Creative High-Impact Ventures: Entrepreneurs Who Changed The World
Course Number 1636
Associate Professor Mukti Khaire
Winter; Q3Q4; 3 credits
This is a course on entrepreneurship in creative/cultural industries (such as fashion, art, design/architecture, music, film, publishing, and food), providing a unique perspective on the interaction between business, entrepreneurship, and culture. The venture capitalist Arthur Rock once said, "I prefer to invest in companies that change the way we think." This course is focused on strategies for creating and growing such companies. Firms, especially in creative/cultural industries, influence the quality of our lives in many ways: through what we eat and wear, how we entertain ourselves, and the interests we pursue. Pioneering entrepreneurial firms (such as Chanel, Sundance, Atavist) in creative industries face structural, social, and cultural obstacles to the adoption of radically novel products and services. Such barriers are unique to these industries because ingrained cultural values and beliefs cause customers to often reject unfamiliar new creative/cultural products, regarding them as worthless and even objectionable (e.g., modern art, rap music, independent cinema). To overcome these barriers, successful entrepreneurs have to understand the unique structure, and the specific players in the ecosystem of creative/cultural industries, which play a role in constructing the value of cultural products in the minds of consumers. Entrepreneurial firms in the creative ecosystem can change consumer behavior by redefining what is regarded as acceptable and valuable in society. These firms capture economic value by creating markets for new products, which requires transforming cultural norms; thus, entrepreneurship in creative/cultural industries can change the world by changing how we think and what we value. This course will examine such high-impact market-pioneers in a wide range of creative industries.
CHIV is targeted towards students who wish to start, work or consult for, or invest in large and small high-impact entrepreneurial firms in consumer-facing creative industries. The course will also interest students seeking to understand the nature and structure of creative and cultural industries, or those wishing to learn how firms offering radical innovations can create new markets by addressing the entire market ecosystem. The course is more generally relevant to students interested in cultural issues.
The objective of CHIV is to help students understand how to effectively create, manage, or invest in firms that successfully compete in creative industries. The goal is to help entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial managers understand these seemingly irrational industries in a systematic way so they can formulate competitive strategy that enables radically innovative creative firms to thrive and stay culturally relevant in the long run. The course takes an ecosystem-level perspective to understand how value is created in these industries to examine the common themes that emerge from studying pioneering firms - such as Chanel, Sundance, Whole Foods, Penguin Publishing, Saffronart.com - that have fundamentally changed consumers' perceptions and beliefs and transformed culture. We will focus on three main issues:
- What kinds of products and firms face structural, social, and cultural barriers to their widespread adoption? What is the common form of these constraints and how can they be overcome to create new markets? What are ways in which firms can and have leveraged cultural norms and institutions to gain economic benefits?
- What is the structure of these industries? What entrepreneurial opportunities do they provide? What are the factors and who are the tastemakers - trade press, media, critics, reviewers, awards, festivals, analysts, etc. - that affect firms' market-creation efforts? (How) can firms influence these actors and the ecosystem?
- Having created new markets and garnered economic benefits, how can firms sustain their sense of purpose to continue to succeed and grow? What is the right balance between economic and cultural value that firms should achieve in order to maintain their market position?
Cases focus on established and new, large and small, for-profit and not-for-profit firms. The case analyses and classroom discussions will draw from multiple disciplines and areas of business management. Most of the classes are structured around cases; we will also use other pedagogical tools such as panels, exercises, and lectures. Additionally, there will be opportunities to interact with case protagonists who visit class.
Course Content and Organization
Full Course: Winter 2012
With the option of working in teams of 2 to 4 members, CHIV students will be required to complete a project that leverages tools and concepts covered in CHIV. The final deliverable is a paper/mini-case based on the project. Students are permitted and expected to define their own projects, although Prof. Khaire will provide guidance and help. The course is therefore particularly useful for students wishing to work for academic credit on projects or business plans related to the creative industries (including, but not limited to fashion, retail, art, design, architecture, film, media), with Prof Khaire's supervision.