Institute for Business Innovation

Trends & Highlights in
Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Institute’s research and programs in innovation and entrepreneurship continue to maintain and expand their pre-eminence by addressing the cutting-edge issues of global entrepreneurship and open innovation. Please see below for highlights, or visit the Research and Programs in Innovation and Entrepreneurship page for more information about our programs.


The Institute's Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation focuses on large-enterprise innovation, paying particular attention to implementation issues and the development of new business models to capture the value of innovative products and services.


The Garwood Center co-hosted a major conference in November 2011 to share knowledge about how two major schools of thought on innovation – mass customization and open innovation – can work harmoniously together. The 2011 World Conference on Mass Customization, Personalization, and Co-Creation (MCPC): Bridging Mass Customization and Open Innovation brought together business leaders and academics at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront from Nov. 16 to Nov. 19, 2011.


Haas@Work is an applied innovation course operated by the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation. Extremely popular with both MBA students and companies around the world, Haas@Work has been assigning teams of MBA students to paradigm-shifting, innovative projects for a number of years. Over 600 Haas MBAs have participated in Haas@Work since the program's inception, undertaking projects with prestigious international firms representing a variety of leading-edge industries.

The Center for Open Innovation (COI) conducts scholarly research on more open, distributed models for organizing and managing technology and innovation. Henry Chesbrough, the Executive Director of COI and adjunct professor at the Haas School of Business, was included in the top 50 innovators of 2003 chosen by Scientific American for accomplishments in research, business or policymaking that demonstrated outstanding technological leadership. strategy+business magazine named Chesbrough’s book "Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology" among the best business books and the top book on innovation of 2003.

An excerpt from Open Innovation: “In many industries today, the logic supporting an internally oriented, centralized approach to research and development has become obsolete. Useful knowledge is widespread in many industries, and ideas must be used with alacrity if they are not to be lost. These factors create the new logic of Open Innovation, which embraces external ideas and knowledge in conjunction with internal R&D. This logic offers new ways to create value, along with the continuing need to claim a portion of that value.”

In a new book that already has drawn glowing reviews, Chesbrough calls on companies to break down their walls to foster innovation. Released in December 2006, Open Business Models: How to Thrive in the New Innovation Landscape, already has received a Wall Street Journal review calling the book, "one that B-school students and lay readers alike will enjoy." BusinessWeek also included it on its list of the 10 best innovation and design books of 2006.

The Center for Open Innovation has initiated a new membership organization, the Berkeley Innovation Forum (BIF), to facilitate an academic and corporate partnership with a focus on innovation.  In brief, the mission of the BIF is to create a community of innovation leaders that meet to exchange ideas and practices.  Through an environment of non-competing companies, BIF members will explore new ways to advance the management of innovation by engaging openly with one another.
The Berkeley Innovation Forum is developing alternatives to the study of innovation, avoiding fundamental flaws in the usual approach of business schools.  The study of business is not a science in the academic sense of the word, yet business schools organize as though it was.  A far better model is the model of medical schools, which pursue fundamental research on the biological mechanisms of disease, and join that research to clinical practice that translates research breakthroughs into new therapies for patients.  In a small way, the BIF, if it is successful, will help to close the gap between innovation theory, and innovation.

Associate Director of the Institute David Mowery, along with leading innovation scholars Jan Fagerberg and Richard Nelson, edited the Oxford Handbook of Innovation, recently published by Oxford University Press. This volume carefully designs and selects twenty-one contributions from leading academic experts within their particular field, each focusing on a specific aspect of innovation. . It provides academics and students with a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the phenomenon of innovation. An international conference on innovation entitled "Research, innovation and economic performance -What do we know and where are we heading?" was held in Brussels on October 8, 2004 to mark the launch of the Handbook.

The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, the primary locus for the study and promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation in management and new enterprise development at UC Berkeley, continues its program leadership with its ranking in the top 13 of the top 50 national entrepreneurial colleges for 2004 by Entrepreneur Magazine.

The Lester Center has also expanded its research programs with a $600,000 two-year grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to investigate the causes and consequences of entrepreneurship in the United States. Led by John Freeman, research director of the Lester Center, the "Causes and Consequences of Entrepreneurship in the United States" project will support the research of faculty and doctoral candidates across various departments at UC Berkeley. With the recent expansion of research activity, the Lester Center’s programs have established great strength in all major functional areas of instruction, research, and public service.

The Kauffman Foundation has recently announced continuation funding for the research project. Following the successful model of the first two years, the Lester Center and Prof. Freeman will continue to seek out researchers from across campus whose fields of interest can be slightly refocused to include studies on entrepreneurship. The new grant will allow the center to award over 15 grants during the next two years.   The Center thanks the Kauffmann Foundation for this opportunity to expand basic research on entrepreneurship and to help develop theories that can improve the economic climate for start-up companies.

The major trend informing the development of the Lester Center’s programs is pervasive globalization. Entrepreneurship today is no longer a concern of local or national scope but requires consideration of global markets and trends. Moreover, the globalization of entrepreneurship extends beyond the developed economies of Europe and Asia to include third-world nations. One of the Lester Center’s major new programs, the Intel+Berkeley Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge, invited entrepreneurial teams from Russia, Mexico, Singapore, and the United States. Co-hosted by the Lester Center and Intel Corporation, the Challenge seeks to identify ventures that promise the greatest positive impact on society through the commercialization of new and truly innovative technologies. Intel and the Lester Center are extending the global entrepreneurship concept to teaching through the Technology Entrepreneurship- Theory To Practice program. The goal of the program is to foster entrepreneurship education around the world, helping to create innovative business people with cross-disciplinary skills, technical expertise, and the ability to seize market opportunities. Intel is sponsoring two-day seminars to be held in five venues in Brazil, China, India, and Europe during 2006. Attending each seminar will be 15-20 faculty members from several colleges and universities in those regions. The Lester Center manages both the teaching program and the Challenge as mutually supporting activities where the concepts and importance of entrepreneurship are reinforced for both teachers and students.

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