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Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business Design

Are you ready to design the future?

Learn the skills you need to excel as an innovator. As the world of business continues to evolve and the rate of change accelerates, managers and entrepreneurs need to develop a strategic mindset and design toolset to tackle complex challenges, navigate uncertainty, drive growth, and manage change.


The most successful managers understand innovation: how to recognize, manage and create value for sustained competitive advantage. 

The Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business Design emphasis offers you a diverse set of coursework to build competencies required by innovation-seeking firms or launching a new venture. You’ll learn how to translate needs into insights, connect concepts across functional areas, and frame innovative solutions into viable business models.

This emphasis will be most useful for those interested in launching their own start-up, consulting to or investing in entrepreneurial ventures, managing technology-based businesses, or exploring new opportunities in emerging industries. Those interested in public policy concerning economic growth and managing technological change will also benefit from this emphasis. 

"Despite the example of geniuses like Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs, innovation doesn't occur in a vacuum."

Bill McEvily, strategy professor at Rotman, in an online article on innovation

Topics covered

You will learn about creating economic value through starting a company or innovating in an existing organization. The focus is on recognizing and creating value from new ideas and bringing new products to market. 

Specific topics covered are: 

  • The nature of innovation and entrepreneurial activity
  • The characteristics of successful entrepreneurs
  • How to create and protect intellectual property
  • How to develop and evaluate business plans
  • How to create new business models and secure financing for new ideas

Elective courses are suggested from Business Economics, Finance, Strategy, Organizational Behaviour and Marketing to reflect the integrative nature of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Business Design at Rotman

Business Design at Rotman is our distinctive innovation methodology for thinking and working that applies human-centred design to improving or transforming business activities.


You will develop the mindset to find, frame and ultimately solve business problems by drawing upon social science, design methods, and strategy to create business value. You will also learn to manage the innovation process for developing new business models, products, services and platforms, and discover new opportunities for growth, market disruption, and sustainability.


Business Design courses in this emphasis combine lectures, project-based learning, online toolkits, and experiential live cases. Required courses provide foundational knowledge of the business innovation process and design methods to collect data, inform insights, and prototype ideas into innovations.

"Great leaders aspire to manage 'by design', with a sense of purpose and foresight. Lessons learned from the world of design, when applied to management, can turn leaders into collaborative, creative, deliberate, and accountable visionaries."

Moura Quayle, author of Designed Leadership, Columbia Business School Publishing

Requirements to complete the Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business Design

Complete five half courses (2.5 FCEs) with at least one half course (0.5 FCE) from the list of main courses. See the Registrar's Office for more detailed information. 


  • Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) Intro
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business Design Fundamentals


  • CDL Advanced (1.0 FCE)
  • Technology Strategy
  • Venture Capital Strategy
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Healthcare Innovation
  • Special Topics in Accounting: Accounting for Entrepreneurs
  • Private Equity & Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Fintech Marketing: Innovation in the Marketing of Financial Services
  • Futures Thinking: Developing Business Insight
  • Special Topics in Marketing: Service Design: Innovating Service-Based Organizations
  • Business Design Practicum
  • Creative Thinking for Business Innovation 
  • Design Research and Insight-Driven Storytelling 

For detailed information on each elective course, please see our MBA electives guide.

Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business Design resources at Rotman

Career paths for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business Design 

Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Business Design roles are not found through the usual paths of career building – they must be discovered, sought out, or created. 

The topics covered in this emphasis are critical in helping you develop your business design and innovation skills. These can be applied to any innovation and business transformation-related role that can benefit from a greater human understanding and the ability to create new growth opportunities in marketing, new product development, management, consulting and entrepreneurship.

Example roles might include service design, customer experience management, strategy, business analysis, product management, marketing management, market research, operations, corporate directorship, or joining an early-stage start-up. 

Companies that have recruited at Rotman

Companies may offer specific roles as a business design specialist, however, you are more likely to find roles that incorporate aspects of the methodology in your day-to-day responsibilities.

A selection of companies where Rotman MBA graduates have found Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business Design roles in recent years:

  • Associate Brand Manager, Nike
  • Innovation Catalyst, Fidelity Investments
  • Senior Manager, Commercial Auto, TD Bank
  • Innovation Project Manager, The Hospital for Sick Children
  • Business Designer, Openbox Innovation Agency, NYC
  • Customer Experience Designer, CIBC
  • Senior Consultant, Monitor Deloitte

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Bill McEvily - How Innovation Really Works

Bill McEvily is a professor of strategic management

The Truth about Innovation

Animation is based on the research of Sarah Kaplan, a professor of strategic management

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