Introduction to Innovation & Entrepreneurship - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Introduction to Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Course Number 5913

Professor William A. Sahlman
Professor of Mgt Practice Joseph Lassiter

Winter 2014
Tuesdays 2:30 ‐ 5:30 in Q3 (Jan 28 - March 11)
Open to cross registrants only
Earns the equivalent of 1.5 HBS credits

The course is offered as a 1.5 credit course in Q3 with seven intensive 3-hour classroom sessions at the Harvard i-lab. The course uses the "flipped classroom model of instruction." Each classroom session requires the student to complete of 6-9 hours of readings and HBX online exercises in preparation. The course closes with a 4-hour written final examination (administered online) to be scheduled and completed by March 25 at 5 pm Boston time.


This course is designed for Harvard graduate students and undergraduates as well as selected postdoctoral fellows who want to understand the role of start-ups and venture capital in the creation of new products and services in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.

Learning Focus

This course is intended to help students identify areas in which changes in science and technology, consumer and social attitudes, or political and regulatory processes support the creation of new businesses and organizations in independent ventures or within established organizations.

Educational Objectives

The classroom portion of the course covers some of the basics of entrepreneurial management, entrepreneurial marketing and entrepreneurial finance needed to launch new ventures. Students will acquire a toolkit for identifying and forming a new venture. Students will be equipped to identify the key issues in launching a venture such they know how to develop their own skills through additional management education or know how to identify the needed skills in the people that they recruit to a venture.

Course Content and Organization

The tools of the course are studied both on-line and in the classroom using HBS cases and include frameworks from HBS's first-year entrepreneurship course (The Entrepreneurial Manager) and the second-year courses focused on entrepreneurial finance and entrepreneurial marketing.

Students may elect to enter in a University contest such as the Harvard University President's Challenge or one of the many University supported competitions. The course faculty will schedule meetings with the students to review such entries over the semester.

There are three themes to the course:

  1. Applying the concepts and tools of Entrepreneurial Management, Entrepreneurial Marketing and Entrepreneurial Finance to new ventures
  2. Understanding the structure of key venture capital sectors and the strategies of primary venture investors
  3. 3. Recognizing the evolving patterns of innovation in a range of new industries