the Motorola Scholars Program, Kellogg students gain hands-on
experience with technology and innovation — while making
valuable research discoveries
have been easy for Toby Redshaw simply to walk away; easy
for him to abandon the three-year-old academic program he
championed, one that brings Kellogg School thought leadership
into Motorola, his company.
the market challenges of recent years, and some firm-specific
cost-cutting, no one would have blamed the Motorola corporate
vice president of IT strategy, architecture and e-business
or his peers if they had turned their backs on the Motorola
Scholars Program, despite its promise. Not even the Kellogg
School faculty involved in the initiative — passionate,
true believers such as Mohanbir
Conley and Rob Wolcott — would have held it against
Redshaw. Disappointed? Sure. Resentful? Hardly.
were tough, still are for some, and all kinds of worthy projects
don’t make the cut when firms are marching people out
like his Kellogg School partners heading up the Scholars Program,
didn’t disappoint. No one walked away from the ambitious,
rigorously academic initiative designed to put exemplary Kellogg
MBA students to work solving important innovation challenges
is a credit to the strengths of the Motorola Scholars Program,
and to the students involved in it, says Redshaw.
are people who are wise beyond their years,” he says.
“My only regret is that I don’t have 20 of them.
It’s a great program.”
founded in 2001, is designed to embody the strategic objectives
of leadership, scholarship and partnership set forth by Kellogg
School Dean Dipak
C. Jain, says Conley, clinical professor of technology.
a unique offering at Kellogg, and a partnership that provides
a tremendous learning experience for our students and valuable
results for Motorola,” Conley states.
sets high expectations and demands much from all involved
— faculty, students and Motorola. It works like this.
Each year, the faculty of the Kellogg Center
for Research and Technology, which houses the Scholars Program,
suggests and delineates projects with their Motorola counterparts.
They then invite Kellogg students to apply, asking them how
they would address the challenges, such as leveraging intellectual
assets or managing technology acquisition, that the center
and Kellogg faculty and students work collaboratively to advance
knowledge while addressing relevant business problems for
Motorola,” says Sawhney, director of the center and
program chair for the Kellogg Technology
Industry Management Program.
applications are submitted for review; only two are selected.
The two students then begin their research, which includes
independent study and a summer internship at Motorola. Each
scholar receives $40,000, making the program “serious
business,” Conley says, noting that the four scholars
who have graduated so far have gone on to hold high-level
which culminate in a research paper, address challenges of
importance to Motorola, but they have wider implications too,
Conley explains. This work has enduring value.
research becomes part of our center and it contributes to
the greater academic community, the greater Kellogg community
and the greater community of practitioners,” Conley
says, adding that Motorola Scholars represents something of
a “hybrid” combining aspects of a traditional
MBA program and a PhD program, with the emphasis on producing
practical insights that managers can leverage more immediately.
Geoff Nudd ’05 is one of those trying to deliver this
kind of impact. The current Motorola Scholar is researching
intrapreneurship — a way of imparting the entrepreneurial
vision and strategy typically associated with start-up firms
into larger, more traditional companies.
that intrapreneurship is an area, along with entrepreneurship
and new product development, whose importance has been relatively
neglected in academic circles. But managers are aware that
they ignore these topics at their own peril.
companies have concluded that traits associated with entrepreneurship
and startups — flexibility, innovation, growth —
are of critical importance to their long-term health,”
says Nudd, who spent last summer at Motorola’s Early
Stage Accelerator, a group he says is entirely dedicated to
intrapreneurship and which simultaneously manages some 10
well-funded commercialization efforts.
Scholars has been the best professional experience of my career.
As an aspiring entrepreneur, it has been a perfect fit,”
is near and dear to Redshaw too. One cannot “dabble”
in it, he says. “There’s no shallow end of the
pool; you’re either in it or not.” Redshaw is
passionate about breaking old paradigms and “changing
the clock-speed” at which people think, something he
says the Motorola Scholars facilitate during their internship.
more, these Kellogg students are not tucked away into some
quiet corner, but rather “put on some breakthrough effort”
inside the company.
bring in a couple of these smart, young Kellogg scholars who
are living in a space where nothing is impossible, where big
complex ideas don’t bother them, and that energy is
just contagious,” says Redshaw.
Kellogg students possess a rare maturity about markets and
strategy, and can relate these back to the tactical business
level quickly. “The ability to connect these ways of
thinking is something I see coming out of Kellogg, and not
just with the Motorola Scholars, but with many of the graduates.
It’s a real differentiator.”
Kellogg School, innovation isn’t defined narrowly. It’s
the lifeblood of a firm, regardless of whether a company produces
computer chips or potato chips.
who along with Sawhney has created an initiative called Kellogg
Innovation Network (KIN) that provides a kind of “action
learning” experience for executives, says the Motorola
Scholars Program and KIN frame innovation more broadly than
perspective is that technology is interesting and it’s
important, but innovation is a lot bigger than that,”
says Wolcott, a research fellow at the Center for Technology
and Innovation. “Starbucks didn’t invent anything,
but they got Americans to pay $4 for a cup of coffee. They
were innovating on things like customer experience, branding,
location, channels. They created a new business system.”
KIN brings together leaders from a variety of firms, such
as Motorola, DuPont, FedEx and eBay, to trade best practices
around innovation. In October, Kellogg hosted a KIN summit
titled “Changing Contexts and Competitive Advantage.”
The initiative, which invited this year’s Motorola Scholars
to participate, strives to take the idea of action learning
to another level, with practicing managers.
believes that KIN represents the future of collaborative research
and collaborative executive education. “We treat our
member companies as partners in co-creating knowledge, not
merely as consumers of knowledge we produce. We act as facilitators
and coaches, creating a platform for conversation, dialogue
the walls between theory and practice, Kellogg and partners
like Motorola are providing an unparalleled academic experience
for students, while also creating powerful dialogues between
the academic community and the business world.
believe in advancing knowledge through collaboration among
students, faculty and our corporate partners, and our initiatives
reflect this philosophy,” says Sawhney.
and the Motorola Scholars Program are examples of what Kellogg
is all about — teamwork and empowerment."