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

DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)- See more at:




Unleashing Creative Innovation

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Monday, May 2, 2016 to Friday, May 27, 2016
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Economics professors Paul Oyer, Mike Mazzeo, and Scott Schaefer have spent the past six years visiting small to medium-sized ventures around the world, gathering stories of success and failure.

This course uses those stories to provide lessons that can help business leaders identify new opportunities and avoid pitfalls as their company reaches for the next level. We will do a deep dive into key strategy concepts, based on economic fundamentals, that will help you think about growing your business. You will learn about these concepts through the examples of real-life businesses and then practice applying the concepts to your business (or a business you know well).

During the course, we'll ask you to think about questions like:

  • What scales and what doesn't?

  • What does your cost structure tell you about your future?

  • Where can you add value for your customers so that they will be willing to pay a price that can ensure you stay profitable as you grow?

Strategic Thinking for Growing Your Enterprise will conclude with a final team project where you will analyze and address a key strategic growth challenge of a business.

Most of the course material will be self-paced, but there will also be live webinars where you can ask the professors questions about challenges you face and participate in discussions with business owners whose companies you learn about in the class content.

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Understand the economic foundations of strategy (but we promise not to do too much math to get you there)
Make an analytical case to support a strategic growth initiative

  • Be in a position to make analogies from cases/examples to other organizations
Hopefully, have a lot of fun!




You need a computer that allows you to watch the video lectures, and the ability to upload your assignments, which will be images, videos, slides, and text. You should also be prepared to collaborate with teammates via email, Skype, and other free online tools.


Paul Oyer

Fred H. Merrill Professor of Economics in the Stanford University Graduate School of Business

Paul Oyer has been on the Stanford faculty since 2000, where he teaches classes in Economics, Strategy, and Human Resource Management. He is also a Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economics and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Labor Economics. Paul does research in the field of labor economics. In addition, he is the author of two books -- "Roadside MBA" (with Michael Mazzeo and Scott Schaefer) and "Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating". Thanks to his ongoing collaboration with the other instructors of this MOOC, Paul has visited all fifty states, spent a day on a dairy farm, and driven across shockingly expensive toll bridges throughout Scandinavia.

Scott Schaefer

Kendall D. Garff Chair in Business Administration at the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business

Scott Schaefer joined the University of Utah faculty in 2005, and served as Associate Dean from 2009 to 2012. Prior to moving to Utah, he taught for ten years Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, where he held the Richard M. Paget Chair. Scott does research on the economics of organization, with an emphasis on employment relationships and decision-making inside firms. He has won multiple teaching awards at both Kellogg and Utah, and has co-authored the booksEconomics of Strategy and Roadside MBA. Scott holds a PhD from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and enjoys driving rental cars on two-lane roads with spotty cell coverage.

Michael Mazzeo

Associate Professor of Strategy at Kellogg School of Management

Mike Mazzeo is an Associate Professor in the Strategy Department of the Kellogg School of Management, and a Faculty Associate at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research. He teaches Kellogg's core MBA and EMBA classes in Business Strategy, and is a three-time recipient of the school's Core Course Teaching Award. He is the Academic Director of Kellogg's open enrollment executive program in Competitive Strategy. He joined the faculty in 1998 after completing his PhD in economics at Stanford University.


Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment?

Subject to satisfactory performance and course completion, you will receive a statement of accomplishment signed by the instructor.

How much of the time commitment will this course be?

Expect to spend between 2 - 3 hours per week on the course over the four-week period. This class is mostly asynchronous and does not meet at specific times. Live webinars will be recorded for those who are unable to attend at the scheduled time.

Any additional textbooks or software required?

There is no textbook for this course. The instructors have written a book called Roadside MBA: Backroad Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners if you are interested in learning more about the material covered in this course.

Strategic Thinking for Growing Your Enterprise

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Monday, March 28, 2016
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This course is offered by Stanford's Graduate School of Business. Application and fee applies.

Course Description

The best and most innovative ideas will never see the light of day unless they can obtain funding. How can you, as a manager or entrepreneur, make the most convincing case to advance your projects and make them attractive to senior decision makers or outside investors? And how do successful companies and investors pick the best products and manage R&D investments? Effective product innovation relies on clearly defined financial models and analysis. This course will explore the tools of financial valuation and their role in investment decisions faced by managers, entrepreneurs, and investors. You will learn the difference between earnings and cash flow, the importance of net working capital, and the determinants of a firm's cost of capital. You will explore the sources and drivers of value and how to maximize created value. Finally, you will apply financial valuation tools to understand how firms are valued by investors, considering both publicly traded and venture-backed firms.

