell behind. Multiple real life examples from firms across multiple industries will be used. Based on these examples and latest research, best management practices will be outlined that should be understood and implemented by managers who seek to profit from disruptive change in their competitive environment. In this context, the course puts a special emphasis on the role of leaders during the process of innovation and strategic change. Multiple examples are used to illustrate what effective leadership requires for successful innovation and corporate renewal. In addition, this course will address relevant emerging and strategic innovation themes such as open innovation, frugal innovation, reverse innovation and innovation for and from emerging markets.
Course code
Course type
PT MBA Lecture
Weekly Hours
FS 2023
Prof. Dr. Holger Ernst
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.
In detail, the course will address the following topics:
  • The importance of innovation for achieving sustainable competitive advantage
  • Characteristics and impact of different innovation strategies
  • Multiple dimensions of innovation such as product, process and business model innovation
  • Characteristics of disruptive technologies and their impact on competitiveness
  • Real life examples of companies from multiple industries that successfully anticipated and drove change to increase competitive advantage and business performance
  • Typical pitfalls that explain why firms fail to react to disruptive challenges from established and new competitors
  • Best practices from firms that have successfully reinvented themselves and managed to stay ahead of their competitors
  • Characteristics and behaviors of effective leaders driving strategic renewal in dynamic and uncertain environments
  • Corporate culture, innovation climate and cultural change processes
  • Market-driven innovation, customer integration and cross-functional integration
  • Open innovation, co-creation, alliances and M&A
  • Strategic innovation portfolio management
  • Innovation process management, ideation, effective organizational structures for implementing innovation (venture teams and task forces) and cross-functional teams
  • Corporate venturing and incubation
  • Innovation assessment and metrics
  • Frugal and reverse innovation, innovation for and from emerging markets
Date Time
Saturday, 25.03.2023 09:00 - 16:30
Sunday, 26.03.2023 09:00 - 16:30
Saturday, 01.04.2023 09:00 - 16:30
Sunday, 16.04.2023 23:50 - 23:55
The core objective of the course is to get across the most critical and strategic aspects of managing innovation and corporate renewal at a sufficient level of depth to the students. It strongly emphasizes which leadership skills are required to effectively drive innovation, strategic initiatives and radical change in organizations. Students will learn what it takes to build lasting competitive advantage and prosperity by means of innovation as opposed to short-term optimization strategies. The main take-aways from this course have implications for all major industries including services. The course has a strong focus on applying multiple innovation management tools and concepts in practice.
Course Pack
Lecture, case work, group work, in-class presentation
4 Group assignments (50 %), final take-home exam (50 %).
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