participants in the Customer-Focused Innovation program
Customer-Focused Innovation

Customer-Focused Innovation

Learn about cutting-edge social science frameworks and design thinking techniques in a unique partnership between Stanford GSB and

Clean models. Dirty hands. Customer-Focused Innovation is the perfect blend of theory and practice, strategy and innovation — an opportunity to flex both your business and your creative muscles. At Stanford, we teach innovation as a mindset, not a project.

Every morning, you’ll learn about strategic frameworks and models based on cutting-edge research from Stanford’s world-renowned GSB faculty. You’ll learn how to better understand customer experiences, develop deeper customer insights, and diffuse customer learning throughout the organization. You’ll discuss strategies for reducing the knowing-doing gap and building a customer-centric culture.

Every afternoon, you’ll work in small teams with faculty members and trained coaches from the on a real-world innovation challenge from an outside company. Design thinking’s user-centered, prototype-driven process will teach you how to interview and observe customers in the field to understand what motivates them.

Key Benefits

Create a customer-centric organization using design thinking, and develop strategies to reduce bureaucratic processes and support innovation.
  • Observe and understand the needs of customers, develop fast experiments and prototypes with users, and develop prediction markets.
  • Gain cutting-edge insights about the sources of customer satisfaction and brand personality.
  • Create a culture of innovation that harnesses the creativity of your customers and employees.

Who Should Attend

  • C-level and senior executives who are leading and directing teams that are charged with planning and implementing innovation programs — from any size company, any industry, and any country
  • Executives with responsibility for research and development, product design and development, new business development, marketing, or brand management
  • Due to the goals of this program, it is not appropriate for consultants or for those who work for consulting agencies or design firms

10 Oct 2021 – 15 Oct 2021


In-person|Stanford GSB

Qualified candidates are admitted on a rolling, space-available basis. Early applications are encouraged.


27 Aug 2021

Program Fee

US $16,000

The program fee includes tuition, private accommodations, all meals, and course materials.

Payment is due upon admission. Your space is secured upon receipt of full payment.


Certificate of completion


Molly Patrick
Associate Director, Programs
Executive Education
​Video Introduction
See how Customer-Focused Innovation combines academic rigor with relevant hands-on projects to drive innovation and eliminate the red tape that often impedes it.

Learn More About the Program


Explore our carefully designed curriculum, and go deeper with select course descriptions or a sample schedule.

Application Requirements

Review all eligibility requirements, and learn about the application process.

Participant Profile

Learn more about our past participants, and find out if the program is right for you.

Faculty Leadership

Hayagreeva Rao
  • Co-Director, Customer-Focused Innovation
  • Director, People, Culture, and Performance: Strategies from Silicon Valley
  • Co-Director, Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate
Robert I. Sutton
  • Co-Director, Customer-Focused Innovation
  • Co-Director, Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate

Explore Related Programs

Stanford Graduate School of Business campus
01 Aug 2021 – 06 Aug 2021
In-person|Stanford GSB
Participants in the Design Thinking Bootcamp program
23 Mar 2021 – 26 Mar 2021
In-person|Stanford University