Collaborative Innovation Program

The Mack Institute’s Collaborative Innovation Program (CIP) connects members of the institute’s network to advance thought leadership on innovation management and its practical application. The Mack Institute will pair corporate partners with graduate students to work on resolving innovation management concerns within the company.

What the Program Provides

  • Facilitated collaborations with exceptional graduate students at the Wharton School
  • Opportunity to gain valuable insight and feedback from students to address an existing challenge within the partner firm
  • Exposure on advanced concepts encompassed by the institute’s research priorities

How CIP Works

Corporate partners propose a current business challenge they’d like to address; the Mack Institute will select students who will work on the project under faculty guidance.

Partners are invited to propose projects here, including company contact information, project background, desired deliverables, existing data, and other pertinent information. Multiple proposals are encouraged; the Mack Institute will select projects based on total number of proposals received and alignment with the Institute’s research priorities. Project length is expected to be approximately one semester, and partners are encouraged to meet the selected students at the beginning of their work on the project.

What Our Partners Say About It

“The team took on a technology topic that was relatively nascent and outside their domain of expertise, yet managed to conduct the necessary research and synthesize the large amounts of information into actionable recommendations. They demonstrated the requisite diligence, methodology, and strategic mindset that is critical for the success of such a project. In the end, what they produced was a business analysis of a key set of vertical opportunities that allows us to make future investment decisions.”

Sample Deliverables

Sample deliverables include (but are not limited to) analysis and recommendations in the following areas:

  • Marketing campaign to achieve a specific goal
  • Survey and forecast of an innovation
  • Internal organization to boost innovation productivity
  • Strategy and tactics to cope with competition
  • Alliance strategy (e.g., joint venture, mergers and acquisitions, etc.)

Project Example

Organizational Background

Company A is a technology company that has worked in the hardware and software space for many years. The company is a leader in these fields and is keen on discovering new business opportunities in segments that are emerging or growing fast. One such potential area to fuel accelerated growth is that of drones. What could be a holistic play for the company to drive long-term sustainable differentiation in this space?

Project Summary

Leading drone manufacturers are attracting big investments in funding, but real sustainable business opportunities seem to be in the area of enterprise verticals controlling the flow of data. Drones themselves are being commoditized already, but the data they generate is deemed quite valuable. Whoever can successfully tame the data pipeline taking care of security, volume, computation, storage, analytics, deep learning, etc. could potentially be a long-term winner in the drone ecosystem.

Objectives and Deliverables

  • Understand the UAV/drone ecosystem and relevant business models for enterprise/commercial play
  • A holistic formula for success: recommendations of components to build in-house, companies to acquire/partner with/invest in, companies to engage through co-creation models, leverage innovation centers
  • Suggested organizational structure to enter into disruptive market segments like drones that are fundamentally different from Company A’s traditional business