Why Strategic Innovation?

“In industry, innovation is a key source of leadership and differentiated competitive advantage. Methods to achieve innovation, particularly in light of the rapid technology-driven changes occurring across industry sectors, are continuously evolving,” says Dr. Joe Sinfield, Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the College of Engineering Innovation and Leadership Studies Program at Purdue University.

To readily address the continuous evolution of technology-driven change, Purdue University’s industry-focused residential Master of Engineering Management launched a new Strategic Innovation concentration in 2021. The concentration continues and enhances our College of Engineering's ongoing emphasis on innovation. The College of Engineering has tangibly demonstrated commitment to the field of innovation for many years, having launched the Innovation and Leadership Studies Program in 2017, and the John Martinson Entrepreneurial Center in 2020. The Strategic Innovation concentration extends our commitment by focusing on education of practicing professionals.

Whether it be high tech companies in aerospace or semiconductors, or consumer goods retailers that rely upon advanced data analytics to manage their supply chain and fulfill customer needs, businesses increasingly require leaders with the technological understanding of engineers. According to Eric VandeVoorde, Senior Director for Professional Master’s Programs in Engineering, “Our compelling new Strategic Innovation concentration addresses an increasing need in the business sector for leaders capable of driving growth in enterprises that are engaged in technology-based activity.”

This trend is unlikely to slow down. Evidence indicates that technology has steadily decreased the lifespan of major enterprises like those on the S&P 500 over the last 50 years, from roughly 67 years in the 1920’s to under 15 years today. Businesses in this environment need leaders who not only understand technology, but who also understand innovation and are capable of guiding enterprises to realize continuous growth in an increasingly technical and complex competitive environment.

Helping business professionals build an understanding of innovation at the intersection of technology and business is exactly the focus of our Strategic Innovation concentration.