Innovation in Nonprofit Organizations

Breakthrough Ideas for Nonprofit Leadership

For nonprofit organization leaders like you charged with creating substantial or radical new value for stakeholders and your organization, this program will take you on an eye-opening exploration of the concepts of innovation and social entrepreneurship and what these new ideas mean for individual organizations and the nonprofit sector as a whole.

Under the guidance of our expert faculty, you’ll begin by looking at innovation and creativity and how you can begin to think differently about fulfilling the mission of your organizations. You’ll look closely at the design process for new ideas and learn tools for prototyping, which allow you to make quick decisions about the potential success or failure of new ideas. You’ll then turn to the topic of leadership – what skills you must have as a leader of innovation, how to build a strong team, and how to motivate the team in a high-risk and highly entrepreneurial environment.

Center for Nonprofit Management

Generate new ideas that will take your organization to the next level


Who Should Attend

  • Managers, senior executives, and board members of nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations who wish to improve their leadership capabilities
  • Especially valuable for those who are initiating and driving innovation strategies in their organizations.

Key Benefits

  • Explore the theory of innovation in organizations and make direct applications to the culture and strategies of your nonprofit organization
  • Learn new concepts around the idea of prototyping — designing small experiments that test new ideas for your organization
  • Identify key leadership traits necessary for leading in a highly innovative and high-risk environment; look at personal leadership traits as they relate to a culture of innovation

Program Content

Achieving strategic innovation

  • Understand the definition of business innovation: creation of substantial or radical new value for stakeholders and the organization by dramatically changing one or more dimensions of the existing service delivery system
  • Identify tools and tactics that will help participants implement, benchmark and manage innovation strategies at the team and organizational level
  • Understand the primary impediments to innovation within an organization
  • Learn from a case study of a nonprofit organization that faced incredible challenges but through inspirational leadership and mission focus was able to implement game-changing innovation strategies

Leading breakthrough ideas through small experimentations?

  • Radically improve your ability to design small experiments that get to breakthrough ideas while minimizing precious resources of cost and time
  • Learn a method for designing clear, compelling experiments to test challenges in any organizational setting
  • Use prototyping techniques to strengthen your problem-solving ability and reduce time between questions and answers
  • Engage your team in evidence-based problem solving

Innovative leader as learner

  • Understand how "crucible" experiences impact leadership
  • Reflect upon individual leadership lessons
  • Consider the importance of "grit" to innovative and entrepreneurial environments
  • Discuss and design strategies for leading in an innovative organization – one that must promote experimentation and risks and tolerate intelligent failure


Naini Serohi - Academic Director; Program Administrator Senior, Center for Nonprofit Management, Kellogg School of Management

Jim Kale - President & CEO, Aspire Chicago

Brooke Vuckovic - Adjunct Lecturer of Leadership Coaching

Robert Wolcott - Clinical Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship; Co-Founder and Executive Director, Kellogg Innovation Network

Fees & Accommodations


Nonprofit Management Programs are held at Northwestern University's Chicago Campus.

Wieboldt Hall
Kellogg Conference Center
340 East Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago Campus Parking Map - Please Note: the Huron Superior Parking A lot and the Erie Ontario Parking C & D lots are available to the public and should be used when attending programs at Wieboldt Hall.

Application Deadline

The deadline for registration is 10:00 am one business day prior to the program start date.

Scholarship Assistance

Up to 50% scholarships are available for all of our nonprofit executive education programs for those working in nonprofit organizations.


Participants are responsible for booking their hotel accommodations during their stay in Chicago.

Download Recommended Hotel List

Cancellation Policy:

Participants must notify the Program Manager five business days in advance of the program start date if they are unable to attend. Otherwise, participants will be charged 20% of the stated program fees.

When canceling a program registration, participants may choose to rollover their payment to a future program or receive a refund. Participants are allowed three rollovers, after the third rollover, participants forfeit the money paid to the Center for Nonprofit Management.

*Refund or rollover must be requested at the time of the program cancellation. Once a program payment has been rolled over, a monetary refund is no longer an option. The participant must continue with the rollover process.

Personal Consultation

Please email or call us if you would like a personal consultation for Nonprofit Programs

Upcoming Sessions

October 26-27 2016

Start: October 26 at 8:30 AM

End: October 27 at 5:00 PM

LOCATION: Chicago campus


October 25-26 2017

Start: October 25 at 8:30 AM

End: October 26 at 5:00 PM

LOCATION: Chicago campus


Kellogg School of Management

James L. Allen Center
2169 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208