Learn How To:

  • Identify the determinants of earnings, cash flows, and shareholder value
  • Build a financial model to assess the value proposition for a product or investment
  • Analyze and optimize the sources and drivers of firm value
  • Value projects, firms and new ventures


  • Peter DeMarzo

Additional Resources


Financing Innovation

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Sunday, April 3, 2016 to Friday, June 3, 2016
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Course topic: 

The Course

This course introduces the fundamentals of technology entrepreneurship, pioneered in Silicon Valley and now spreading across the world. You will learn the process technology entrepreneurs use to start companies. It involves taking a technology idea and finding a high-potential commercial opportunity, gathering resources such as talent and capital, figuring out how to sell and market the idea, and managing rapid growth. To gain practical experience alongside the theory, students form teams and work on startup projects in those teams. This is the 7th offering of the class. In total nearly 200,000 students from around the world have participated and worked in teams together in this class. The the best teams at the end of the class pitched their ideas to investors. Many of the alumni of the last class are continuing to build their startups and will be mentoring teams this time. By the conclusion of the course, it is our hope that you understand how to: 1. Articulate a process for taking a technology idea and finding a high-potential commercial opportunity (high performing students will be able to discuss the pros and cons of alternative theoretical models). 2. Create and verify a plan for gathering resources such as talent and capital. 3. Create and verify a business model for how to sell and market an entrepreneurial idea. 4. Generalize this process to an entrepreneurial mindset of turning problems into opportunities that can be used in larger companies and other settings.

More Information

  • Workload: 10-20 hours per week.
  • Technical Requirements: You need a computer that allows you to watch the video lectures, and the ability to upload your assignments which will be reports and powerpoint/video presentations.
  • Statement of Accomplishment: Subject to satisfactory performance and course completion, you will receive a statement of accomplishment signed by the instructor. This statement will not stand in the place of a course taken at Stanford or an accredited institution.

Chuck Eesley
Tech Entrep.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016
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Starts in March. Enroll Now!


Design is central to all engineering, but especially to control system design. Learn the process of analyzing and designing feedback control systems starting from a physical model of a system which will focus on everyday applications. Lectures are delivered by faculty who describe their real world experience with control system design and share their analysis from a variety of fields.


Topics Include

  • Feedback Control
  • Modeling of Physical Systems
  • Root Locus Design
  • Nyquist Stability Criterion
  • System Sensitivity and Robustness




Use of MATLAB (SIMULINK) throughout the course.

  • Homework (Weekly)
  • Midterm
  • Final Exam


EE102, ME161, or equivalent

Tuition & Fees

For course tuition, reduced tuition (SCPD member companies and United States Armed forces), and fees, please click Tuition & Fees.

Feedback Control Design

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An innovative product may be a feat of engineering, but that does not necessarily turn it into a commercial success. What makes the difference between success in the lab and in the marketplace is the business model, which describes how we will create and deliver value for our customers, and how we will extract some of that value for our own organization. The business model encompasses our product or service, our customers, and the economic engine that will enable us to meet our profitability and growth objectives. Business model analysis is important for both startups and new businesses, which need to discover a successful business model, and for established businesses, which often need to defend or evolve their business models.

This course develops a structured way to think about business models and uses exercises and examples to train you in the science of business model analysis and to help you practice the art of business model construction.

You Will Learn

  • Build a business model for your own innovation.
  • Analyze the business models of competitors and incumbents.
  • Understand the economics underlying common business models.
  • Understand the "flywheel" that propels a business model to success.
  • Present your business model in a coherent and logical fashion.



Please contact us at 650.741.1630 or


Building Business Models

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Monday, March 28, 2016
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Your customers are mobile. That means you need to be mobile. To do that, you need a plan, and that’s what this course will provide. By looking at a set of interrelated building blocks, from market data to the competitive landscape to organizational and audience insights, this course will prepare you to market effectively in an increasingly mobile-centric world. 

Starting with the dramatic adoption of smartphones worldwide, we will examine the key trends that are making mobile the fastest-growing marketing channel. The course will also take a step-by-step approach to developing a comprehensive mobile strategy. That includes dedicated sessions on how to gather, synthesize, and apply meaningful data about competitors, your own organization, and your audience. We’ll look at the essential elements of a mobile strategy framework and detail a set of conceptual tools that will help you begin to formulate your approach to mobile marketing. We’ll illustrate some of these concepts with specific examples of successes and failures, dos and don’ts. In addition, we’ll look at key partners and external resources that are often integral to executing a mobile strategy. This will include platforms (from the established “Big Four”—Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google—to the emerging advertising and data stack) and also mobile carriers, service providers, and research tools such as comScore and Nielsen. Throughout, the focus will be on guidelines and best practices that will help ensure effective strategy execution. 

