Essential Skills for Innovation: Assessing New Business Ideas

In our fast-moving innovation economy, entrepreneurs and corporate innovators alike need to find new ways to tackle business problems, think beyond the status quo, and create value for their organizations. Corporate Innovators need to propose a range of ideas, from new products to new business models, aimed at creating market value and enhancing performance. Yet, employees are sometimes reluctant to suggest ideas that can be costly for organizations.

This immersive 2-day program will help increase your confidence in proposing ideas, tap your potential to innovate, polish your ability to assess new business ideas, and strengthen your persuasion and idea pitching skills.

Upon completion, you’ll be able to exercise entrepreneurial thinking, and will be equipped to apply these skills in your organization. It is not necessary to have a business idea to enroll in this program.

Program Benefits

  • Know how to apply entrepreneurial methods and tools to assess and refine new business ideas
  • Test hypotheses to reduce the risk of failure
  • Understand the different aspects of launching your business idea
  • Design value propositions and business models that support growth
  • Learn how to assess and provide evidence that your business ideas are viable, desirable and feasible to gain buy-in from stakeholders
  • Improve your persuasion and pitching skills
  • Earn a Certificate of Participation from the Harvard University Division of Continuing Education

Topics Covered

  • Understanding the role of innovation and opportunity recognition
  • Learning about entrepreneurship and corporate innovation in various business contexts
  • Creating customer profiles, mapping value, and verifying a problem-solution fit
  • Presenting new business ideas to stakeholders to secure resources and win support
  • Applying effective communication skills to pitch your business idea confidently

Who Should Enroll

This program is ideal for professionals or teams from any industry who are interested in learning how to assess the viability, feasibility and desirability of new business ideas.

The workshop nature of this program is useful to:

  • Corporate innovators, including business development managers, product developers, engineers, designers, etc. tasked with driving growth
  • Entrepreneurs and business owners who need to find new ways to create value in the market
  • Investors, consultants, and chief innovation officers who are looking to sharpen their idea assessment and idea iteration skills

Program Information

Program Dates

October 16–17, 2019
Instructor Areen Shahbari
May 13–14, 2020
Instructor Areen Shahbari

Class Times

2019 Class Times: 9am-5pm
2020 Class Times: 8:30am-4:30pm

Program Fee

2019 Program Fee: $2,850
2020 Program Fee: $2,895


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.

Read More about Areen Shahbari