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What is Open Innovation and how does it address business model challenges of real companies? This past semester, students enrolled in UGBA 190T: Open Business Models & Open Innovation, a class taught by Professor Solomon Darwin,took on the commitment to understand this concept. In the beginning of the semester, students were grouped to work with senior executives: Arnie Lund of General Electric, Dharmesh Dubey of Johnson & Johnson, Steve Myers of UnitedHealth Group, Nitin Narkhede of Wipro, Mohi Ahmed of Fujitsu, and Brock Kolls of Coke. With cultivating feedback and guidance, these executives challenged the student groups to think critically and innovatively about their business models.

This past Thursday, students delivered outstanding final presentations in front of the same executives they worked with all semester. Impressed, Arnie Lund, Connected Experience Labs Technology Leader at GE Global Research, found the students’ ideas “innovative and breakthrough”, even commenting that the students are “a group of people who could be working for our team…it’s very exciting!” All in all, students demonstrated a solid understanding of the process, concepts, and strategies of the open innovation process, including social trends, technological advancements, and prospective markets in an ever-changing economic landscape.

Through collaboration with peers and executive mentors, students were able to improve upon ideas and generate impressive results. Student Jean Carlo Hoyos, who had the opportunity to work with UnitedHealth Group, described that the class “…will push your limits…take you out of your comfort zone and push your creativity limits, but at the same time you will be supported by your professor, your classmates and your team.”  A course that began with limited understanding of Open Innovation ended with an entire classroom possessing full comprehension of Open Innovation concepts. Students demonstrated their profound growth during their time in UGBA 190T.

Student Epiphany Ryu, who had the pleasure of working with GE, share her closing thoughts about the class: “One key lesson I will take away from this course is that constantly scraping your ideas, going back to the drawing board to come up with new ones, and reiterating upon them is a normal process of open innovation. It is upon rethinking through your ideas and listening to the advice of others that you come up with stronger and better plans…Thank you Professor Darwin for your profound wisdom and challenging us to think harder and a little bigger about our business model (and even our lives!) after every lecture and meeting.”

Congratulations for a successful semester, UGBA 190T students!


By Cindy Ma