Robert Wolcott
Robert Wolcott

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

Print Overview

Wolcott is Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN) and a Clinical Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and formerly a visiting professor at the Keio Business School (Japan). Wolcott won Teacher of the Year from Kellogg’s EMBA program in 2013, 2014 and 2015.  He has served on the advisory boards of Nordic Innovation for the Nordic Council, Oslo, Norway; the Kraft Foods Global Technology Council (GTC); and GE’s Innovation Accelerator.  Wolcott is also a managing partner with Clareo, a growth strategy consultancy serving senior executives at global corporations such as Exelon, Castrol, Johnson Controls, Owens Corning and others.


His book with Dr. Michael Lippitz, Grow From Within:  Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation (McGraw-Hill, 2010) shares a decade of research and has been published in Chinese and Japanese.  Wolcott’s work has appeared in MIT Sloan Management Review, strategy+business, The Harvard Business Review (online), The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, Business Week, The Financial Times (European Edition), The New York Times and numerous overseas publications.  He is a frequent speaker at events worldwide.


In 2003, Wolcott founded the Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN), a network of senior executives dedicated to driving sustainable innovation.  The KIN’s annual summit, KIN Global, takes place in late spring and includes leaders from around the world who collaborate around issues of significance for their organizations and for humanity (  Wolcott is also an active angel investor in enterprises such as crowd funding leader Indiegogo (, student loan innovator Lumni (, legal documentation platform Page Vault (, and healthcare data and analytics providers SA Ignite ( and ClearCare Online (


Wolcott received a BA, European and Chinese History; and an MS and Ph.D., Industrial Engineering & Management Science, Northwestern University.

Areas of Expertise
Corporate Entrepreneurship
Innovation in Non-Profits
Small Business Management

Print Vita
PhD, 2001, Industrial Engineering & Management Science, Northwestern University
MS, 1997, Industrial Engineering & Management Science, Northwestern University
BA, 1991, European & Chinese History, Northwestern University

Academic Positions
Lecturer, Northwestern University, 2008-present
Executive Director, Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN), Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2003-present
Co-Founder, Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN), Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2003-present

Other Professional Experience
Founding Partner & Managing Director, Clareo Partners, LLC, 1994-present
Member, Knowledge Management Advisory Board, Open Text Corporation, 2002-2004

