Addressing real customer needs is the core factor of managing innovation successfully. This is the task of the first stages of an innovation project, also called the Frontend of Innovation (FEI). In this course, you will learn about key concepts and methods of generating customer-centric business ideas and innovative concepts.

About the course

Often, the first stages of an innovation project are called "fuzzy", as they are considered to be less structured and predictable. However, after completing this course, you will get a different perspective: The Frontend of Innovation indeed can be managed by skill and dedicated methods and does not need to rely on luck.

You’ll study sources of information on customer needs as well as different approaches to market research and customer co-creation. In addition, the course reviews the latest methods for generating market insights and how to turn them into promising concepts prior to entering the formal product development process.

You will learn screening activities and how to evaluate concepts based on concept testing with customers or rapid experimentation. This course will also connect theories of innovation and various models, explaining innovation success with actionable knowledge for industry practice.

Besides the online lectures, participants will engage in a series of individual and group exercises that will help deepen their understanding of the topic at hand. Real-life case studies and examples from companies will be used to help participants better prepare for actual situations. In addition, the concepts will be discussed in relation to their theoretical grounding in academic literature.

This course is part of the "Managing Technology & Innovation: How to deal with disruptive change" MicroMasters programme designed to teach the critical skills needed to be successful in this exciting field. In order to qualify for the MicroMasters Credential, you will need to earn a Verified Certificate in each of the six courses of the RWTHx MicroMasters programme.

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What you will learn

By the end of this course, you will be able to understand:

  • The nature of successful innovation processes;
  • How to manage the “fuzzy” frontend of innovation from opportunity recognition to concept validation;
  • How to transfer trends and insights from the external environment into business opportunities;
  • How to find out what customers really want by identifying latent needs with the "jobs-to-be-done" framework, Outcome Driven Innovation, or Empathic Design;
  • How customer co-creation and Netnography complement internal ideation management.

About the instructor

Prof. Dr. Frank T. Piller leads the Technology and Innovation Management Group at RWTH Aachen University since 2007. Earlier, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management and was an assistant professor of management at the TUM Business School (1999-2004).

Duration: 6 weeks, 6-8 hours per week

Language: English

Instructor: Dr. Frank T. Piller

Institution: RWTH Aachen University


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