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Strategies for Managing Innovation

Learn how innovative leaders can use strategic management to enhance the performance of startup companies and corporate ventures.




12 Weeks


8-10 Hours per Week

Instructor Rating

3.7 / 4

This course focuses on understanding innovation and how to incorporate it as a strategy in technology ventures.  We examine the processes of technological change and how firms can creatively recognize, screen, and evaluate tools and techniques to practice innovation. You will learn how innovation operates in emerging ventures and how it plays a part in a company's overall competitive strategy.  This is a practical course that translates a series of frameworks to understand and manage the innovation process to develop and grow an entrepreneurial venture.

What You'll Learn

Who Will Benefit

Course Topics

Module 1: Defining Innovation as Creative Marketplace Destruction

This module includes a welcome to the course, an orientation to our teaching approach and faculty, and an introduction to the fundamentals of strategies for managing innovation.

Module 2: How to Recognize Sources of Innovation Opportunity

How can environmental scanning help find innovative opportunities? How do you define an innovation opportunity? How do innovation opportunities show up within and beyond a business? How does the marketplace generate innovation opportunities? How can you find potential innovations in the value chain?

Module 3: Framing Innovation in its Adoption Cycle

How is innovation value classified within a firm? What's the path of a product's life cycle? How does an 'S' curve explain technology performance? Why should innovators understand innovation diffusion & adoption?

Module 4: Recognizing Ways Innovation Competencies Help Entrepreneurs

What are some essential practices for a successful innovation? What competencies help you think like an innovator? How does design thinking help build an innovator's skills? How can you become your own trend spotter? What are key "associating" skills of innovators?

Module 5: Mapping Innovation Process Steps & New Product Development

How can innovation be framed as a process? Is there a logical sequence of steps in the innovation process? How is a new product developed? How is the innovation process portrayed at the industrial level?

Module 6: Identifying Innovation Roles & Role Players

Who are innovation's creative role players? Who are innovation's implementation role players? How do you become a product champion? How do you staff an innovation project? How do manager, entrepreneur, and innovator roles differ?

Module 7: Leveraging Your Creativity when developing an innovative Idea

Is there a model for understanding creativity in innovators? How does corporate culture influence innovation and creativity? How can you recognize blocks to creativity in a business? How does creativity reinforce innovator competence?

Module 8: Growing Your Innovation Core Competencies

How can a firm’s core competencies leverage innovation? How can knowledge management enable innovation? Do different organizational forms matter for innovation initiatives? What organizational forms do innovation venture units take? How does technology brokering help foster innovation?

Module 9: Evaluating the Feasibility of an Innovation Opportunity

What factors influence the feasibility of an innovation? How does technology uncertainty influence an innovation in the marketplace? How can an innovation's potential risks be identified? How do you evaluate a winning innovation idea when you see one?

Module 10: Composing a Menu of Innovation Strategies

How do disruptive innovations change the marketplace? How are innovations revealed in a blue ocean strategy? How can open innovation become an entrepreneurial strategy? How can lead users contribute to an innovation strategy? How does technology influence an innovation strategy? How does an innovation get across the first adoption chasm? Which innovation strategy: technology-push or market-pull?

Module 11: Building Innovation Portfolios

What are the essential parts of an innovation portfolio? How does technology transfer fit in an innovation portfolio? Why would you need an innovation sponsor? How do innovation managers survive an innovation project?

Module 12: Applying Innovation Management Best Practices

How can benchmarking become an innovation practice? How can an audit reveal innovation competence and weakness? How could an innovation tournament help launch an innovation initiative? How many ways can companies innovate?

Learning Experience


Asynchronous Lectures

Coaching and Mentoring

Live Office Hours

Peer Interactions and Networking

Project-Based Learning

Real-World Assignments


Thomas Mierzwa
Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute
University of Maryland

Dr. Mierzwa has more than 20 years of teaching experience at University of Maryland and other universities, with courses in strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship. His teaching philosophy centers on building student competency through course design and teaching exercises, and his research interests include innovation processes, opportunity recognition, design thinking and conceptual tools for learning objects.

Dr. Mierzwa founded The Fountainhead Group, a team of specialists who conduct innovation audits, and is the founder of Creative Agreements, a professional services firm that uses a mediation approach to form working agreements among business owners during venture start-ups. He serves on advisory boards of several Maryland businesses. At the Academy of Management, he chairs a committee on non-traditional academics and is active on the Teaching Theme Committee. He is also a board member of the Executive DBA Council, an institution of member schools fostering development of practitioner-scholar doctoral programs worldwide.

Dr. Mierzwa earned a Doctor of Public Administration in strategic management from the University of Southern California and a master's in urban design from Harvard University.

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