North­eastern Uni­ver­sity has launched a one-​​year, part-​​time grad­uate pro­gram aimed at teaching working pro­fes­sionals how to infuse inno­va­tion into the DNA of their organizations.

The master of sci­ence in inno­va­tion is designed specif­i­cally for working pro­fes­sionals who want to become inno­va­tion leaders. Offered through the D'Amore-McKim School of Busi­ness begin­ning this fall, the pro­gram will give stu­dents the chance to learn the fun­da­men­tals of inno­va­tion in busi­ness, expand their skill set, work on expe­ri­en­tial inno­va­tion projects, and posi­tion them­selves for cor­po­rate advancement.

“In a glob­ally com­pet­i­tive eco­nomic envi­ron­ment, the only source of sus­tained com­pet­i­tive advan­tage has to come through inno­va­tion,” said Hugh Courtney, dean of the D'Amore-McKim School of Busi­ness. “This isn't about being cre­ative, but how you gen­erate ideas and build an orga­ni­za­tion to really drive inno­va­tion into the market.”

The Boston Globe fea­tured the pro­gram in an article Friday morning.

North­eastern is a global leader in inno­va­tion and entre­pre­neur­ship, with a par­tic­ular focus on solving global chal­lenges in health, secu­rity, and sustainability.

The program's inau­gural class will com­prise about 30 stu­dents, each of whom will have a cor­po­rate sponsor. During the year­long pro­gram, the stu­dent will work on an inno­v­a­tive project that the sponsor's com­pany will adopt.

The program's project-​​based cur­riculum ensures that grad­uate stu­dents will be able to take advan­tage of Northeastern's expe­ri­en­tial learning model, which is anchored in co-​​op.

“The co-​​op model is fan­tastic,” said Marc Meyer, co-​​director of Northeastern's Center for Entre­pre­neur­ship Edu­ca­tion. “It has been around for a long time, but only now many more people are seeing its value. And now with this new master's pro­gram and what we are doing across grad­uate pro­grams in the busi­ness school, we're finding out what co-​​op means for tra­di­tional grad­uate education.”

The pro­gram com­prises two phases. In the first phase, stu­dents will focus on iden­ti­fying an oppor­tu­nity for inno­va­tion within a com­pany based on cus­tomer or user-​​based needs. The second phase will center on how stu­dents can bring that inno­va­tion to fruition.

To reach their goals, stu­dents will work on projects, ana­lyze case studies, and take in lec­tures from leaders in the busi­ness com­mu­nity. In addi­tion to their course work, stu­dents will have access to other campus resources, including Snell Library's 3-​​D printing studio, a design studio, and pos­sibly IDEA, Northeastern's student-​​run ven­ture accelerator.

“In tra­di­tional grad­uate classes you come up with a plan,” said pro­gram director Tucker Marion, the Sam and Nancy Altschuler Fac­ulty Fellow, Born­stein Endowed Fac­ulty Fellow, and pro­fessor of tech­no­log­ical entre­pre­neur­ship at North­eastern. “We're focusing on the second step—implementation.”

One of the program's goals, he said, is “seeing what we can do to move that plan for­ward from within the com­pany. These projects will be a real ben­efit to the stu­dents and add value to the companies.”

The pro­gram will begin with a three-​​day inten­sive res­i­dency at Northeastern's campus in Ash­land, Mass., where stu­dents will work on team building. Classes will then be held every other Saturday.

The con­ve­nient schedule, Meyer said, will allow North­eastern to attract prospec­tive stu­dents from out­side the Greater Boston area and tap into their busi­ness communities.

The all-​​day Sat­urday classes will also foster strong working rela­tion­ships between the stu­dents and faculty—a common design prin­ciple in these kinds of pro­grams. “The logic is that very expe­ri­enced working pro­fes­sionals learn so much by going through a pro­gram together,” Courtney said.

The pro­gram is seeking stu­dents from a variety of pro­fes­sional back­grounds who have been working in the same industry for sev­eral years and want to re-​​invent their company's cul­ture of innovation.

“We want stu­dents who will come to this pro­gram with a pur­pose,” Meyer said.