Innovation Agency: Haas@Work

A 16 Week Advanced UC Berkeley-Haas MBA Innovation course, built around your challenge.

Haas@Work is essentially a faculty-run/MBA-student staffed innovation agency, disguised as a class. We have worked with many of the most prominent firms in the Bay Area, including Adobe, Blue Shield, Clorox, PayPal, SAP, Stubhub and Wells Fargo, and are one of the largest innovation agencies on the West Coast.

How it works

We build the course around a specific innovation opportunity (or challenge) faced by your company. A team of a dozen MBA students, faculty, and advisors then spends an entire semester working with your team – applying a structured discovery-based innovation framework to uncover, develop, model, validate, and advance novel and actionable ideas and solutions. The framework we use is part IDEO-style (divergent discovery based/experimentation work), and part McKinsey-style (more convergent concept refinement and modeling) work, with very high-value output for the partner clients.

The Haas@Work program draws on talented and diverse Master’s degree students from the Full-time and Evening & Weekend MBA programs at the Haas School of Business and other areas of UC Berkeley as needed, including the School of Information, and the School of Public Health. Students work closely with your team throughout the engagement and put in close to 2000 hours on the project over four months. Work is heavily curated by faculty, who also put in 100-200 hours in support of the team’s work. There’s a modest cost recovery fee involved to participate, but it’s a productive and cost-effective way to develop fresh insights, kick-start new initiatives, and explore new opportunities – while increasing your engagement with Berkeley.

Haas@Work ensures strict confidentiality of sensitive company information, and all IP generated is owned by your firm.

Project Framework


Pre-course project development with Haas faculty and staff to identify areas of significant opportunity that would benefit from an open-ended exploratory approach. The output is an extensive and detailed project brief and statement of work for the project team.


In-depth interviews with internal personnel, customers, channel, partners and competitors are supplemented by extensive secondary research. Output includes an assessment of unmet needs, industry orthodoxies, discontinuities, core competencies, white spaces, and competitive dimensions, and a selection of key insights to drive innovative solutions.

Concept Generation

Leveraging the insights generated, several rounds of concept generation, iterative improvement and prototyping, and broad business modeling. Output includes the development and presentation of a wide variety of high-level concepts.

Validation and Experimentation

For the most promising concepts, additional modeling, experimentation and validation work. Final recommendations and an implementation roadmap are presented.

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