The processes organizations use to pursue innovation can actually erode their capability to innovate. Systems built on stages and reviews simply bureaucratize the process and deflect attention from the user experience. Then, by limiting responsibility for innovation to a specific department, these organizations actually under-utilize the creative capabilities of other employees. Companies must create a culture of innovation that harnesses the creativity of its customers, users, and employees.

Program Dates: October 26 - 31, 2014
Application Deadline: No longer accepting applications
Program Tuition: $14,500 USD

Program tuition includes private accommodations, all meals, and course materials.

Program Overview

Customer-Focused Innovation takes a hands-on approach to eliminating the red tape that impedes innovation. Participants learn strategic frameworks to better understand customer experiences, develop deeper customer insights, and diffuse customer learning throughout the organization. Additionally, the program provides cutting edge insights on the sources of customer satisfaction and brand personality. Participants discuss strategies for reducing the knowing-doing gap and building a customer-centric culture. Leveraging resources from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, the program exposes participants to the latest research on customer-focused innovation. The program also features real-world field exercises that involve developing innovations to enhance user experiences in the B2C and B2B domains.

Faculty Directors
Other Faculty

Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources

Professor of Management Science and Engineering, School of Engineering; Professor of Organizational Behavior (by courtesy)

General Atlantic Professor of Marketing

Edmund W. Littlefield Professor of Management; Executive Director of the Stanford Executive Program

Consulting Associate Professor and Director of Executive Education, Stanford D.School

Frank E. Buck Professor of Management; Director of the Leading Change and Organizational Renewal Executive Program

Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior

Sanwa Bank, Limited, Professor of Marketing; Director of the Strategic Marketing Management Executive Program

Adams Distinguished Professor of Management, Emeritus

Lecturer and Director, Executive Education

Design Thinking in Executive Education
Design Thinking in
Executive Education
Join Stanford faculty and two past participants as they discuss the design thinking process and how it can be used to drive innovation. Experience the innovative coursework, renowned faculty, beautiful classroom space, global executive participants, and sunshine to see why participants rave about Stanford GSB Executive Education programs.
Key Takeaways
  • Strategies to reduce bureaucratic processes and create an ambidextrous culture to support innovation
  • Knowledge and skills to observe and understand the needs of users and customers, develop fast experiments and prototypes with users, and develop prediction markets
  • Designing Social Brands

Highlighted Sessions

Field Research Project: Enhancing the Airport Experience for JetBlue Customers
As part of this year's project for the program, the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at the Stanford School of Engineering will collaborate with JetBlue in an exercise designed to suggest enhancements to the carrier's airport experience with business leaders from around the world.

Rapid Prototyping
Participants will learn about the logic and methods of rapid prototyping and developing quick solutions to customer service problems that can be easily tested and refined. After completing observations and brainstorming exercises, teams will work with Design School staff to select the most promising ideas and to develop and present proposals about how their prototype experiences could be quickly implemented.

Systematic Understanding of Customer Preferences
This session will focus on a systematic understanding of customer preferences expressed in terms of the relative importance of multiple attributes or features of the product or service. Using conjoint analysis, participants will identify benefit segments, useful for identifying a new product line rather than a single new product.

The Knowing-Doing Gap
This session confronts the paradox of organizations that know what to do but frequently fail to do it. Participants learn how to diagnose major barriers and outline a new approach to changing behavior.

Who Should Attend?

This program is designed for senior executives across a wide array of industries including medical, pharmaceutical, technology, consumer electronics, financial services, packaged goods, and entertainment. Attendees may include those responsible for research and development, product design and development, new business development, marketing, brand management, and those charged with planning and implementing innovation programs.
SAMPLE Participant Mix
The approach from the moment we arrived of "show, don't tell", and "clean models/dirty hands" was a such a vivid way to demonstrate how the value of investing in academics is putting the lessons learned to work right away. I have so much energy toward practicing the processes I learned in the CFI course. I have become a lunatic evangelist in our organization! (In a good way!)
– Sara Kearney
Senior Vice President, Brands
Hyatt Hotels Corporation


Stanford University
The Stanford campus is world renowned for its natural beauty, Spanish mission-style architecture, and temperate climate. With more than 8,180 acres (3,310 hectares), Stanford's campus ranks as one of the largest in the United States. Participants in Stanford's Executive Programs become part of a quintessential university setting, residing together, walking or biking to classes, and enjoying access to Stanford University facilities.
The Knight Management Center
Opened in spring 2011, the Knight Management Center has transformed the Stanford Graduate School of Business into a vibrant and unified indoor-outdoor, living and learning community. Participants will take classes at this new state-of-the-art campus, which features tiered classrooms with extensive floor-to-ceiling glass, the latest in audiovisual technology, numerous breakout and study rooms, outdoor seating areas to encourage informal discussion, and an open collaboration lab that employs hands-on and design thinking techniques.
Schwab Residential Center
Designed by renowned Mexican architect, Ricardo Legorreta, the Schwab Residential Center gives residents ample privacy while promoting collegial interaction through shared lounges, outdoor meeting areas, a library, and an exercise room.


Sara Fernandez
Associate Director, Programs
Phone: +1.650.724.4882