My most recent two posts on Harvard Business Online are about a class that I taught last term at Stanford with Michael Dearing called Innovation and Implementation in Large Organizations, a joint venture between the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design and Stanford Technology Ventures Program.
My first post on the class, which went up last week, described some of the highlights of our little innovation seminar. There were only 11 students. We read, talked, and wrote about innovation, and our ideas fueled by guests from diverse companies who taught us about the challenges of innovation and asked the students for advice. If you check out the first post, you can also see that we had a lot of fun the day that Andy Papathanassiou from Hendrick Motorsports visited and taught us techniques for changing tires during pit stops -- and he even brought a real race car for us to learn on.
I especially urge you to check out the final exam handed in by Gus Bitdinger (he is pictured to the left, moving the tire in position for Adam Sant). Most finals are pretty boring, but this one is special. We asked all the students to make original films for the final, and many were excellent, but as I wrote on The Working Life (see this post for more details), Gus's six minute song "Back in Orbit" (click here to see it on YouTube) was the best. As I wrote, Gus "wrote an original song that combined both the lessons we learned in the class with one of the books we read, Orbiting the Giant Hairball by the late Gordon MacKenzie. Hairball is my favorite book about the challenges of doing creative things in organizations, the mindsets and methods that kill creativity, and the ways to overcome them. And somehow – in this little song – Gus captures most of the main ideas in the book and weaves together with much of what happened in class." Also, if you haven't read Hairball, you are really missing something special!