Innovation: Beyond the Buzzword

We live in an age of exponential change in which rapid innovation is disrupting and unseating incumbent products industries, creating new technological frontiers, and challenging nearly everything we think we know about business. Think Uber and the end of the medallion taxi industry. Think Airbnb in more than twice as many countries as Hilton in less than 5 percent of the time. Think Tesla. Think Oculus. But beyond using the “buzzword,” can you really define innovation?

In this course, which is centered on the concept of Design Thinking, your answer to that question will come from actually involving yourself in the activity of innovating. The course will include lectures from faculty and guests, discussions of emerging trends in human behavior and new technologies that are changing our society. Participants will engage with case studies in innovation models and methods and learning expeditions on and beyond the MIT campus. The course will go beyond traditional classroom activities to include group work and a class hands-on brainstorming through which to engage in genuine innovating – and through that, to gain an understanding beyond the buzzword. Participants will emerge as more critical thinkers, knowledgeable about what innovation is (and is not), how it happens through applied design thinking, and how to imagine opportunities for innovative products, services, and experiences.

Active class participation, a willingness to engage with others in a creative process, and a recognition that you might have a lot to learn about innovation are all prerequisites for the class.

Participants will complete this course with a firm, practical understanding of what constitutes genuine innovation and how innovators’ models, methods, and modes of thinking can be utilized to create stronger, more innovative business models, product design, customer experiences and more. With this, they will be able to approach their own teams, departments, products, and business strategies with a critical eye and develop new approaches for innovating.

Earn a Professional Certificate in Innovation and Technology

Innovation: Beyond the Buzzword may be taken individually or as a core course for the Professional Certificate Program in Innovation and Technology.

Lead Instructor(s): 

Federico Casalegno
Yihyun Lim
Edward Schiappa


Jun 1, 2020 - Jun 3, 2020

Course Length: 

3 Days

Course Fee: 





  • Open

It is highly recommended that you apply for a course at least 6-8 weeks before the start date to guarantee there will be space available. After that date you may be placed on a waitlist. Courses with low enrollment may be cancelled up to 4 weeks before start date if sufficient enrollments are not met. If you are able to access the online application form, then registration for that particular course is still open.

Registration for this program will close by May 15

Participant Takeaways: 

Takewaways from this course include:

  • Learning what constitutes genuine innovation;
  • Understanding how to apply design thinking to transform their own organizations.
  • Learning the fundamentals of Design Thinking, its methods and models, how it promotes innovation, and how it is different from other methods
  • Learning the existing and emerging trends in tech, industry, and our society
  • Understanding how the business landscape is being changed by innovators, and the strategies that make it possible to succeed in this new age

Who Should Attend: 

To facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas, approaches, and critical thought, professionals from all industries are welcome. Strategy leaders, directors of innovation and technology, product managers, engineers, marketers, R&D personnel and people from across the functional business spectrum will find the course valuable. All participants must come with a willingness and enthusiasm to engage and be ready to share their particular passions and expertise.

Computer Requirements:

Laptops or tablets (preferably with presentation and/or video editing software) are required.

Program Outline: 

The course will consist of lectures, hands-on experiences with innovations, creative team ideation, discussions, and visits to labs and innovation incubators at MIT and in the Boston area. 

Program Outline

Day 1:

Session One: Introductory Lecture on Design Thinking and Innovation


Session Two: Guest Lectures

Session Three: Lab Visit on MIT Campus

Day 2:

Session Four: Disruptive Emerging Technologies


Session Five: Rapid Prototyping and Innovation

Session Six: Group Workshop – Brainstorming and Ideation

Day 3:

Session Seven: Fostering Innovation through Agile Prototyping


Session Eight: Visit to Cambridge Incubator

Session Nine: Team Innovation Challenge Presentations and Debrief

Course Schedule: 

View 2020 schedule (pdf, subject to change)

This course runs 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday through Wednesday. On Wednesday there is a reception 5:00 pm-7:00 pm. 

Laptops or tablets are recommended for this course.



This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please complete the Custom Programs request form for further details.


Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (30%) 30
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (40%) 40
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (30%) 30

Delivery Methods: 

Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (30%) 30
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (30%) 30
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (20%) 20
Other: Learning expeditions (20%) 20



Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (25%) 25
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (50%) 50
Other: Personal experience and willingness to actively engage in group works and learning expeditions (25%) 25