Noah Elkin, Author; Former Chief Product Officer, Industry Index

Noah Elkin’s career has revolved around the intersection of technology, strategy, marketing, and content. He is a co-author of Mobile Marketing: An Hour a Day. Prior to joining Industry Index, Elkin was executive editor and chief evangelist at eMarketer, where he wrote dozens of reports and delivered webinars and in-person presentations that helped clients understand the latest digital marketing, media, and commerce trends and the implications for their business. He received a PhD from Rutgers and a Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil.

Textbooks for this course

(Required) Ted Schadler, Josh Bernoff, and Julie Ask, The Mobile Mind Shift: Engineer Your Business to Win in the Mobile Moment (ISBN 978-0991361007)
(Required) Jeff Hasen, The Art of Mobile Persuasion: How the World's Most Influential Brands are Transforming the Customer Relationship Through Courageous Mobile Marketing (ISBN 978-0986148330)


Marketing Strategies

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Monday, April 11, 2016 to Friday, June 3, 2016
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Have you ever worked with a terrible leader or boss? If so, you’re not alone. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, 75 percent of people believe that working with their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job. What’s more, according to a recent Gallup poll, only 13 percent of employees worldwide are truly engaged with their work. Trends like these are troubling—both for individuals and organizations. Simply put, the modern world is demanding more high-quality leaders than it is currently producing. The good news is that building the knowledge, skills, and mindsets for outstanding leadership does not depend on having remarkable gifts or unique personality traits. The secret to success is surprisingly simple and achievable by most. 

Drawing on the philosophy and science of leadership, we will focus on the two major competencies of successful and impactful leaders: personal leadership and organizational leadership. The first focuses on authenticity and working well with others, while the latter competency centers on influencing and motivating others with a strong vision, a successful culture, and effective people management. Through a combination of assignments, case studies, collaborative and experiential activities, and online discussion, you will develop skills and techniques for effectively building on each of these competencies to enhance your leadership abilities in a variety of challenging situations and contexts. This course will be particularly relevant to managers, supervisors, team leaders, and others who aspire to develop high-performance leadership competencies. 


Danielle Harlan, Founder and CEO, The Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential

Danielle Harlan is the former chief of operations for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She has been a TEDx speaker, and is a member of the International Leadership Association, the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, and the National Association for Female Executives. She received a PhD in political science and an MA in education from Stanford, where she was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow and received a Centennial Teaching Award.

Textbooks for this course

No required textbooks.

Fee applies.

Exceptional Learder

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Monday, April 11, 2016 to Friday, June 3, 2016
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Great companies, like great homes, can be built in many ways. Outstanding entrepreneurs, like outstanding architects, can learn much from the achievements of their predecessors. Designed for the budding entrepreneur, this course will introduce you to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, advisors, and investors, and the varied ways in which they’ve constructed successful startups.

During the course, numerous guest speakers will assist us in addressing these and other key questions: How can you overcome the critical challenges founders face, such as assessing your own unique goals, skills, and capabilities; forming a complementary core team; creating a breakthrough product; and raising initial capital? What are the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of companies, whether big or small, technology- or market-focused, a traditional for-profit startup or a novel social enterprise? Which development path would be best to get your company off to a strong start? Should you go it alone, apply to an incubator or accelerator, or begin pitching venture firms immediately? What are effective ways to raise growth capital from a variety of sources? With rapid growth, what new organizational, managerial, and competitive challenges might your company face? What are useful metrics for measuring a startup’s progress? And, if all goes well, what is the IPO process like? Finally, what vital technological, educational, cultural, and other resources does Silicon Valley offer startups today? 

Guest speakers tentatively include:

Neerav Berry, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Payplant 
Adam Cheyer, Co-Founder and Vice President of Engineering, Viv Labs 
Adam Draper, Managing Director, Boost VC 
Timothy Draper, Founder, Draper Associates and DFJ 
William H. Draper III, General Partner, Draper Richards LP, and Co-Chairman, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation 
Ambarish Malpani, Vice President of Engineering, Edmodo 
Ted McCluskey, Chief Medical Officer, Finance Technology Leverage 
Jessica McKellar, Director of Engineering, Dropbox 
Alan Mendelson, Partner, Latham & Watkins, LLP 
Jan Møller Mikkelsen, President and CEO, Ascendis Pharma A/S 
Daria Mochly-Rosen, The George D. Smith Professor of Translational Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine 
Camilla Olson, Founder and CEO, Savitude 
Cecily Anne O’Regan, Patent Attorney, Shartsis Friese 
George G.C. Parker, Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance, Emeritus, Stanford Graduate School of Business 
Rob Reis, Founder and CEO, Higher Ground 
Elton Sherwin, President and Founder, Sherwin Advisors 
Glenn Winokur, CEO and Co-Founder, Synapse 

This course may not be taken for a Letter Grade. - See more at:


John Kelley, Co-founder and COO, OnRisk

John Kelley is the COO of OnRisk, which provides software services to the commercial insurance industry. Earlier, he founded 399 Innovation, which advises firms on invention and innovation strategy. He received a JD from Stanford, where he pursued an independent research track in artificial intelligence and law. Kelley also studied at Sorø Akadamiet in Denmark on an American Field Service Fellowship. 

