Innovation, Entrepreneurial Leadership, and Analysis of Complex Problems

This course develops skills for solving hard problems and creating opportunities. It teaches skills that professionals often develop only from decades of experience. Drawing on examples from public policy, business, and technology, and with a strong emphasis on team approaches, we will explore:

- Risk: ways that innovators, entrepreneurs, and seasoned problem-solvers necessarily triage and manage risk. How can legally trained professionals move beyond issue spotting and become partners in navigating difficult situations? Given that we live in a world where risk cannot be eliminated, and given that risk is essential for innovation, how should we think about risk in ways that will best serve clients and colleagues?

- Teamwork: team approaches to problem solving. While lawyers are trained extensively to analyze problems by themselves, many assignments encountered in working life are necessarily multi-disciplinary and require working in teams. What are the best practices and essential skills of successful teams? How do we as professionals develop systematic, effective approaches to solving complex problems in cooperation with others?

- Systematically approaching problems: how do we manage ourselves, build effective teams, and navigate organizational chaos to create solutions when conditions are challenging and the stakes are high?

- Innovating and creating: how do we foster creativity and innovation? How do we best prepare ourselves and others to generate creative solutions?

The course includes a wide variety of readings, projects, and exercises and includes a strong emphasis on experiential education. Goals include preparing students to work effectively with innovation, entrepreneurship, and problem-solving, and as leaders of strong, cross-functional teams.