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Unleashing Creative Innovation and Building Great Products

Monday, June 20, 2016 to Friday, August 12, 2016


What makes one product good and another great? Is the ability to drive game-changing innovation an inborn gift or a practice any person can develop? This course explores the brain science and psychological methodology of creative ideation and introduces new paths to elevating our “visionary quotient” as business innovators and leaders. 

We will explore neuroscience, design thinking, and mindfulness in product development as they relate to new thinking about the innovation process and the creation of extraordinary brand experiences. Drawing on leading-edge research in design and psychology— as well as timeless wisdom, Silicon Valley history, and the classic book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which has guided many of the Valley’s most impactful business leaders—this course zeros in on the tangible and intangible attributes that make products great. With case studies spanning Apple, Google, Airbnb, Facebook, and other success stories, this course will illuminate new ways to guide product ideation, brand, and design. Entrepreneurs, marketers, developers, or anyone who wants to “think different” about innovation and take their impact to the next level will find actionable, differentiating insight in this course. 

Ellen Leanse, Tech Advisor; Entrepreneur

Ellen Leanse coaches startup teams and writes on innovation, mindfulness, and product design. She has advised more than forty technology companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, NeXT, Oracle, Intuit, and Samsung, and has worked with entrepreneurs in Africa, Asia, India, Latin America, and across the US. A member of the Macintosh launch team, Leanse was Apple’s first User Evangelist and forged the company’s pioneering steps into online communities. In 2012, PandoDaily named her as one of technology’s “Top Five Marketers” and the Silicon Valley Business Journal recognized her as a “Silicon Valley Woman of Influence.” She spoke on “Happiness by Design” at TEDxBerkeley 2016.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) David Rock, Your Brain at Work (ISBN 0061771295)
(Recommended) Nir Eyal, Hooked (ISBN 1591847788)

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