Essential Skills for Innovation: Assessing New Business Ideas

In our fast-moving innovation economy, leaders need to find new ways to tackle business problems, think beyond the status quo, and create value for their organizations.

Whether you’re an established entrepreneur, aspiring business owner, or intrapreneur within an organization, this immersive two-day program will tap your potential to evaluate new ideas—from a process change to strengthen efficiencies, to a recently developed product, to a transformative business model. Through dynamic discussion and engaging exercises, you’ll learn entrepreneurial methods and processes to help you assess ideas and gain a deeper understanding of value creation.

Upon completion, you’ll be able to exercise entrepreneurial thinking, and will be equipped with frameworks and skills to apply to your organization’s challenges. It is not necessary to have a business idea or plan before enrolling in this program.

Program Benefits

  • Learn how to evaluate and assess new ideas
  • Design value propositions and business models that support your organization’s desired growth
  • Test hypotheses about your business ideas to reduce the risk of failure
  • Learn how to provide evidence that your new business ideas are viable to gain buy-in from senior management
  • Discover tools and principles to manage the process of identifying and creating business opportunities that strengthen competitive advantage
  • Earn a Certificate of Participation from the Harvard University Division of Continuing Education

Topics Covered

  • Understanding the role of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship in various business contexts
  • Examining your entrepreneurial mindset and skills
  • Implementing tools to assess and refine your business ideas
  • Learning how to create customer profiles, map value, and verify a problem-solution fit
  • Creating your value propositions and presenting this value to stakeholders to secure resources and win support
  • Applying effective communication skills to pitch your business idea confidently

Who Should Enroll

This program is appropriate for professionals in a range of industries who are looking to better understand how to create value for their company, organization, or unit. In particular, the following individuals will find the course material actionable:

  • Entrepreneurs and business owners
  • Intrapreneurs and chief innovation officers
  • Business development executives
  • Product developers
  • Consultants
  • Freelancers and sole proprietors
  • Engineers
  • Designers

Program Information

Program Dates

October 16–17, 2019
Instructor Areen Shahbari

Class Times

Programs run from 9 am to 5 pm.

Program Fee

2019 Program Fee: $2,850


One Brattle Square
Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.


Areen Shahbari is a social entrepreneur, a business consultant, and a lecturer on entrepreneurship, strategic management, marketing, and effective communication at Harvard University Extension School and Simmons School of Business. She provides consulting services to local and international entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies, leads travel courses that focus on women leadership and entrepreneurship, serves on business and entrepreneurship panels, and leads workshops and training on networking, negotiation, entrepreneurship, communicating across cultures, and persuasion. Shahbari has taught in the United States, Chile, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, Turkey, and Mexico. She is also the Chief Executive Officer of Cactus Int., a company that she founded in 2013 to promote women entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa Region.

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