Print Research
Wolcott, Robert. 2016. Does your business model look to the future or just defend the past?. Harvard Business Review ( 1300 words.
Kotler, PhilipRobert Wolcott and Suj Chandrasekhar. 2009. Playing Well with Others. Executive Adviser. June 22, 2009
Sawhney, MohanbirRobert Wolcott and Inigo Arroniz. 2006. The Twelve Different Ways for Companies to Innovate. MIT Sloan Management Review. 47(3): 75-81.
Wolcott, Robert and Michael J. Lippitz. 2007. The Four Models of Corporate Entrepreneurship. MIT Sloan Management Review. 49(1): 75-82.
Sawhney, Mohanbir and Robert Wolcott. 2004. Seven Innovation Myths. Financial Times. Mastering Innovation Supplement
Book Chapters
Wolcott, Robert and JornBang Andersen. 2014. "The Innovation Radar and Enterprise Business System: Innovation in Five Nordic Countries and Beyond." In Global Innovation Science Handbook, 581-602. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Rogers, P.Clint, Jason Fairbourne and Robert Wolcott. 2011. "The Diffusion of Innovations through Microfranchising." In Microfranchising, edited by Nicolas Sireau, 35–49. Sheffield, UK: Greenleaf Publishing.
Conley, James Gerard and Robert Wolcott. 2006. "Scaling from Prototype to Production: A Managed Process for Commercial Offerings." In Scale-up in Education: Ideas in Principle, edited by Barbara Schneider and Sarah-Kathryn McDonald, vol. 1, 103-122. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Wolcott, Robert and Jorn Bang Andersen. "Scale Your Innovation Initiatives." Strategy + Business, Spring, 2014.
Wolcott, Robert and JornBang Andersen. "Creating a Culture of Innovation." The Human Factor, June 16-July 17, 2010.
Wolcott, Robert, Michael J. Lippitz and JornBang Andersen. 2013. Innovation Communities: Trust, Mututal Learning and Action. Oslo, Norway: NORDEN, Nordic Innovation, Nordic Council.
Wolcott, Robert and Michael J. Lippitz. 2010. Grow From Within: Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Wolcott, Robert C. and Michael J Lippitz. 2007. BP's Office of the Chief Technology Officer (A): Driving Open Innovation through an Advocate Team. Case 5-407-752(A) (KEL366).
Conley, James GerardRobert C. Wolcott and Eric Wong. 2006. AstraZeneca, Prilosec, and Nexium: Case Supplement. Case 5-404-753 (KEL335).
Sawhney, Mohanbir and Robert C. Wolcott. 2006. Thomson Financial: Building a Customer-Centric Firm. Case 5-405-753 (KEL237).
Wolcott, Robert C. and Michael J Lippitz. 2007. Innovation in Government: U.S. Department of Defense. Case 5-207-251 (KEL346).
Wolcott, Robert C. and Michael J Lippitz. 2015. BP's Office of the Chief Technology Officer (B): Driving Open Innovation through an Advocate Team. Case 5-407-752(B) (KEL892).
Wolcott, Robert C., Alex Hurd and Stephanie Wolcott. 2011. The Cambodian National HIV/AIDS Program: Successful Scale-Up through Innovation. Case 5-311-502 (KEL606).
Wolcott, Robert C. and Michael J Lippitz. 2008. From Low Cost to Global Leadership: Computime Leads Through Innovation. Case 5-208-254 (KEL340).
Wolcott, Robert C.. 2007. PTC: Launching an Entirely New Product Platform. Case 5-405-752 (KEL316).
Wolcott, Robert C.. 2006. Wawa: Building a New Business within an Established Firm TN. Case 5-306-505 (KEL240).
Conley, James GerardRobert C. Wolcott and Eric Wong. 2006. AstraZeneca, Prilosec, and Nexium: Strategic Challenges in the Launch of a Second-Generation Drug. Case 5-404-752 (KEL334).
Conley, James GerardRobert C. Wolcott and Eric Wong. 2006. AstraZeneca, Prilosec, and Nexium: Marketing Challenges in the Launch of a Second-Generation Drug. Case 5-404-775 (KEL336).
Wolcott, Robert C., Boris Bauke and Ronny Baierl. 2015. Technical Note: Corporate Venture Capital. Case 7-115-001 (KEL893).

Print Teaching
Teaching Interests

Corporate Innovation & New Ventures

Social Innovation

Strategy in Emerging Technology Markets

Impact of technology change on established industries

Full-Time / Part-Time 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.

Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN) Challenge (KIEI-920-0)

This course is by application only.

KIN Challenge provides a unique opportunity for Kellogg MBA students to tackle big, meaningful challenges with people making change happen in the world. This course is customized to the teams and challenges posed by Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN) keynoters. Students progress through a competitive process consisting of an application, semi-final interviews with a KIN panel of judges, and selection as one of the 3 or 4 teams. Finalist teams present at KIN Global 2015.

The course is heavily experiential, as each team works on a real challenge posed by a KIN Global delegate or keynote speaker. This year, for instance, the three teams are working with GOV John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Esther Dyson and Ann Hand. This course, at heart, focuses on mobilizing a select group of Kellogg students to tackle big, meaningful challenges with people making change happen in the world.

Executive MBA
Innovation Strategy & Management (STRTX-450-0)

Executive Education
Advanced Management Program: Intensive

A condensed and immersive professional development opportunity for senior executives responsible for creating markets and driving growth in today's fast-paced, interconnected economy. A holistic approach to assessing the organizational impact of one's leadership skills and style, all supported with executive coaching.

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Advanced Management Program: The Global Experience

Kellogg offers the same core leadership content for senior executives as our Advanced Management Program: Intensive in a modular format that includes an additional week of programming. This breakthrough course design provides an unparalleled experiential global week of learning in select markets around the world.

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Driving Organic Growth Through Innovation
Whether you’re charged with a high-priority growth initiative or seeking solutions for sustainable growth in your business or company, this program offers a proven process for profitable, market-driven growth.
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Growth and Innovation Week
Combines our Creating and Leading a Culture of Innovation with Driving Organic Growth programs into Growth and Innovation Week.
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