Innovation can be taught. The time to learn is now

Join the next two editions of the Innovation Leaders Speaker Series — part of Temple University's Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute — featuring RoseAnn Rosenthal and Matrice Jackson.

Fox School of Business.

(Photo by Betsy Manning/Temple University)

This is a guest post by Kerry Slade, assistant academic director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute at Temple University's Fox School of Business.
Full disclosure: is serving as a media partner for the Fox School of Business' Innovation Leaders Speaker Series.

At Temple University’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), we believe that anyone can learn to be innovative. Our programs teach strategies and techniques that can help you identify opportunities, increase your chances of success, and de-risk your new ideas.

This approach has never been more relevant than now: Over the past eight months, every industry has been disrupted by the pandemic in one way or another. Trends that were expected to play out over several decades have been accelerated into daily practice. You might be asking, “How can I ensure my company survives, much less thrives?”

If you are waiting for “normal” to return, you are ignoring the mandate to evolve. Even before COVID-19, a McKinsey survey showed that 80% of executives believed their business models were at risk in the coming years. The better path is to embrace constant innovation as a culture and a strategy. This is where Temple’s IEI comes in. We give our audiences the tools and resources to be their most innovative and entrepreneurial selves.

Our Innovation Leaders Speaker Series (ILSS) brings this passion and expertise to the regional, national, and even international community (Sweden, anyone?). Our events and webinars feature expert innovative and entrepreneurial thinkers sharing their best practices, insights and wisdom, with you, for free. Watch our past online episodes and learn more about the series on our website to see for yourself.

One particularly impactful ILSS webinar was “Design Thinking for Cognitive Bias,” with David Dylan Thomas. David, a content strategy advocate at user experience design firm Think Company in Philadelphia, has developed a unique expertise in the way our brain’s built-in wiring interprets different aspects of design and communication. For example, did you know that if things are easier to read, such as in bold font, we think they are more true? David gave practical ideas to combat bias, such as asking your team to write their ideas down separately before holding a group discussion to combat the bandwagon effect.


This 2020-2021 academic year, we kicked off the series with Terracycle founder and CEO Tom Szaky. Co-sponsored with our Social Entrepreneurship Series, his talk eschewed appealing to people’s better natures to encourage them to adopt environmentally sustainable products and services — rather, he assumes the customer will not change, and will be even worse tomorrow. We learned about his new brand Loop, a rapidly growing partnership with some of the world’s biggest consumer goods companies that completely rethinks the purpose and value of packaging, transforming it from waste into a company asset.

Next up, this Thursday at 3 p.m. is “How to Catalyze a Regional Innovation Ecosystem,” with Philadelphia powerhouse RoseAnn Rosenthal. Over the past 24 years, she has served as the president and CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Fun fact: In 2018, BFTP’s Impact Report showed that for every $1 invested in the program, the Commonwealth enjoyed $3.90 in additional tax revenue.


On Nov. 17 at 3 p.m., Matrice Jackson from Kimberly Clark Corporation will join us to talk about “Cultivating High Performing Talent in Innovation Teams.” Matrice is the senior manager of research and engineering in innovation capabilities management at KCC and is known for her ability to help each team member find his or her “superpower” to bring to work.


Our ILSS recognizes that thought leadership develops at the intersection of education and industry. If you want to increase your own thought leadership around innovation, the Fox School offers a master of science degree in innovation management and entrepreneurship, as well as three-course graduate certificates. Learn more here, or contact

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