Radical Innovation

The term “innovation” has gone from an exotic good-to-have to a survival mechanism. But what does it mean? Where and how does one apply it? Does everyone need to heed the call for innovation? The answer clearly is “yes.” Whether you operate taxis or rental cars, whether you run a law firm or a dentist’s office, and regardless of how high-tech or mundane your work is, the irresistible winds of change either already have or will at some point impact your business. 

Three elements of modern technology are making new ideas appear at such an extraordinary pace: the sheer rate of technical progress, the abundance of tools that are placing advanced technologies within the reach of new entrants, and the extraordinary opportunities created by convergence. Furthermore, technologies such as IoT, machine learning, computer vision and robotics are impacting businesses in existential ways. Meanwhile, consumers have changed too, becoming much more open to new business models, whether it is the sharing economy or subscription retail. The objective of this class is to cover some of the salient features of innovation in the modern world and to lay out the philosophy, tools, procedures, and incentives that an organization can adopt to drive innovation.

Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet to this course.

Earn a Professional Certificate in Innovation and Technology

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

Lead Instructor(s): 

Sanjay Sarma


Jun 15, 2020 - Jun 17, 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 will close by May 15

Participant Takeaways: 

Participants of this course will be able to:

  • Understand how to identify and evaluate new innovative products and businesses.
  • Review and understand different ways to create an innovation group and culture and run a targeted innovation session within a company.
  • Formulate a corporate plan for invention and new product generation.
  • Approach the critical challenges in technology, product, sales, marketing, and financing a new innovative venture.
  • Understand the supporting legal and IP requirements and how to set up an intellectual property strategy for the company.
  • Incubate, refine, and grow a portfolio of innovative new businesses/products.

Who Should Attend: 

The course is taught from a technology viewpoint and is targeted at technical leaders, executives in charge of product or company strategy, and product managers. Typical titles will include: CTO, Head of Strategy, CIO, Head of R&D, Product Manager, Director of Lab, and Group Leader.

Program Outline: 

Day One
Session 1: Why radical innovation and how to do it
      1. Ocean liners versus speed boats 
      2. The theory behind innovation and creative destruction 
      3. Why it is difficult


Session 2: Managing creative destruction
      1. Why it is inevitable
      2. How to harness it
      3. How to "invent"


Session 3: Rapid Launch/Fast Fail
      1. Why failing fast is best
      2. Zombies and preventing them

Session 4: Case Study
      An exercise to get the juices flowing

Day Two
Session 5:
Why Rapid Launch is easier than ever
      1. The tools available to us
      2. How to launch quickly
      3. Why quick launch is essential


Session 6: Why innovation fails
      1. The antibodies in companies
      2. How to address them
      3. Why startups succeed


Session 7: Trends in innovation
      1. Big picture ideas
      2. Trends that are shaping the world
      3. Understanding where you fit


Session 8: Case Study
      Applying the concepts

Day Three
Session 9:
Walk and talk around MIT (time permitting)


Session 10: IP and innovation portfolios

Course Schedule: 

View 2020 Course Schedule (pdf, subject to change)

Class runs 9:00 am - 5:00 pm each day except for Wednesday when it will end at noon.

Laptops or tablets are encouraged for this course.

Participants’ Comments: 


"Professor Sarma mixed real-world contemporary examples with personal experiences, drew out archetypes from the many examples presented, and covered the various aspects of modern-day business practices, from IP protection to crowdsource funding. He also drew out examples from the students and suggested ways to apply these methods to those situations. Finally, there were group exercises that helped us to apply innovative ways of thinking to solve contemporary problems and were structured in such a way as to allow us to evaluate our approaches against startup companies solving similar issues. I felt I learned more (and re-learned) in the 2-1/2 days we spent in class than in the last six months of thinking about ways to improve various approaches to both business and consumer problems."


"I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to more potential courses in the future."


"One of the best investments in money and time in my life."



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 (30%) 30
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (30%) 30
Other: Predicting the future (10%) 10

Delivery Methods: 

Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (50%) 50
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (25%) 25
Other: In-class question and answer (25%) 25



Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (25%) 25
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (35%) 35
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (40%) 40