Paule Earle
Paul Earle Jr.

Adjunct Lecturer of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Print Overview

Paul W. Earle, Jr. is a marketing executive, entrepreneur, and lecturer with significant experience in innovation and new product development, new venture formation, licensing, advertising, and traditional brand management. At present, he is Executive Director of Farmhouse, the innovation and new venture center of the global marketing agency Leo Burnett. Farmhouse is a semi-autonomous “skunkworks” that develops new ideas for clients and its Leo Burnett parent alike.

Paul previously served as President of River West Brands LLC, a dormant brand acquisition and redevelopment company that he founded in 2001. River West acquired or otherwise monetized well known but distressed brand properties such as COLECO toys, UNDERALLS hosiery, BRIM coffee, EAGLE snacks, NUPRIN analgesics, SALON SELECTIVES hair care, STRUCTURE apparel, and a number of other icons. The company emerged as a true innovator in many facets of its business model, from its partnership approach to brand commercialization to a number of unique strategies and tactics it pioneered in intellectual property transactions.

At River West, Paul initiated the acquisition of over 20 brand properties through a range of strategies and structures; led the redevelopment process on those properties; forged and managed relationships with a range of River West’s key external strategic partners, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Kraft, Hasbro, and other top marketers; liaised with top retailers in every main channel of trade; co-led the process that resulted in a strategic investment from Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC), a sophisticated global holding company of marketing firms; and played an important role in five new brand ventures that River West itself spun off. Paul and his work were featured in the New York Times, NBC’s Today Show, NPR, and other prominent national media.

Prior to River West, Paul worked in brand management at Kraft Foods, Inc., where he primarily focused on the $1 billion+ prepared pasta business, one of Kraft’s flagships (Kraft “Blue Box” Macaroni & Cheese, and others). He began his marketing career at Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, where he worked on the development of advertising, strategy, and new product concepts for such clients as General Mills, British Airways, and Johnson & Johnson, as well as the National Crime Prevention Council pro bono.

Paul holds a BA from Hamilton College and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He lives in downtown Chicago with his wife Melanie, and sons Paul III and George.

Print Vita
MBA, 1999, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
BA, 1993, Hamilton College

Other Professional Experience
Account Management, Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, 1993-1997
President, River West Brands, 2001-2011
Brand Management, Kraft Foods, 1998-2000
Executive Director, Farmhouse, Leo Burnett, 2012-present

Print Research

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Evening & Weekend MBA
Corporate Innovation and New Ventures (KIEI-903-0)

The terms "entrepreneurship" and "innovation" often evoke images of a startup in a garage. But what about the game-changing innovation generated by large, established corporations? Now more than ever, large organizations are focusing on innovation as the key to their growth and prosperity. In some instances, it is critical for their very survival. These companies are investing in systems and processes to accelerate the pace of innovation, but need their people to step up in order to win in a competitive marketplace.

This course addresses the emerging practice of "corporate entrepreneurship," also called "intrapreneurship," broadly defined as the application of entrepreneurial capabilities to the development of new ventures within an existing firm. In 2014 the course was redesigned with enhanced student-experience goals, that would 1) create a more experiential-learning ecosystem, taking students out of the classroom into the realities of the boardroom, 2) curate a unique curriculum through impactful sessions and connections with top executives from multi-national corporations, and 3) consider the entrepreneurial movement as an opportunity and tool to drive innovation and growth in and around large enterprises.

With a unique focus on exploring and learning from real companies with real problems, classes provide highly immersive learning opportunities, putting students right in the middle of the innovation arms race. By working directly with companies, students are able to roll up their sleeves and sample traditional and entrepreneurial innovation techniques from the perspective of impacting corporate strategy, market-facing initiatives, corporate venturing, startup partnering and new product development.

Student teams work with a Sponsoring Partner for the quarter, and are tasked with the creation of innovative ideas around their growth challenge areas, which are presented to the class by the company's executives. Teams are further tasked with targeting, developing, evaluating, vetting and refining their top idea through a concept development process, culminating in a final project deliverable and formal presentation to company's leadership team. Previous KIEI-903 Sponsoring Partners have included McDonald's Corporation, United Healthcare and Procter & Gamble.

In addition to the primary team project, students are also exposed to corporate and entrepreneurial innovation processes at a range of multi-national headquarter and corporate innovation center locations, startups, incubators and accelerators. Many classes are held on site, at KIEI-903 Organization Partner locations, where students interact with management, through thematic discussions, debates and workshops, about the current market opportunities and growth challenges they are pursuing. Organization Partners, where classes have been previously held include United Airlines, Whirlpool, PepsiCo, Accenture, Leo Burnett, Target, AKTA, TechNexus and1871.

All readings will be included in the course pack. Current details and updates about the class experience can be reviewed here.