New Columbia Courses Focus On Innovation

Entrepreneurship isn’t just for startups. Over the next six months, Columbia Business School will introduce six new executive courses, four of which will cover corporate innovation.

Columbia revamps its executive education offerings each year, but typically adds three to four new courses, usually inspired by research by Columbia professors. Donna Sharp, interim associate dean of executive education, says this year’s haul is inordinately large in response to demand — and it focuses on innovation as a way to help companies stay relevant and competitive.

“Clearly, the business environment is changing, so we’re doing more in the innovation space, as well as digital tech,” Sharp says. “There’s a whole initiative at the school to really put ourselves on the map in the corporate entrepreneurship space.”


Some companies may acquire startups to bring new ideas to the table and stay competitive in a changing market, Sharp says, but many generate ideas internally — something she says isn’t easy to do when you’re busy with your regular job.

The new innovation courses, Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship, From Idea to Prototype in 5 Days, Design Your Innovation Blueprint: Leveraging Systemic Inventive Thinking, and Innovate on Demand, are designed to steer intrapreneurs — employees acting as entrepreneurs to solve challenges within their companies, with the blessing and help of the companies themselves.

“These courses really show you the discipline and methodology to follow as you embark on intrapreneurship,” Sharp says. “Whether it’s building out a new product line, going into a new market, redesigning existing products, or digitizing something that was not digitized before. This is all part of the movement to take companies and digitally transform them so they can compete in the new economy.”

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