Textbooks for this course

(Recommended) William H. Draper III, The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs (ISBN 0230339948)
(Recommended) Randy Komisar, The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living (ISBN 1578516447)
(Recommended) Jessica Livingston, Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days (ISBN 1430210788)
(Recommended) William F. Miller et al., The Silicon Valley Edge: A Habitat for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ISBN 0804740631)


Fee applies.

How to Build Successful Startups

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Monday, February 1, 2016 to Sunday, March 13, 2016
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The Course

The success of every venture depends on scaling: on sustaining and enhancing its effectiveness as it adds more employees, customers, and locations. The problem, however, is that scaling comes with inherent risk. Even the best founders and teams face setbacks, make mistakes, and must muddle through stretches of confusion and uncertainty. 

Professors Huggy Rao and Bob Sutton devoted seven years to understanding the differences between organizations that scale well and those that scale badly. In the process, they have identified what leaders can do to increase their organization's odds of success. They compiled the lessons they learned into the Wall Street Journal best-selling book Scaling Up Excellence: How to Get More Without Settling for Less.

This course is running for the second time after a successful first run in 2014. For a "behind the scenes" look at the development of the MOOC, watch the video below.

In this course, you will learn the principles that will help you scale up your venture without screwing up. 

You'll address questions that cut to the heart of the scaling challenge:

  1. How can you avoid the illusion, impatience, and incompetence that are hallmarks for botched scaling efforts?
  2. What should your strategy be? Should you be more “Catholic" and replicate one model as you grow? Or should you take a more “Buddhist" approach and encourage local customization as your footprint expands?
  3. How can you avoid cognitive overload on yourself and those you lead, while at the same time, add necessary complexity as your team and organizations grows?

The course consists of assigned readings, lectures, exercises, and video interviews. Each week will present you with different questions, and assigned readings fromScaling Up Excellence. Additionally, lectures that extend the insights of the book have been prepared, and the video interviews provide rich practical advice. The video interviews feature some of the most successful venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, such as:

  • Ben Horowitz of renowned venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz
  • Michael Dearing - the early stage venture investing guru of Silicon Valley
  • Ankit Gupta and Akshay Kothari - two Stanford students whose class project turned into Pulse, a venture acquired by LinkedIn
  • Clara Shih, the founder of Hearsay Social, and a board member of Starbucks
  • Selina Tobaccowala, President and CTO of SurveyMonkey and co-founder of Evite
  • Anthony Coles, former CEO of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, which his team grew and then sold to Amgen for 10 billion dollars
  • Kaye Foster-Cheek, former Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Onyx Pharmaceuticals
  • Dr. Jordan Kassalow, founder and co-chairman of VisionSpring, an organization that gives individuals in the developing world access to eyeglasses
  • Kevin Hassey, CEO of VisionSpring
  • Chip Conley, founder and former CEO of Joie de Vivre boutique hotel company and current Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy at Airbnb

Through the exercises, you will be able to apply the learnings directly to develop your scaling plan. At the end of the course, there is a live webinar during which some of the best works from the class will be showcased.

Support for this session of the MOOC has been provided by the Designing Organizational Change Project, which is part of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.

More Information

Any Questions? Visit our FAQ page (available to registered students starting Feb. 1st). If you have technical problems signing up, file a ticket with NovoEd.

TextbookScaling Up Excellence by Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao. Random House, 2014. It is available in hardcover and e-book (iBook or Kindle) versions.

Workload: Expect to spend between 4 - 6 hours per week on the course over the five-week period. This class is mostly asynchronous and does not meet at specific times. There will be one live webinar in the final week of the course that will be recorded for those who are unable to attend.

Technical Requirements: You need a computer that allows you to watch the video lectures, and the ability to upload your assignments, which will be images, videos, slides, and text. You should also be prepared to collaborate with teammates via email, Skype, and other free online tools.

Prerequisites: None

Statement of Accomplishment: Subject to satisfactory performance and course completion, you will receive a statement of accomplishment signed by the instructor. This statement will not stand in the place of a course taken at Stanford or an accredited institution.


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