Knight Management Center
Innovative Product Leadership: The Emerging Chief Product Officer

Curriculum

Prepare for the chief product officer role with curriculum that blends strategy, customer empathy, communication, and leadership.

How do you bring customer-focused thinking to product development? How do you develop the right capabilities to deliver value to the customer? How do you influence without authority and motivate cross-functional teams? Innovative Product Leadership: The Emerging Chief Product Officer delivers an academically-rigorous and experiential curriculum to get you thinking and doing.

The program combines classroom lectures taught by world-renowned Stanford GSB faculty, Silicon Valley guest speakers, and a hands-on, real-world business challenge. Drawing on the Silicon Valley spirit of creative thinking and problem finding, this unique program includes a full-day field project where you’ll interact with customers and work as a team to solve a real-world product challenge. At the end of each day, you’ll also meet with faculty and peers to “connect the dots” and explore how new learnings can translate into specific action.

Program Highlights

Below are just a few of the sessions you’ll attend as part of the program.

Deriving Customer Insights from Data

We live in the age of big data. But data do not speak for themselves. The story they tell needs extracting through careful analysis. In this session, we will discuss the possibilities, and pitfalls, that come with data-driven customer management. We will discuss how data can inform customer segmentation, acquisition and retention. We will primarily focus on how new data types and data analytic techniques help understand the social and cultural processes that mediate between product makers and their customers.

Empathy Mapping

Engaging with people directly can reveal a tremendous amount about what they think and the values they hold. The stories that people tell and the things they say they do — even if they are different from what they actually do — are strong indicators of their deeply held beliefs. Useful products, services and systems are built on a solid understanding of user needs. This session will teach you what to do with the information they share.

Realizing Synergy: Designing and Leading Innovative Teams

Throwing people together and calling them a "team" does not produce a team. Transforming a group of individuals into a high performing team is part of the fabric of leadership. Building on several decades of research, we explore the major challenges of teams who must innovate or solve problems. Teams have three major levers that can enhance a team's capacity to innovate: team composition, member participation, and influence.

We will use the context of a team task to explore the ways in which team members can get their voice heard. In addition, we will identify actionable strategies for structuring teams to improve members' ability to hear and incorporate divergent and minority opinions as they face the challenge of innovation.

Strategic Leadership in Dynamic Environments

In this session, we will examine why it is important to build the strategic leadership of a company and how to do it. We will also discuss some simple analytical tools that strategic leaders can use to get a better understanding of their strategic situation and what they can do about it to increase their organization's transformative and innovative capacities.