Creating the Innovative Workplace (Online Course)

  • Darden’s world-renowned faculty members in entrepreneurship and innovation have combined their skills in this course to help you build a workplace culture that invites creativity. Learn how to manage teams, negotiate conflict, build effective networks and strategically plan for innovation.

  • At a Glance

    Drawing on the full range of Darden's cutting-edge research and hands-on expertise, you'll explore a variety of timely, relevant factors to unleash your workplace creativity, foster innovation and act as a catalyst for new endeavors within your organization. Expect to focus 5-8 hours per week on coursework during this five-week program.

    This course allowed me to reflect about my own company innovative procedures and behaviors. We as an innovation lab considered ourselves on top of the game, however we need to walk the talk internally and this course provided a good starting point.

    Wow LAB, Innovation Associate and Project Manager

    Innovation requires a learning mindset, breaking old habits and discovering the unknown. This course will really open your mind to the possibilities!

    Greg Abbey, Chief Marketing Officer, Steam Marketing

    Course Overview

    Creating a culture of innovation requires paying attention to several different variables. In this course, you'll hone your leadership skills by tackling several different topics. We'll consider tensions between short-term objectives and long-term innovations. You'll learn techniques for aligning key players and projects, balancing top-level objectives and mid-level knowledge and moving forward as a collective to make progress.

    You'll also discover how successful leaders manage their personal networks, reviewing the network patterns of high performers and the traps of over- and under-connectedness. You'll learn how you can better manage conflict within your organization, and assess your own conflict-management style. You'll learn about conversations in the workplace and how to build and run high performance teams primed for innovation. Along the way you'll hear stories about building powerful workplace habits that help you manage change and innovation.

    Accelerate Your Skills

    • Apply actionable strategies to your workplace problems
    • Balance short-term and long-term objectives and eliminate information asymmetry
    • Maximize the effectiveness of your professional network and your social patterns
    • Manage conflict to maximize potential
    • Create high-performing teams that are poised to innovate

    Course Format

    This program is conducted entirely online over the course of five weeks. Each week, participants should expect to spend approximately five to eight hours viewing instructional videos and completing field work, readings, assignments and peer evaluations. Course readings are provided within the course. No additional text required.

    For the course to be completely successful, participants should maintain respectful communication with the faculty and fellow participants and comply with all applicable rules, instructions, requirements and terms of service.


    You'll walk away from Creating the Innovative Workplace with:

    • An awareness of your own conflict style and an understanding of ways to manage workplace conflict more effectively
    • An analysis to guide your development of a professional network that supports your goals and strengths as a leader
    • Strategies to energize and empower personnel and streamline resource allocation
    • Tools and models for designing, facilitating, and managing high-performance teams
    • A broadened perspective that empowers you to effect positive change and accelerate your leadership skills


    This course is designed for managers and leaders who believe that innovation is everyone's business and know their organizations will benefit from fresh, powerful, and lean approaches to busting through stagnant problems. An independent but complementary training to Darden's popular Design Thinking courses, Creating the Innovative Workplace benefits leaders from public and private sectors alike, including those in finance, engineering, technology and administration, as well as healthcare, education and social nonprofit causes.


    Kristin J. Behfar

    Associate Professor of Business Administration
    An award-winning teacher of organizational behavior, Behfar's research includes the study of group processes and performance, conflict management, group decision making, multicultural teams and cross-cultural leadership. She has provided consultation services to organizations on team and leadership effectiveness. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, and she is co-editor of the book Conflict in Teams: New Directions in Theory and Practice. Prior to coming to Darden, Behfar was a post-doctoral fellow at the Kellogg School of Management and then a faculty member at the University of California, Irvine. She holds a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from Cornell University's Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, as well as a Master of Science and Bachelor of Science from Boston University.

    Robert Cross

    Associate Professor of Commerce, UVA McIntire School of Commerce
    Professor Cross specializes in organizational behavior. He conducts research on social networks, knowledge management, organizational learning, and organizational change. Current research projects include a series of studies on the role of social networks in knowledge creation and sharing, a functional theory of work-based relations, assessment of the role of trust in knowledge exchange, modeling cultural consensus as a product of social network position, and emerging work on the role of energy in social networks. Professor Cross directs research into social network analysis for The Network Roundtable. He publishes articles in academic and professional journals, presents papers at scholarly and practitioner conferences, and participates in executive education programs. A book by Professor Cross and A. Parker, The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding How Work Really Gets Done in Organizations, was published in 2004 by Harvard Business School Press.

