Executive Education

Leading Innovation: Transform Yourself, Your Team and Your Organization

"All organizations require one core competency: innovation," noted Peter Drucker, widely considered the inventor of modern management. More than ever, today's aggressive rate of change calls for leaders who possess this key competency - and know how to infuse it throughout their organizations.

Program Overview

In Leading Innovation: Transform Yourself, Your Team and Your Organization, leaders learn to think more creatively and promote a culture that supports innovation. Taught by Jim Clawson, one of Darden's distinguished leadership and organizational behavior experts, this program also features Michael Gelb, an internationally renowned speaker, best-selling author and consultant for top executives.

Participants will:

  • Improve their creative thinking skills and leverage those skills to effect change.
  • Learn how to lead innovation.
  • Return to work with an immediately actionable innovation plan for their organizations.


"It's not a course that simply builds on top of an existing foundation. It challenges your basic beliefs and premises to force/encourage self-innovation, in order to be creative and to show you the huge difference you can make, no matter your role or position in the company."
Suzette Williams

"This program was the most inspiring and thought-provoking leadership program I have ever attended. I felt honored!"
Kimberly Gooch
Regional Vice President and Branch Manager
dmiral Insurance Co.

"Certainly a must for anyone who wants to manage and lead, but it is for everyone who wants to improve themselves and their life too."
Kheng Seng
Director, Supply Chain Management
AFL Telecommunications

Related Resources


Executives, managers and directors from any industry or organization type will benefit from the program. It is recommended for those who want to:

  • Strengthen their abilities to think creatively and implement innovation in their organizations.
  • Use innovative strategies to lead positive change and increase opportunities for growth.
  • Overcome organizational inertia and resistance to innovation.

Sample Participant Titles

  • Directors (all functions)
  • General Managers
  • Managers (all areas)
  • Strategy and Innovation Advisers
  • Senior Vice Presidents/Vice Presidents (all functions)
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Consultants

Organizations Recently Represented

  • The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd.
  • Capital One Bank (Europe) PLC
  • Freddie Mac
  • Macy's Corporate Services Inc.
  • Microsoft Corp.
  • National Science Foundation
  • Porsche Cars North America
  • Saudi Telecom Co.
  • State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.
  • Universidad Torcuato Di Tella
  • U.S. Army


James G. Clawson

Johnson & Higgins Professor of Business Administration
A teacher of leadership and organizational behavior for more than three decades, Clawson is frequently cited by former students for delivering some of the most influential courses of their Darden careers - and one Darden alumnus named a classroom in his honor. Clawson formerly worked as a trainer for Mobil Oil Company in Japan and as an international banking officer for Wells Fargo Bank. He remains an active consultant for public and private organizations from a broad range of industries around the world. His numerous publications include the books Level Three Leadership and Balancing Your Life: Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self, and Powered by Feel: How Individuals, Teams and Companies Excel co-authored with Doug Newburg. Clawson holds a DBA from Harvard Business School, an MBA from Brigham Young University and a B.A. from Stanford University.

Faculty Bio Page


Michael J. Gelb

Internationally Renowned Author, Speaker and Consultant
A professional speaker since 1978, Gelb is the world's leading authority on the application of genius thinking to personal and organizational development. He is a pioneer in the fields of creative thinking, innovative leadership and accelerated learning. Besides Innovate Like Edison (used in this course), he is author of 11 other books, including the bestselling How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day. A corporate coach and consultant for a diverse array of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, his clients have included British Petroleum, DuPont, Merck, Microsoft, IBM, Nike and The Young Presidents Organization. Through his unique and creative approach, he has helped countless top executives, including many CEOs, solve some of their most important business challenges. Gelb is a fourth degree black belt in the Japanese martial art of Aikido, as well as a former professional juggler who once performed with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.

Full bio and website

 Complete faculty information

Key Takeaways

Participants identify critical innovation challenges and discover how to generate solutions. They learn how to:

  • Be more creative and create an innovative culture.
  • Develop and apply communication skills to overcome resistance to innovation.
  • Develop strategies that create more value for all stakeholders.
  • Collaborate to "get out of silos" and build team synergy.
  • Think outside of habitual patterns.
  • Understand the common barriers to innovation and how to overcome them.
  • Manage change intelligently.
  • Craft a vision, mission, values and strategy.


  • Challenges to Innovation
  • Collaborating for Innovation
  • Creating Super Value
  • Developing a Solution-Centered Mindset
  • Full-Spectrum Engagement
  • Innovation and World-Class Performance
  • Innovative Action Planning


  • Innovation Plan: Apply the learning and thinking from each day to your own work environment, and return to the workplace with an actionable 90-day innovation plan.
  • Case studies on Howard Schultz at Starbucks and Bob Johnson at Honeywell Aerospace.
  • Top-Notch Program Directors and Associated Resources: Participants receive copies of two compelling books written by the program's two co-directors, along with opportunities for personal interaction with each. Excerpts and examples from both resources are integrated into the course.




Innovate Like Edison: The Success System of America's Greatest Inventor
By Michael Gelb and Sarah Miller Caldicott, a descendant of Thomas Edison

Level Three Leadership: Getting Below the Surface
By James G. Clawson



  • Day One kickoff reception and dinner
  • Daily sessions, which alternate between instruction from Jim Clawson and Michael Gelb
  • Meals at the Darden School
  • Intense personal reflection and innovation invited continually
  • Evenings spent in group discussion and/or individual preparation
  • Final day session and lunch

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  • Course Information

    5-8 May 2015

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    $6,500 covers materials, meals and accommodations at the Inn at Darden .

    Managers who want to think more creatively and lead innovation for better results

    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