The world is changing and we have to be able to step outside, think bravely and
— Linda Darragh
A globally recognized leader in entrepreneurship education, Darragh was recently named executive director of the Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice and the Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital at Kellogg. For Darragh, this marks a return to the school: She served as a member of Kellogg's entrepreneurship team from 1999 to 2005 before joining the University of Chicago Booth School of Business as director of entrepreneurship programs. There, Darragh was instrumental in furthering the teaching and practice of entrepreneurship at the school, in Chicago and beyond.
In a talk with Kellogg World, Darragh divulges her plan for elevating entrepreneurship at Kellogg — including her vision for the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI).
As Dean Blount often remarks, the world has fundamentally changed. What implications does this have for entrepreneurship and innovation at Kellogg?
We must start with a foundation of academic rigor to evaluate the new technologies, platforms and business models. We then need to reassess our engagement methods, curriculum and thought leadership.
It's a challenge and huge opportunity to reassess our programs and our curriculum so that we are in a position where we are leap-frogging ahead. There's an element of risk associated with that because you're trying to foresee trends and future opportunities, while trying to educate, equip and inspire students.
How do you plan to bolster Kellogg's entrepreneurship and innovation offerings?
I'd like to develop a structure for the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI) that forms a matrix across departments, like the four strategic research initiatives do. We have these incredible centers, but we want to help them increase collaboration.
What will this matrix look like?
We'd like to develop three core tracks of innovation. By tracks, I mean a collection of classes and engagement activities that are assembled in a manner to guide students to meet their academic objectives at Kellogg.
The first track will be "New Venture Creation," which has three key phases: discovery, launch and acceleration. The discovery piece is what most MBA courses are missing. Many of our students want to create new businesses, but they don't know what business to launch. We need to build an environment where students can be exposed to opportunities and build businesses that advance industries or manage global and societal problems.
The second track, "Mid-Cap Growth," will focus on middle-market businesses that are poised for growth. It includes entrepreneurship through acquisition and new generation innovation in family businesses. It will also address the incorporation and integration of new technologies into traditional industries in order to disrupt and advance these industries.
Third, we will continue to build the "Corporate Innovation" track. Thanks to the efforts of the Center for Research in Technology and Innovation (CRTI) and Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN), Kellogg is already globally renowned in this area.
To me, many of the pieces of the puzzle are here. We're already working across campuses in a cross-disciplinary fashion. We just have to elevate what we're doing and add more pieces of structure.
What excites you most about returning to Kellogg?
To me, it's exciting to come back to Kellogg under the "think bravely" banner. It's forcing us out of replicating existing patterns and behaviors, and it's giving us the freedom to be creative and innovative. The world is changing and we have to be able to step outside, think bravely and try ideas that are risky — and that's encapsulated here at Kellogg.
— By Rachel Farrell