    Alexander B. Horniman

    Killgallon Ohio Art Professor of Business Administration; Senior Fellow, Olsson Center for Applied Ethics
    Horniman has been training ethical, mindful leaders for more than 45 years. His "Leading, Learning and Change" framework has inspired thousands to think differently about how they lead and influence others. A behavioral psychology and leadership specialist, he is the founding director of the Darden Olsson Center for Applied Ethics. Horniman served in the U.S. Army and as a special consultant to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and has prior experience in the aviation industry. He holds a D.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

    Edward D. Hess

    Professor of Business Administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence
    Prior to joining academia, Professor Hess spent more than 20 years in the business world as a senior executive. He is the author of 12 books, over 100 articles and over 60 Darden cases, etc. dealing with growth, innovation and learning cultures, systems and processes. His books include  Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence In the Smart Machine Age(Berrett- Kohler, 2017) and  Learn or Die: Using Science to Build a Leading-Edge Learning Organization(Columbia Business School Publishing, September 2014). He consults regularly with major public and private companies.

    Jeremy Hutchison-Krupat

    Associate Professor of Business Administration
    Jeremy Hutchison-Krupat's research is focused on the effective implementation of a firm's innovation strategy. His recent work has evaluated the effect that various resource allocation processes have on a firm's ability to innovate, the appropriate use of different performance metrics for collaborative innovation, and the effect of both incentives and tolerance for failure on managerial decision making within an innovation context. This research is supported by grants from the Batten Institute at the University of Virginia.

    Jeanne Liedtka

    United Technologies Corporation Professor of Business Administration  
    Jeanne M. Liedtka is the former chief learning officer at United Technologies Corporation, a Fortune 50 corporation, where she was responsible for overseeing corporate learning and development. At Darden, Jeanne works with both MBAs and executives in the areas of design thinking, innovation and leading growth. Her current research focuses on design-led innovation in the government and social sector, as does her forthcoming book, Designing for the Greater Good. She authored The Designing for Growth Field Book: A Step by Step Guide (2014), The Catalyst: How You Can Lead Extraordinary Growth, which was one of Bloomberg Businessweek' s best innovation books of 2009; Designing for Growth, which was named the best management book of 2011 by 800-CEO-READ; and Solving Problems with Design Thinking: 10 Stories of What Works.

    Tuition & Specialization

    Innovative Workplace SoA Tuition for this course is $495. Payment is required in advance of the program and is not refundable or transferable after the start of the program.

    By taking this course, participants earn credit toward the Specialization in Design Thinking and Innovation.

    Policies & Procedures/FAQs

    Registration: You can register for any of the online courses by completing a registration form directly from the course page on our website. Payment is due upon registration. We accept payment online from American Express, MasterCard and Visa. You'll receive a confirmation email after we receive your registration. Registration for each course closes on the course start date. We offer a 10% tuition reduction for groups of 10 or more.  Email us for approval and pricing.

    Cancellations & Transfers: If you must cancel your enrollment, you must do so within seven (7) calendar days of the course start date. Please  email us with the name of the course, followed by "cancellation" in the subject line. If you cancel or withdraw within seven (7) days of the start date, you will be refunded 100% of your tuition. No refunds will be permitted after the first seven (7) days of the course.

    If you prefer, you may transfer to one subsequent course offered within one year, if available. Email us with the name of the course, followed by "transfer" in the subject line. This request must be made within seven (7) calendar days after the original course start date. 

    Access to Course Materials: Each of the four courses is designed to run for five (5) weeks. We leave each course open for a full ten (10) weeks. Once a course is closed, you will not be able to access our lectures and course materials, information pages, or assignments (including peer feedback). You may continue to access your network, submissions, discussions, conversations, and team workspace in archive mode (no new posts or comments) for up to six (6) months.

    For more information, review a complete list of our online course policies and procedures, as well as frequently asked questions.

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