Drive Business Growth and Innovation: Mindsets, Behaviors and Tools

Today's environment of rapid change, ambiguity and unpredictability has left many companies and leaders scrambling for a roadmap to lead them into a future of growth. Based on more than 18 combined years of research and consulting by Darden Professors Jeanne Liedtka and Ed Hess, Drive Business Growth and Innovation: Mindsets, Behaviors and Tools tackles the critical requirements for consistent high performance through both operational excellence and innovation. 

Program Overview

Drive Business Growth and Innovation: Mindsets, Behaviors and Tools confronts head-on the conundrum between operational excellence and innovation from cultural, processes and tolerance-for-failure perspectives. Based on Professors Liedtka and Hess' heralded book, The Physics of Business Growth (Stanford University Press, 2012), the program frames growth and innovation from three perspectives:

  • The right mindsets: leaders, managers and employees
  • The right system: culture, structure, behaviors, measurements and rewards
  • The right processes: Learning, discovery, exploration, experimentation, constant improvement and portfolio management

Over the course of the week, participants will learn concepts from leading growth companies and leaders and, as importantly, apply those concepts in more than 14 hours of workshops - learning by doing - to their organizations. 

Related Resources

About the Book

bookThe course is based on the book The Physics of Business Growth: Mindsets, System, and Processes (Stanford University Press, 2012). The two co-authors, Jeanne M. Liedtka and Edward D. Hess, are both Darden professors who also teach this Executive Education program. The book presents more than 18 years' worth of research on how successful new growth actually happens in organizations.

"Ed Hess and Jeanne Liedtka are leaders of an unheralded revolution in strategic thinking. Behind their plainspoken explanations and practical recommendations lies a systematic approach to driving growth that is elegant in its conception, powerful in its economics, and well-supported by experience."

- Michael Balay, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Cargill Incorporated

"In a time when business books are attempting to provide the 'magic pill' to driving growth, Hess & Liedtka give us something much more insightful - the laws that govern it. The Physics of Business Growth will challenge assumptions, upend beliefs and, in the end, leave leaders better prepared to face tomorrow's uncertainty head-on."

- Andre Martin, Chief Learning Officer, Mars Incorporated


Leaders and managers of public, private, governmental and nongovernmental organizations seeking more personal and/or organizational effectiveness through the creation of more value for stakeholders.



Edward D. Hess

Professor of Business Administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence

Prior to joining Darden, Hess spent more than 30 years in the business world as a lawyer, investment banker, strategy consultant and entrepreneur. He has studied numerous high-performance organizations (and their leaders), including UPS, Starbucks, Ritz-Carlton, Whole Foods, Home Depot, Best Buy and the U.S. Marine Corps. His 11 books include the award-winning Smart Growth (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2010), and he is frequently cited and consulted for his extensive expertise in business growth and strategy.

Faculty bio page 


Jeanne M. Liedtka

United Technologies Corporation Professor of Business Administration

The former chief learning officer of the Fortune 50 Corporation United Technologies, Liedtka is well-known for her expertise in design thinking, innovation and leading growth. Her passion is exploring how organizations can engage employees at all levels in thinking creatively about their futures. She has won numerous teaching accolades and published numerous articles and four books - including award-winning books she co-authored Designing for Growth (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2011) and The Catalyst: How You Can Lead Extraordinary Growth (Random House, 2009).

Faculty bio page

Key Takaways

Participants will gain new skills and cutting-edge knowledge in the areas of growth strategies, growth systems, and innovation exploration, discovery and experimentation processes. Specifically, attendees will:

  • Learn about a growth mindset.
  • Design a diversified growth portfolio for their businesses.
  • Use tools for creating and propelling growth.
  • Assess and develop a plan to improve their internal systems to sustain growth.
  • Learn entrepreneurial thinking/how to generate their own growth ideas.
  • Understand leadership challenges in implementing new growth strategies.
  • Learn how to launch growth experiments.

Each participant will receive a copy of Hess and Liedtka's book, The Physics of Business Growth: Mindsets, System and Processes (Stanford University Press, 2012), as a program pre-read.


  • The Physics of Business Growth Model
  • Growth Mindsets
  • Creating a Growth System
  • Assessing Your Growth System
  • Defining Strategic Boundaries
  • Value Chain Opportunities
  • Customer Mapping
  • Learning Launches
  • IBM's EBO Model
  • Corning's Innovation Model
  • The Search for Truth
  • Assessing Your S-Curves
  • Designing a Growth Portfolio
  • Customer Co-Creation


  • Case discussions on industry leaders, including:
    • United Parcel Service (UPS)
    • Best Buy Co. Inc.
    • International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
    • Corning Inc.
    • Bridgewater Associates LP
    • Starbucks Corporation
  • Participants receive and work through The Physics of Business Growth: Mindsets, System, and Processes (Stanford University Press, 2012), written by Darden Professors Edward D. Hess and Jeanne M. Liedtka, who co-teach the program.


  • Sunday kickoff reception and dinner
  • Daily sessions and meals at the Darden School
  • Evenings spent in group discussion and/or individual preparation
  • Final day session to conclude Friday by 11:30 a.m.

top of page

  • Course Information

    9-12 November 2015

    Image for EE Register Here
    $6,950 covers materials, meals and accommodations at the Inn at Darden

    Leaders and managers seeking more personal and/or organizational effectiveness through the creation of more value for stakeholders. 

    Gain one week of credit toward a Certificate of Specialization

    Darden School of Business
    Charlottesville, Virginia

    Additional Information:
    +1-434-924-3000 or contact the program director