Karl Ulrich, CIBC Professor of Entrepreneurship and e-Commerce at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

April 12, 2010

Among other topics, Karl discusses the following issues with Metis Strategy

  • How despite its natural tie to creativity, innovation can be driven through structured processes, which he explains in his book, Innovation Tournaments
  • How the organizational structure, administration, and governance of innovation will be highly idiosyncratic to industry structure and firm dynamics
  • The differentiation between external and internal facing innovation, and how each type necessitates different attention
  • The five modes of the stage gate process that are crucial for new product development, and how to transition creative sparks into actionable opportunities
  • The five areas a manager should focus on to influence the culture of innovation: incentives and recognition, transparency of decision making, the physical arrangement of the workplace, the recruiting process, and the allowance for creative “slack time”
  • How measuring the success of innovation is, above all else, about creating economic value
  • The benefits and potential risks of engaging third parties in the innovation process- be it vendors or customers- and how the exercise of opening up innovation is only practical depending on the industry

Karl Ulrich’s Biography

Karl is the CIBC Professor of Entrepreneurship and e-Commerce at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds an appointment as Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn.

Karl’s research is focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, and product development. He is the co-author of Product Design and Development (4th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2008), a textbook used by a quarter of a million students worldwide. His most recent book is Innovation Tournaments (Harvard Business Press, 2009)

He is the winner of many teaching awards, including the Anvil Award, the Miller-Sherrerd Award, and the Excellence in Teaching Award at The Wharton School. At Penn, he co-founded the Weiss Tech House and the Integrated Product Design Program, two institutions fostering innovation in the university community. In addition to his academic work, Karl has led dozens of innovation efforts for medical devices, tools, computer peripherals, food products, web-based services, and sporting goods. As a result of this work, he holds more than 20 patents.

Karl is also founder of Terrapass Inc. and Xootr LLC, and he currently serves on the boards of several technology-based companies. He holds bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT.

The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview

  • 01 1- People
  • 02 2- Infrastructure
  • 03 3- Project and Portfolio Management
  • 04 4- IT & Business Partnership
  • 05 5- External Partnerships

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